Kat Von D finds the intersection of artistry and authenticity in music, fashion, art and beyond
For the Knotfest original series She's With the Band, hosts Alicia Atout and journalist Tori Kravitz highlight important contributors from across the spectrum of heavy culture with an emphasis on the female luminaries that help move the community forward. Connecting with key players onstage, backstage and throughout the business, the series aims to amplify the voices of the women, nurture equality within heavy culture and showcase the women whose accomplishments have set the bar.
Among the very first guests to launch the podcast series, multi-hyphenate Kat Von D joined the team for a lengthy discussion that explored her ever-evolving career that spans from her accolades as a tattooer, her ubiquitous cosmetic line, and her continued success as a musicians.
Wasting little time in reiterating the focus of the series, Von D spoke about how her first-hand account of how equity in the fields of music, fashion and tattooing has evolved during her nearly two-decade tenure. Speaking specifically about her start in the tattoo industry, Von D explained that when she started, tattooing was a much more male dominated space. She added that during her career, she has seen that dynamic shift with more women finding their artistic passion within the space. In fact, she explained that tattooing would be weird now without the contributions of women to the field.
Emphasizing the notion of letting her work speak for itself, Von D confided that in the early days of her career, there was an assumption that her climb was predicated on being someone's girlfriend or based on her looks. She explained the kind of satisfaction that came with magazine features or spotlights based on her work and her work alone. That set a precedent from the beginning for Kat underscoring the value she places on the quality of her work above anything else.
Naturally there was some discussion about Von D's still ascending music career. Currently working on the follow-up to her post-punk, synth-centric 2021 full length debut Love Made Me Do It, Von D shared how heavy rock and metal music are core to her creative DNA, even though the likes of Siouxsie and the Banshees, Depeche Mode and The Cure are more in the vein of what she creates.
Von D explained how the prevalence of darkwave is the kind of natural progression for heavy music fans that have an affinity for synthwave. Finding an intersection of dark soundscapes in the space of electronic music was a natural fit. She added that many of her metalhead friends have the same musical preferences she does, revealing she had just finished working with Alissa White-Gluz of Arch Enemy for a track on the upcoming sophomore album.
Von D also spoke candidly about her sobriety and the kind of clarity that came with the pivotal decision some 15 years ago. She spoke about the decision to share that process while filming her television show and how she was uncertain if it was something she should make public. Admitting the the decision cost her some friendships and felt lonely at times, she ultimately decided to share her journey to ensure that other people who might be feeling that same sense of loneliness were able to identify with someone else going through the same thing.
That individual growth and evolution has nurtured not only Von D's professional accomplishments but her personal ones as well. In addition to her accolades in business, music, art, and fashion, she is also a mother, a wife, and now adding author to her growing list of achievements. Releasing her first children's book, Leafar and the Magical Treasure Chest, Von D linked with venerated painter Kevin Llewellyn to create a story that not only emphasizes imagination in narrative, but allows the reader to get lost in the art as well. Explaining how that combination was key, Von D explained the kind of gratification that came with creating this project and the kind of artistic freedom that made the finished product so satisfying.
Exploring personal growth, professional resilience and the bandwidth to balance being creative with authenticity, the conversation with Kat Von D was both comprehensive and candid. Check the complete episode of She's With the Band featuring Kat Von D below.