High Voltage Tattoo

High Voltage Tattoo

by Kat Von D


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061684388
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/20/2009
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 291,589
Product dimensions: 8.20(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 15 - 18 Years

About the Author

Kat Von D is a renowned tattoo artist and the star of the former hit television series LA Ink, which ran for five successful years. She is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, High Voltage Tattoo and The Tattoo Chronicles, and is the creator of an exclusive makeup and fragrance line for Sephora. She is also the founder of Wonderland Gallery, an art gallery and boutique located next to her tattoo shop, High Voltage Tattoo, in Hollywood, where she lives.

Read an Excerpt

High Voltage Tattoo

By Kat Von D
Collins Design
Copyright © 2009

Kat Von D
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-168438-8

Chapter One Highway to Hell

The autobiography of Kat Von D

I am a canvas of my experiences. My story is etched in lines and shading, and you can read it on my arms, my legs, my shoulders, and my stomach. But like everybody else, I was born naked and screaming, waiting for my life to write itself on my skin.

The first person who ever held me was my grandfather, Carlos Von Drachenberg. He was the doctor who delivered me in March 1982, in Montemorelos, Nuevo León, Mexico. I come from a long line of doctors. When I was born, my grandpa was teaching medicine in Mexico as a missionary for the Seventh Day Adventist Church while my father finished his schooling in the medical field. My family came from Argentina, but until I was four, we lived in Mexico.

I can still remember the dirt roads, the horses and donkeys, the rain that flooded the pool with frogs, and the local market where my sis and I used to run around and play. And many of my tattoos, especially the lettering, are in Spanish, reflecting Latin tradition.

But my strongest memories are set in Colton, a small town in Southern California, where my life revolved around love, art, and music. In our family, love was a given, art was a powerful presence, and music was pretty much a requirement. The five of us-my parents, my older sister, Karoline, and my younger brother, Michael-listened to religious hymns at church, but at home, classical music was everything.

My grandmother, Clara Von Drachenberg, was an inspiration for me when it came to music and art. She classically trained my siblings and me to play the piano. For breakfast we had Chopin, for lunch we had Mozart, and as an after-school snack, Schubert and Liszt. But above all, there was Ludwig van Beethoven.

During our weekly lessons, I would sneak into her library to catch a glimpse of a scrapbook she had put together during her teenage years that was dedicated to her favorite composers, Beethoven being the main one. On my eighteenth birthday, Clara gave me the scrapbook as a gift, and to this very day, that book is probably one of my most prized possessions. And Beethoven still features prominently in my life-I have four tattoos of him, countless paintings, and one of my cats is named Ludwig.

Clara was my mentor in all things music; when it came to art she was more like a role model. I have a still life of an arrangement of roses, dated 1949, that Clara gave to my parents as a wedding gift. It hung above the fireplace in our family room, where I practiced the piano, and I spent my childhood staring at it and imagining her painting it.

I coveted that oil painting. When my parents divorced after twenty-six years of marriage, the painting went with my father, and I begged and begged him for it. My father disagreed, always trying to negotiate his way out of giving it to me. Finally, on my twenty-sixth birthday, as a gift from both Clara and my dad, I was given the painting!

The inspiration to create my art and the encouragement to continue my musical studies paved the way for me to create the life I lead today, and I thank my grandmother for passing these gifts on to me.

Our whole family was musical. Between us, we could play the accordion, trumpet, guitar, piano, clarinet, bass guitar, saxophone, harp, and flute. Unlike most of my childhood friends, who played outside or went to slumber parties, we practiced our weekly lessons two hours a day, whether or not we wanted to. I can remember crying because I didn't want to play-but I still had to practice. It wasn't fun at the time, but it taught me that if you dedicate yourself to something, you'll get there. It is a lesson that still impacts the way I work today.

It was in elementary school that I really discovered my passion for art. I spent a lot of my time drawing pictures of my family, of flowers, of birds; all the things that I saw around me. My father still talks about the way I would crawl under the pews at church, coloring furiously while everybody else listened carefully to the sermons. Every year, I got better at drawing. I was drawing constantly, filling up one pad after another with my sketches and dreams. My mother saved every piece of art I did, whether I liked it or not.

From the very beginning, I gravitated towards realism, working hard to render lifelike portraits of family members, pets, and magazine clippings. I wanted my drawing to look as real as possible and would practice on famous faces like Marilyn Monroe's. When Anna Nicole Smith was cast in the Guess ads in the early 1990s, when I was around ten, it was a turning point for me. At the time, I didn't even know her name, but she was such a classic beauty, like a modern Marilyn Monroe or Jayne Mansfield, that I was inspired to sketch her. I must have drawn her face more than twenty times. Each time, I tried to do better, perfecting my lines and shading so that I could noticeably improve the drawings.

When she passed away in 2007, the tabloids were buzzing with gossip and rumors, but there were some people who were genuinely sad about her death. Not long after she died, I received an e-mail from one of her close friends who wanted to get a portrait of Anna tattooed on her thigh.

When Anna's friend showed up at the shop with her personal collection of photographs, I rifled through the stack to find the image that would make the best tattoo. And then it hit me: The blonde in the pictures sipping coffee in the morning wasn't just a pop icon, or the headline of the month, or another playmate. She was a real person who had played a big part in the development of my art. I had learned to draw faces by staring at her face, and now, after her death, I was going to tattoo her portrait on her friend's skin as a loving memorial.


Excerpted from High Voltage Tattoo by Kat Von D Copyright © 2009 by Kat Von D. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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High Voltage Tattoo 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 113 reviews.
NelleyMac More than 1 year ago
Loved the photographs, design, and layout of the book.
breathe_no_more More than 1 year ago
I love Kat and her work. She is an amazing artist and this book will really help people who want to get a tattoo. I read about 3/4 of the book already and its great. If you love Kat or tattoos you WILL love this book! All I know is she is going to be the person I go to to get my first tattoo when I'm 18. Awesome book Kat!

KJKJ More than 1 year ago
I loved this book.It has so much information. I am a huge Kat Von D fan and this book tells you a lot about her influences,techniques and even tattoo etiquette. It also has a Kat Von D map of all her tattoos. If you are a fan of hers or just tattoos you will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the entire book in one sitting. It was like I was right there next to Kat as she told her story.
Rana More than 1 year ago
Beautiful photographs.
poe19 More than 1 year ago
Beautiful pictures, informative, and a real treat especially if you are a Kat Von D fan. A very neat book overall.
Merrien_Gilboux More than 1 year ago
This book is great for those who love tattoos, Kat Von D or just want an original book for the coffee table. In this book there are amazing photos of art she has done, stories to some tattoos, do's and don'ts when you are going to get a tattoo, etc.. Even if you are not a fan of tattoos, you will enjoy this book.

However I strongly suggest, if you can, to check out the book in person before purchasing! You may not like it entirely, and you may want to make sure that whoever you are giving it to, it is suitable for them.
Suesie More than 1 year ago
this is a great book, she really has talent and a gift that not many men or woman have. Her own tattoos are amzing and damn it if i could afford it i would go to LA and get one done by her... as a woman who also has many tattoos all over its refreshing to see a strong, independent woman running her own business covered in tattoos... as much as everyone wants to pretend there is still a stigma about tattoos, more so with women.. and i hear the whispers and bs but it dont bother me... and im sure as hell it dont bother her either!!! great book, amazing stories behind the art and a real interesting look at tattoos, women, life and work
JulesJS More than 1 year ago
I initially was going to pick up this book when it first came out but didn't because I thought it was kind of expensive and not worth the money. However after doing research on tattoos and looking for inspiration as well as watching High Voltage on TV I decided to pick it up and I must say it is a great read. It has the story of Kat Von D's life and tells you how much she has accomplished but what is really interesting are the tattoos she has done on people and the stories that go with them. Why people choose certain tattoos and whether they are religious, memorial or just for fun - it is always cool to see what others have done for a look see or inspiration. The pictures are great and there are 4 pages alone devoted to Kat's body art on her body and believe me there is alot. I am looking forward to her new book coming out called the Tattoo Chronicles. It is a fascinating subject (tattoos) and now that they are mainstream- it is a good book to learn more about the art and Kat. People may be interested to know that she collect art by many artists (Hussar for one) and her drawings reflect that. All in all a very good book that I will keep on hand -a great coffee table book too.
KomodoDragon More than 1 year ago
Kat Von D's book is an open and honest look into the life of a woman who simply loves tattoos. She is so in love with her art and the art of tattooing that it figuratively pours out of the book. I met her in Las Vegas at a book signing and she is a very matter-of-fact nice person willing to speak with anyone without a celebrity attitude.
WilliamB More than 1 year ago
Kat has done an excellent job of relaying information about the art of tattooing. From explaining how she got into the art to who her mentors are. She provides information about how to go about getting your first tattoo to explaining tattoo ediquette. What to look for in a tattoo shop as well as how to communicate with your tattoo artist. Even how to care for your tattoo's. The layout and art in the book are second to none. The book looks awesome just sitting on your table! Anyone interested in getting their first tattoo or adding to their collection needs to check out Kat's book. Having several tattoo's myself, and thinking I was well educated in the field, I learned a ton of information about tattoo's. "High Voltage Tattoo" by Kat Von D is a must have for anyone interested in tattoos.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When I first flipped through the attractive looking pages of Kat's book, I instantely wanted to beg my mother for it so that I could look at it some more. When I did buy it, I was estatic because I was finally going to get an inside look as to what goes on in Ms. Von D's head, one of the most favored tattoo artist and the creator of Musink. So go ahead and read this book if you'd like, and be prepared to be utterly amazed as you poke and prode through what this remarkable young woman has to say.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read through this in one sitting. Fun and interesting facts, both about tattooing and the artists as well as about the author herself. Loved all the pictures. There were a few typos throughout the book. The section that outlines Kat's tattoos cites a tattoo on her head, but we don't see the picture of it, whereas we see all the others cited. Also, there is a typo in the forward which I thought the publisher should have caught. It's a shame, because it's a very sweet forward. Also, there is an obviously incorrect date for one of the other tattoo artists. Bottom line: Kat did a great job writing this book, the publisher stinks at proofreading.
FallenAngel More than 1 year ago
I bought this book because it's one of the few I've found about tattoo artists in the store.For some reason there are few books about or by tattooists.I am interested in tattoos and figured I'd glance through and leave it on the coffee table for friends to browse.Well I ended up reading the entire book and learned quite a lot about the art as well as the artist.Kat VonD of the MiamiInk television shows is an intelligent and provocative woman who shows you what makes her art so popular. This book makes for an interesting read for anyone interested in tattooing or as a great book to have in a tattoo studio for those waiting on their new tattoo!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I didn't know a lot about Kat before I read the book. I've watched all the shows, from Miami to LA, but the book really gets into how Kat became involved in tattooing (sp) and how special she makes it. She is also very humble for someone known as one of the top tattooists (sp) in the world. Highly recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of tattoos and Kat Von D. This book did a great job telling Kat's story, along with her clients stories. I reccomend this book to anybody who is a fan. There is so much to look at, a great balance of amazing photos and artwork and writing. Get it!
Kelljo69 More than 1 year ago
Amazing artwork: a realistic view of the life of an amazing, inspiring, individual.
smokefan More than 1 year ago
Kat Von D did a great job dipicting her life so far, however short is has been. I love the fact she was brutal honest even if she didn't/doesn't follow the norm. She is such a great artist and anyone should be grateful with a tattoo by her, I would love one. I watched the show and saw how she busted her butt on to get this book published. Nikki Sixx, you are right, she is a B-52 dropping F-bombs on 6 inch heels. Truly a touching foreword about Kat. The publisher did such a fanastic job on the book itself, the cover and all the pictures inside are out of this world. I have read it at least 5 times and plan on reading it more. Kat Von D is a true artist and has inspired my daughter to realize her true talent drawing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kat Von D reading her book just makes me appreciate her so much more. She's a very strong women and makes me proud to be a women. She's a good role model for women who don't fit the normal mold of what most women are supposed to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always watched the show LA Ink and love Kat Von D. I bought her book and have to say the book exceeded my expectations. There's a lot of info on Kat Von D and tattooing. I love how she highlights other artists also. The book has tons of great pictures of tattoos and artwork. I'm happy to have the book in my collection.
Racerchick126 More than 1 year ago
It really gives you an inside look at Kat's life. I knew about tattoos, but now I know more. Her life and past is very interesting and the book is awesome! I highly recommend!
BookwormKP More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put it down! Got the book last night and finished this morning. Kat is not only likable as a person and tattoo artist, but seems to have a huge heart. Very interesting look at the industry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book of 2009, a fascinating read that you won't put down even if you aren't immersed in the world of tattooing. Kat will draw you in much like she does on her tv show LA INK.

The stories behind each tattoo are almost as striking as the artwork itself. Kat is a multi-talented young woman who has a lot to say and has a lot of f'ng fun along the way!!
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you're a fan of Kat's - which you are if you've seen her art - this book is quite a treat. It's mainly about Kat's upbringing and family and how she became the accomplished tattoo artist that she is. There are lots of pictures of her own artwork and that of other artists (there's even a ten-page "map" of Kat's own tattoos). The only problem is that I wished there were more detailed pictures of the tattoos she writes about and maybe a few less pictures of her celebrity friends, but other than that, it's a very aesthetically appealing work.
randirousseau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Beautiful and funky book to flip through - Kat Von D does beautiful work. I wish there was a bit more of it displayed in the book. My copy was VERY poorly bound, and I had to send it out for re-binding in order to keep all the pages. Not Kat's fault, but the publisher/printer's, though.