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Some Like it Soft Tattoo Magazine, May 2000, Issue 129

In a world where many tattooers consider the phrase, "bold will hold" to be like the 11th commandment, one Ohio artist has carved a niche for herself doing delicate, detailed, and for want of a better word, feminine work. "I make damn sure I don't overwork someone," F14HellKat said, opening the door to the Basso Bean Coffeehouse in Columbus-where her first showing of paintings was in its dwindling days. Her paintings are frenzied pieces that incorporate everything imaginable from cigar boxes to her son, Sid's Batman head. Sid was not to happy about Batman's decapitation. Kat had to promise not to sell that piece so Batman could return to his crimefighting duties. HellKat has been painting her whole life, following in her father's footsteps. Although her father gave up painting when he was young, she continued with it, sometimes even hiding it from Pops. As a little girl, she was a tomboy. Barbies were replaced by fishing trips with dad and sports with the guys. She started skateboarding and hanging out with punks and artists, which put the hell in this Kat, and she hasn't looked back yet. Kat first got inked at 16 by a friend with household products, an all too familiar scene. Her friend was sitting on her lap talking about Christmas and other stuff, but never got to finish the tat because it hurt like hell. Kat thought that was it for tattoos. A couple of years later, though, she gave tattooing a second chance with the Atomizer at 8-Ball Tattoos, which at the time was being run out of the cold basement of a hair salon. "My first real tattoo was Tank Girl on my stomach. It was really funny. I was in this old folding chair, crunching my stomach in the dead of winter." At 18 Kat hit the road, condensing her belongings into a bag-paints and all- and began hitchhiking, hopping trains, and taking the occasional luxurious Greyhound. In New Orleans she used to sit on a corner and paint, and then sell her art to passersby, which she somewhat regrets because she has no idea where those paintings ended up. Beneath the quest for adventure was a journey to find somewhere better to call home. Somehow she always ended up back where she started-in Columbus, Ohio. Kat still hadn't given much thought to tattooing as an occupation and lifestyle until a friend from PittsburghChris Henry-started coming down for weekends every other month to tattoo out of her house. He opened her eyes to how free tattooing could be. She started working at Stained Skin as a bookkeeper and handler of all odd jobs, breaking down and setting up machines and designing flash. She planned to go to Pittsburgh for an apprenticeship, but Durb Morrison offered her one right there at Stained Skin. Before making any decisions, Kat teamed up with Atomizer and Leslie Allen of 8-Ball and traveled the convention scene in the summer of 1994. Her first stop was Houston, Texas, where she met Steve Haworth of HTC. After finishing her tattoo tour, Kat went to Arizona to study body piercing under Hayworth before retunring to Stained Skin to begin her apprenticeship in mid-1995. Since then, Kat has brought her beautiful color artwork to a new canvas. Her clean lines and patience have shown her to be wise beyond her years. She doesn't even set up an appointment until her customer is satisfied with how she designed the tattoo on paper. In just four years, she has made herself a name for fluid and delicate detailed lines... a woman's touch. Haste and impulsive buying, Kat says, are enemies of any good tattoo. She learned the hard way about rushing a tattoo. While at a convention in Hollywood she got a tattoo on her arm that has given her a motto of sorts. "I don't ever wanna give anybody a tattoo that they hate as much as I hate that one."

Written by Kelton McMullen


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