Kat Von D on being in a male-dominated field: ‘I get cramps once a month, but that’s it’

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In her third book, “Go Big or Go Home,” acclaimed tattoo artist and reality star Kat Von D delves deep to tell stories from her own life, and experiences she’s shared with clients. Chock-full of photos of tattoos in various stages of completion, and the people who wear them, the book sheds light on the personality, process and profession of one of the tattoo world’s brightest stars. We had a few questions for Kat about the arts of ink and writing.

What made this book more challenging to write than your other two?
I’ve always been an open book – no pun intended. it’s just a little bit more profound on an emotional level. I want to be as open and honest as possible, even in all my flaws.

What do you love most about tattooing?
There’s all this negative stigma surrounding people with tattoos. But I’ve always thought it’s a form of being openly devoted to something, and that’s a very rare and great quality to have. You listen to people’s stories during an intimate session, and really get to know somebody. I like the idea of being extra connected to a piece because you know how much it’s valued by the client.

You’re known for your portrait work. How did you get into that?
I think it has to do with the television show. I was doing a lot of them on there and got a reputation for portraits. I love black and grey realism. So I could do a portrait of a paper clip, or a person, and I’d still get excited. It’s more about the textures and accuracy.

You’re in a boy’s club – what’s it like being a female tattoo artist?
I go back and forth on that subject. Although I feel lucky to be a girl because it’s fun to be a girl, I get kind of annoyed by these uber-feminists who make gender such a big part of who they are. I don’t think gender should define you. I’ve always wanted my work to speak for itself. So, as for the challenges of being in a male-dominated field? I get cramps once a month, but that’s it.


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