Kate Hellenbrand, better known as America’s Godmother of tattooing, lived a life by her own rules…
Born and raised in rural Utah, Kate grew up a tomboy and always dreamed of becoming a cowgirl. She had a very difficult and traumatic childhood experience and said attending art and design school and getting tattoos saved her. According to her, it was the joy of her life.
Kate was introduced to tattoos at a young age thanks to her relationship with Mike Malone, her fascination with tattoos and her first introduction to tattoos! Kate began doing tattoos at a studio (called Catfish Studios). She later learned techniques from the likes of Paul Rogers, Huck Spaulding and Zeke Owens, and finally got a tattoo under the wings of Sailor Jerry nine months before his death.
She became part of a very important group of tattoo artists at the time. Names like Ed Hardy, Tom Devita, Sailor Jerry and Mike Malone (aka Rollo) have become absolute exceptions to the unspoken law of not wanting women in their club!
She was one of the few women at the time to gain access to this world, At that time there were only two other famous women with tattoos.
Cindy Ray from Australia and Rusty Skuse from England!
Today she is remembered as the Godmother of American tattooing.
Kate has become a tattoo icon today. She was a pioneer in the industry, and she opened the doors of tattooing for women.
Rest in peace and thank you for all you have done for women in the tattoo world!