Writing Kat Von D off as being a byproduct of reality TV would be a complete insult. Certainly she became a household name through Miami Ink, and later, her own spin-off L.A. Ink, but what’s kept her such a fascinating part of the public eye is both her realism and her undeniable skill.
Just one look at any of her ink-on-skin creations, and you know she’s earned her spotlight.Which is why it seems so surreal that High Voltage Tattoo, located at the corner of LaBrea and Fountain in West Hollywood, is such an easily accessible spot. Granted, getting in with Von D means putting your name on an endless waiting list, but High Voltage invites walk-ins just like any other tattoo shop. It feels like a place where you’re welcome, no matter if you’re Joe Blow from down the street or a Hollywood A-list star.
So it would make sense that Von D would translate that feeling to her recently released book, also called High Voltage Tattoo. Though she claims it’s not a memoir, it’s so infused with Von D’s personal appreciation of tattoo artistry that it feels like you’re getting an insight into her life – which you kind of are, considering it starts with her influences since childhood.
That, and the book’s overall aesthetic is that of a well-worn journal. Sure, you’re not getting all the nitty gritty details, but there are enough of them that you feel compelled to continue to read on and learn how Von D turned a passion for art into a tattooing business.
But the best part is really getting a peek behind the curtain of what tattooing is all about for a professional. Von D doesn’t just take you through the show and her shop, she discusses the process, pigments and tools, and shares insights on what really goes into creating some of the more intricate and amazing pieces she’s worked on. Plus, you get an insider look at some of the stories of celebs that she’s inked.
Through each aspect of Von D’s empire, it’s clear: there’s no pretention. This is someone who’s committed to the artistry of tattooing – truly, madly, deeply.