Baxter's Blog

COMMENTARY

Posted in Human Interest by misterroadtripper on September 3, 2010

Item: Tattooed TV star Kat Von D told People Magazine that she thinks current beau, Jesse James, is “The One.” “Jesse is only my ninth boyfriend. I don’t hang out with anybody unless I am in love,” she said. When asked what he likes best about Kat, Jesse said, “Everything.”

I wasn’t going to say anything… but I just can’t keep silent about this Kat Von D person, who for all intents and purposes, represents the modern-day tattoo scene more than anyone currently connected to the art form. She and Jesse James, whose personal life and divorce from move icon and beloved role model Sandra Bullock was splashed all over the tabloids, have thrown common sense to the four winds and come together in a highly-publicized love match. Sure, their personal lives are none of my business, your business or anyone else’s business, but not when a consummate role model who is revered by thousands of viewers of a television show that portrays what some TV production company has foisted upon an unaware public as “reality” has, along with a cadre of highly-paid publicity people, basically, done us wrong.

So, what does this have to do with tattooing? Actually, if you have devoted your life to exalting artistry in its highest forms, what doesn’t it have to do with tattooing? Here we have a celebrated, in some cases “adored” media star, who represents the world of tattoo through a heavily-scripted, deceivingly-presented and clearly (to those who truly know the industry) false television show that was created, plain and simple, to gain viewers and sell soap. How about a little history lesson? Bert Grimm was a promoter. God knows, his flamboyance and charisma was legendary. But it was all about tattooing. Spider Webb, now there’s someone who, among other notable escapades, tattooed Annie Sprinkle on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. But it was to prove a point about a bad law. It was all about tattooing.

Spider Webb

I remember, a few years back, I covered a tattoo convention, a big one that usually had about eight to ten thousand visitors through the gate. This time, it was twice that number. The reason: the appearance of Miss Kat Von D. The line to get her autograph stretched out the door and into the parking lot. The promoter was so excited and awed by her presence that, at one, point, he came up to me and said, “Bob, she’s really here. If I could only figure out a way to actually meet her.” Meet her? He hired her to boost attendance and he’s so overcome by her star power that he’s reticent to walk up and say hello? Finally, he concocted a last-minute, bogus award ceremony where all the tattoo “legends” who were present got on stage and handed over, along with a speech extolling her virtues, some valuable, commemorative tattoo memorabilia. I totally understand. At this point, we all thought that Von D might actually understand something about the 5,000-year-old tradition whose bandwagon upon which she had jumped. Maybe she was the perfect role model, an ethical and dedicated spokesperson for an art form that so many great artists have worked for decade upon decade to be accepted as “fine art.” We were wrong. She had no such intention. Or, if she did, it vanished at one of those Hollywood parties or one of those tattoo sessions where she declared that she never gets a tattoo unless she’s drunk.

Bert Grimm

I could go on. Instead, let me tell you about a specific moment that transpired at one of her other tattoo convention appearances. Again, the line was down the aisle and out the door. Maybe a thousand people of all ages. The person that caught my eye was lovely young mother, maybe in her mid-thirties, who was holding the hand of her sweet little daughter, maybe seven or eight years old. You know the kind: golden curls and big brown eyes. As I passed by, I heard the mother ask the child in a soft, questioning voice, “Now, honey, what are you going to say to Kat, when you meet her?” There was too much noise, so I didn’t hear the response. But looking back and reviewing what this Kat Von D person, this media mistress, this false prophet has done with the golden opportunity that has been handed to her, I wish I could have asked the mother,” Mom, why on earth are you allowing  your child to watch that particular television show?” —Bob Baxter




4 Responses

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  1. Uncle Tim said, on September 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I agree, wholeheartedly, Mr. Baxter. This show has gotten out of hand. I have worked in several shops over my career and never have I seen the type of drama run by a complete idiot like Kat Von D-cup. This woman does know how to tattoo but, hasn’t a clue on how to run a shop properly. If she were running my shop , I would have fired her on the first day. I would have fired her ass especially after I found out that she drops “Norcos” (a well known opiate) to get tattooed. Not only is she a sissy when it comes to running a shop, she’s a sissy when it comes to just GETTING a tattoo. Shame, shame!

    I cannot speak for the entire tattoo industry. I can only speak my mind. Kat Von Pee Pee does NOT represent the noble art of tattooing in any way shape or form. I think she is to tattooing as Charley Sheen is to acting….an embarrassment! And as far as her picking Jesse James as her man….it’s a perfect match. Enough said. Eventually, like all shooting stars, they all eventually find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. And when all the hubbub is over and their stardom fades away, the real icons of this trade like Jack Rudy and Sailor Jerry Swallow and The Dutchman will prevail as they have for decades. These are my role models. Not flash in the pants like Kat Von Dirtyword.

    Faithful servant to the trade…..Uncle Tim Heitkotter

  2. broken said, on September 4, 2010 at 3:47 am

    I couldn’t have said it better, Uncle Tim. She is the “anti-role model”. Celebrity stardom is her mistress. Not tattooing. Whatever she acheived in the early days (when she was a very good artist) has been damaged beyond repair. I’m sure she will stay a role model to the people who think tattoos are fashion accessories, but to those who are passionate about the artform that is tattooing, she will always be the black cloud!

    She always seems to be after a man who will get her headlines. After this “true love part 9”, maybe she will have to up her game and get a convicted murderer as #10 ?

  3. Tim said, on September 4, 2010 at 10:41 am

    [Different Tim, btw] And yet, and yet… the woman has done much to bring tattooing into the limelight, educating the masses about the art form, making it much more acceptable on the main street. Surely she deserves some credit for that?

    Having said all that… Jesse James?!

  4. Uncle Tim said, on September 4, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    In reply to the other Tim…..Kat did not bring tattooing into the lime-light. Lyle Tuttle did that and in more realistic and positive way. In all fairness, truthfully, TLC (and other cable channels), brought tattooing into an aura of stardom, not Kat. There were so many shows before hers, too. I honestly feel that the shows are a double bladed sword that do just as much harm to the business as they help it. Now, shops are opening up at alarming rates so everybody can be a “Rock-Star”, as we call them in the business. Ironically, this is what we called crack dealers in my old ‘hood”.

    Now, when people come into the shop they all have feel they have to have some deep spiritual meaning to their tattoos. Rarely, do those new to tattooing get a tattoo just because it looks great.

    In this day and age, everybody, including myself, does portraits, not just Kat. Everybody does custom work, not just Kat. Truth is…Kat is just another beautiful, talented tattoo artist who got lucky. That’s it. she’s no different from the rest of us. The only thing I would credit her for is bringing tattooing into the pro-wrestling arena. Shame, shame shame!

    and, yeah….Jessie James is a perfect fit for her. What a mess he’s made of his life!

    Anyways, all I can do is keep my side of the street clean.

    —–Uncle Tim


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