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High Voltage Tattoo Hardcover – January 20, 2009

121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Design (January 20, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061684384
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061684388
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 8.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

It's a funny thing about biography pages on websites...they never seem to achieve their goals. Ostensibly, the facts presented seem to attempt to give you some idea of the artist, where they are from, where they are going, what they believe to be valuable, etc. These pages are intended to let the visitor know better the person behind the work, but they usually fall far short of communicating any real sense of the person's character. They read more like a bland political pamphlet than an insight into someone's personality, and in doing so, nothing more than a contrived sense of image is conveyed. It is with this in mind, and in the spirit of trying to do better, that, when asked, I gladly accepted the chance to write this little note and hopefully help those who are curious to know more about my friend Katherine.

I guess it makes sense to start with the basics. Born on March 8, 1982, in the town of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, she moved to the United States when she was 4, settling in Colton, California. Her father, René Drachenberg, and her mother, Sylvia Galeano, were both born in Argentina, though René's family origins are German and Sylvia's are Spanish-Italian. Kat's paternal grandmother played a significant role in shaping her artistic development, particularly in playing piano and exposing her to the great composers, which, as anyone who knows her can attest to, led to her love for the works of Beethoven. Kat maintains a strong relationship with her parents and her siblings--a brother, Michael, and a sister, Karoline--and finding the time to spend with her family is a priority. Growing up in the Inland Empire, a collision of influences led Kat into our world much earlier than most; her first tattoo came at age 14, an Old English J on her ankle, a memento of a love gone-by. Shortly thereafter, realizing her natural art ability, in early 1996 her friends asked her to pick up the machine and get to work on them (her first effort was a Misfits skull with a homemade rig); the tattooing wasn't easy, but she knew it felt right and she knew she wanted to pursue it.

In 1998 she began working in her first professional shop, Sin City Tattoo, a local place in her neighborhood. A year and a half later, she moved on to Blue Bird Tattoo in Pasadena, California, for a year, and then on to Red Hot Tattoo in Arcadia, California. A little under two years later, she started working with the talented bunch at Inflictions, a shop out in Covina, California. This was a great period of growth in her work and led to her eventually moving to True Tattoo, for a chance to work with Clay Decker and Chris Garver. Any tattooist worth their salt can see what an honor and an opportunity this was, and any one who had known Kat over the course of her career up to that point knew that not only did she deserve the chance but she was also sincere and talented enough to add to the already high standards of that shop. In addition, it afforded her the opportunity to live and work in Hollywood, the heart of the city that she loves: Los Angeles. With this group, and the quality of the visiting artists and the additions to the lineup over the years, True Tattoo has become one of the shops that any real enthusiast (whether artist or client) must visit, a place where something great is always happening.

So much for the basics of her biography, let's move on to the what I think really matters, who I feel she is as a person and who she is as my friend. From the moment we met, I knew she was a bright, talented girl with a true affinity for tattooing, and our six years of friendship have offered me a view of her life that not only confirmed my initial impressions but also exceeded my expectations. As many of you who have tried to arrange an appointment with her know, she's booked completely, with a long waiting list; but what most people aren't aware of is that long before she appeared on television, she was one of the busiest artists in Los Angeles. Her work spoke for itself, and each piece she finished brought in fresh interest, this in addition to her comfortable bedside manner had her working at a pace that few equaled. To this day, I'm regularly astonished at her work ethic and enthusiasm for every piece she does, as well as her endurance, which, I say with lack of any exaggeration, is extraordinary. She is generous to a fault, incredibly loyal to her family, friends, and those in our business who treat her fairly; and despite all the bullshit that is part and parcel of this industry and the demands she is under, she is generally in a good mood and always finds the time to be there for you if you need her. I am glad to know her and proud to call her my friend.

With all sincerity,

I am,

Kore Flatmo

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Jamie H. ATX on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I ordered Kat's book. I saw how much work she put into it on LA Ink, so I preordered it. I expected some biography on her, maybe some stories, and some pictures of tattoo artwork.

This book has all of that, but it is so much more! Kat tells her story from her birth in Mexico, childhood and adolescence in California, running away at age 14 to Georgia, to her start in tattooing, going to Miami Ink, and being offered her own show, LA Ink.

She also includes photos of her favorite tattoos she has done and the stories behind them, as well as other tattoo artists and some of their tattoos. She has tattoo myths and etiquette. The artwork in this book is inspiring. Although it is a biography of Kat, it is more like an art book. I read it cover to cover and studied a lot of the tattoo photos closely.

The book itself is very nicely put together. The front and back covers have a sort of padding, and the pages have the look of old parchment.
This is a wonderful book and well worth the price. I paid $23 (including shipping) for a preorder and the book retails for $29.95. However, I wouldn't balk at an even higher price for the book. It is that well put together and beautiful. I have never done a review on a book before, but this influenced me to write one.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Shawn Kovacich VINE VOICE on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Well I guess I should start off this review by stating emphatically that I don't have any tattoos, nor do I ever intend on getting one. Not that I have anything against tattoos, it's just that they aren't for me, although I do appreciate the incredible amount of talent behind a lot of the great tattoo artists of the past and present. Now having got that out of the way, I absolutely love some of the intricate designs and artwork that goes into a lot of the tattoos that I have seen. Especially those I have seen on TLC's L.A. Ink: Season 1 and LA Ink: Season 1, Volume 2 reality series. Of which we all know Kat Von D is the owner of the tattoo shop High Voltage and star of the series.

I was surprised to learn that she had a book coming out and learned about it after watching the episode where she talks about it and finally gets a foreword for it by none other than boyfriend and heavy metal god, Nikki Sixx, guitarist for the incredibly talented band, Motley Crue. Ever since then, I have been anxiously awaiting January 20th, 2009 in order to get my copy, which I am proud to say I have and already read through it twice.

Kat is very open and honest in this book about her life growing up and all the trials and tribulations that she, and her family, went through as she went from sweet little girl to, how should I put it, not so sweet little girl. At least in the eyes of her parents and certain other people in her life. Not that everyone felt that way, but I am quite certain there were more than a few.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By mjanewyo on January 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is packed full of interesting facts and pictures. I read it all today; I couldn't put it down. I appreciate the different sections; it is not super long. She has a lot of experiences to share for someone of her young age. I love the show, so I had to pre-order the book. I was not disappointed; every time I pick it up I notice something new.
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Format: Hardcover
High Voltage Tattoo is a beautiful book. Full gloss and full color, it forgoes the usual style of a biography for something closer to a coffee table book. Sometimes this tends towards excess: Deluy's crisp photos are sometimes Hollywood-slick (and Photoshopped), and the typography occasionally trades readability in for beauty. On the whole the book is a visual delight, lush and luxurious--but imperfect.

Similarly, High Voltage Tattoo's content indulges but never quite surpasses expectations. Putting full paragraphs to things only summarized or glimpsed in the show LA Ink provides a more intimate look into Kat's art, and a biography and list of inspirations, along with multiple details scattered throughout the book (the highlight may be a directory of Kat's own tattoos), gives a small glimpse into Kat herself. Fans will find an intriguing amount of detail and background information to appreciate. But the writing style leaves something to be desired, and sections on Kat's body of tattoo work (portraits, sleeves, lettering, etc.) seem brief. High Voltage Tattoo doesn't quite go above and beyond: it's thoughtful, beautiful, and a priveledge to read for those intrigued by Kat Von D and her art, but it feels short and fails to offer all the depth that a reader might desire. Nonetheless, I recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tess Vaher-Colenso on February 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great read for fans of Kat Von D. Gives you a good background on her history and how she came to be a tattooist. My absolute favorite thing about the book is her personal tattoo directory that shows all of Kat's tattoos, where they are, who did them and why she has them. I found the book quite engaging but in the later part of the book I wish there had been a few more photos of the tattoos that she talks about doing. There is also a section at the end of her heroes that she has interviewed which was great. Worth adding to your collection for the price.
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