Tube Talk: Inside the world of tattoos with L.A. Ink, Miami Ink

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11865232876986.jpg’, ‘Photo courtesy of‘, ‘“You’re going to see the connection between the artist and the client, and the client and the tattoo, but I want it to be a little more rock ’n’ roll,” said Kat Von D of her new series, L.A. Ink.‘);

Looking back at some of the things I’ve written over the years, one might think I have a fondness for tattoos.

First, there was the story about make-up artists dealing with actors’ real tattoos (either covering them up or making identical temporary tattoos for stunt performers to wear) and/or applying fake tattoos on actors-like the intricate designs Wentworth Miller sports as Michael on Prison Break. In a classic case of poor timing, I wrote that article a year or two before Prison Break debuted.

Next, came a profile of character actor Robert LaSardo. You might not know his name, but you probably remember his recurring role as Escobar, the heavily-tattooed drug lord who twice blackmailed the lead characters of FX’s Nip/Tuck, or from countless other roles in film and on shows like The Shield, NYPD Blue, CSI: Miami and even General Hospital.

So when I heard tattoo artist Kat Von D was leaving Miami Ink for her own spin-off series, L.A. Ink, I figured my editor might peg me for a tattoo freak. I appreciate the artistry of tattoos and the way people use them to commemorate certain life experiences, but that’s about it. I could never choose a design that I’d be able to live with for the rest of my life. Besides, my skin is allergic to almost everything, so I’d probably have an allergic reaction to the permanent ink.

Yet, for the past couple of seasons, I’ve been fascinated with Miami Ink, as I’m sure I’ll be with L.A. Ink, which debuted Aug. 7. While Miami Ink depicted Kat as primarily a portrait and pin-up tattooer (her word, not mine), she told me L.A. Ink will show that she’s equally comfortable with most styles: “The only stuff that I really stay away from are Japanese tattoos, just because I know what a good Japanese tattoo looks like, and I don’t feel my brain is capable of producing it that way. So I leave those to people who are better for that job.”

More of Kat’s personality should come through in the new series-seriously, from watching her on Miami Ink, would you even think she’s a classical pianist with a major obsession with Ludwig van Beethoven?

Kat says L.A. Ink will have a similar premise as the original show.

“You’re going to see the connection between the artist and the client, and the client and the tattoo,” she promises, “but I want it to be a little more rock ’n’ roll. We have a good amount of musicians and bands and artists coming in to be tattooed, so you’ll have something to look forward to every week-it’s Who’s Gonna Get Tattooed Next?”

She says the gender mix among tattoo artists will be all women and one man, the opposite of what it was during her time on Miami Ink. “I feel like we’re going to showcase women being strong, but still being feminine,” Kat says. “I think that will be nice.”

Program notes: L.A. Ink airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on TLC. Miami Ink returns with new episodes this fall, on TLC.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT, and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

from the August 8-14, 2007, issue

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!