Katherine von Drachenberg

KVD4

 

Photo taken by Shannon Broke

Katherine von Drachenberg (born March 8, 1982),best known as Kat Von D, is an American tattoo artist, model, musician and television personality. She is best known for her work as a tattoo artist on the TLC reality television show LA Ink, which premiered August 7, 2007, in the United States and ran for four seasons.

Kat Von D was born in Moneterrey, Nuevo Leon, Nuevo Leon, in Mexico. Her missionary parents, father René and mother Sylvia or Silvia Galeano, were born in Argentina, of German, Italian and Spanish descent, respectively. Von D has a sister, Karoline and a brother, Michael. She moved with her family to the Los Angeles area at age 4 and grew up in Colton, California. Von D was classically trained in piano beginning at age 6. She particularly appreciates Ludwig van Beethoven.

Kat Von D credits her grandmother, Clara von Drachenberg, as an inspiration for her in music and art, and the Latino culture of Los Angeles as a major influence on her tattoo art and style. She began listening to the Ramones, Misfits and other punk rock bands at the age of 12. She got her first tattoo at 14 and quit school at 16 to become a tattoo artist.

Von D was asked to work at 305 Ink in Miamiwhen Darren Brass broke his elbow, preventing him from tattooing. She appeared in two seasons of Miami Ink, the reality TV show taped there for the cable network TLC. She had a falling out with Ami James which led to her being asked to leave the shop.

She subsequently acquired her own TLC series, LA Ink, which chronicled her work at her tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo, in Hollywood, California. On the show, she gained the Guinness World Record of most tattoos given by a single person in 24 hours, with a total of 400. Accomplished in December 2007, it involved a Von D-designed logo for the city of Los Angeles, with proceeds going to the children’s-blindness charity Vitamin Angels. Her record was subsequently broken by her ex-husband, Oliver Peck (415) on June 13, 2008, followed by others; as of November 2008 the record is held by Hollis Cantrell from Artistic Tattoo in Phoenix, Arizone, with 801. LA Ink ran four seasons, ending September 15, 2011; TLC announced the cancellation on August 18, 2011. Von D maintained on her Twitter page that it was she who chose “to not continue doing LA Ink“.

Her first book, High Voltage Tattoo, compiling her artworks and tattoos, with a foreword by Motley Crue’s Nikki Sixx, was released in January 2009 and reached #6 on The New York Times Best Seller List. Von D described the book as “not an autobiography, you know, ’cause I’m too young to do that. But this is just kind of like a picture-driven outline of my career as an artist. So, you see everything from my drawings when I was six to tattoos that have never before been seen. Her second book, The Tattoo Chronicles, an illustrated diary following a year in her life, was released October 26, 2010, and reached #3 on The New York Times “Hardcover Advice & Misc.” best-seller list.

In 2008, Von D created and launched a make-up line for Sephora. She has released new collections every year and has expanded her line to include fragrances. In 2012, through Sephora, her New American Beauty Art Tour benefitted the Art Of Elysium charitable organization.

She is the creator of the MusInk Tattoo Convention and Music Festival, which began in 2008. Musink is an all ages Tattoo, Music, and Art festival located in Southern California.

On September 2, 2010, Von D opened the art gallery and boutique Wonderland Gallery in the space next door to High Voltage Tattoo. She launched the clothing lines KVD Los Angeles and Kat Von D Los Angeles in the US and Canada in fall 2011, with the latter expanding internationally the following year.

Kat Von D provided the female vocals to the song “Rosary Blue” on X, a 2012 studio album by the Finnish Gothic Rock bandthe 69 eyes. n August 2013, she tweeted that Dave Grohl and producer Danny Lohner had finished two tracks of an album she had talked about recording as early as 2011.

 

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