I enjoy tattoos. I know many people find them hideous, including my parents who, every time I see them, seek mine out just so they can cringe and whine about them. I can appreciate their and anyone else’s dislike, but to me tattoos can be art. And personal expression.
Because of my tattoo love, I occasionally like watching TLC’s Miami Ink. I like seeing what the artists at the shop can do, from basic to more elaborate freehand tats. At first it was a total boys club, and then they brought in Kat Von D to help out when someone was unable to work due to injury. Kat really was a breath of fresh air – fun, young and extraordinarily talented. She was fresh enough that they brought her back full time for the second season.
During that second season, the hurdles were obvious. Kat was the lone female in a shop full of men, some of them quite egotistical (no, guys, hotness does not excuse away egoism), and she was trying to become acclimated to the city’s surroundings at the same time as she was acclimated to working with those guys. I still enjoyed watching her do her stunning work, but there were, naturally, conflicts between her and the egoists. The tension built and built.
The season two finale was her last episode, and I was SO sad to see this talented young woman shoved out for what looked, to me, like pretty stupid reasons. And I don’t know details, obviously, but the feelings were probably mutual by the end – her decision to leave was totally undstandable but I was still very disappointed in how it all went down.
Then, lo! Last week I discovered Kat Von D is getting her own show, LA Ink. New hope arises! I do think it’s a bit heavy-handed to have such a complete reversal in artists – this time around it’s four women artists (yay!) to one man, but I am very much looking forward to watching Kat and meeting her new circle of artists.
I wouldn’t say that Kat Von D is an across-the-board role model, but her success in what I think is still a predominantly male industry is nothing to sneeze at. I hope it only gets better for her.