Friday, April 22, 2011

Tattoo star expands body of work in 'Ink'

pixies tattoo

Success does have some downsides.

Just ask Kat Von D, who rose to national prominence as part of the team on TLC's reality series "Miami Ink," and who tomorrow night launches her own show, "LA Ink."

"I feel like I have a lot more responsibility as far as showing tattooing in a good light," Von D told the Daily News. "The tattooing industry, they love me or hate me. It's different when you're on TV, everything you're doing is overanalyzed by your peers."

It's a phenomenon faced by the folks at Orange County Choppers, after they hit big on the Discovery Channel as well - and their draw of fans at motorcycle shows soared.

"I've had to learn a few things," said Von D, whose moniker is short for Katherine Von Drachenberg. "I've had to weed out my friends." Von D admits she doesn't understand why that happens, either, because she's rooting for everyone to succeed.

"LA Ink," launching tomorrow at 10 p.m., follows Von D as she moves from Miami to Los Angeles, where she opens her new shop. That shop, however, is populated with mostly female artists. In Miami, she was the only female in the bunch.

"I've built this shop from the ground up," she says. "It's all me. I've put my heart and soul into it. You'll be able to see that in this show." The show will have a higher celebrity quotient as clients of Von D's shop, too. TLC has also heavily promoted the new show with giant billboards and with fold-out images of Von D's tattooed body - she got her first when she was 14 - in major magazines.

While she treats her body as a canvas (she's had more than 30 tattoo artists work on her), she's not spent a lot of time looking at the promos. "It's kind of like hearing your voice on an answering machine," she said. "That's my face on a 20-story billboard," she added. "I just think I'm a big nerd."

A big nerd who has had a hand in the changing face of tattooing. Indeed, it's not like the old days, she said; even soccer moms are now sporting ink. "I get people coming up to me saying, 'You're awesome,'" she said. "That's a lot different from the days when I used to go to the mall and people would hold their kids back."


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