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,