As a viewer, it’s easy to scroll through a tattoo artist’s Instagram and think, “I can do this. But believe us, tattooing is a lot harder than it looks. Each tattoo style has its unique challenges and although it may seem simple, the fine line is one of the most difficult. Kat Vargas has taken on the challenges of the fine line with force, making styling her specialty. We sat down with Kat to find out how she discovered tattooing, what brought her to the fine line, and the surprising direction she could take her art in the future.
When did you first realize you were an artist? As a kid, I always found myself doodling and it progressed so quickly over the years. I always imagined myself becoming an artist, but I wasn’t really sure [exactly] what I wanted to do until I was about 15 years old.
Who were the tattoo artists you admired at the start of your career? I’ve looked up to Kat Von D for most of my life – her skills and progression over the years really inspired me to become a tattoo artist. I also enjoyed Grace Neutral’s Vice series, it’s absolutely amazing. She is a unique artist and very open to learning about other artists and cultures, which inspires me to travel and really look into the history of tattooing. Grace Neutral is a badass.
Did you follow a traditional apprenticeship? I took a traditional apprenticeship for about two to three years. It was quite difficult, but now I thank them for earning me the skill of tattooing.
What drew you to fine line tattooing? I’ve always loved the soft look in fine line work. I would definitely say that I taught myself fine line tattooing. I was surrounded by black and gray realism artists, which was great, but I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and make a name for myself.
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the thin line tattoo? My favorite thing about the fine line is knowing that I have clients who come to me specifically for that. It is such a feeling that I can provide this service to them. What I like least is how tedious and time consuming it can be. As simple as it may seem, it is very difficult but it is definitely worth it in the end.
What are your favorite flowers to tattoo and why? Peonies and roses are my thing. I like to go with these flowers whenever a client gives me creative freedom. And fortunately, these are very popular flowers.
Tell us how you got started using UV ink and what customers need to know about it. It started as a random conversation I had with an artist. At first I was hesitant because I didn’t know if it was safe or even if it healed well. After all the research it turns out to be very safe and very healing.
Many customers confuse this ink with glow-in-the-dark ink, but that’s not true: it only glows under UV light. The colors are very vivid and I have had very good care so far.
Do you prefer black and gray or color? Why? Personally, black and gray always heals the best. The color is so beautiful, but it can fade, especially if you spend a lot of time in the sun.
How do you think your tattoos will heal over time? I think they will heal very well, especially if customers take good care of them.
If you had to change your tattoo style, what would you choose? I would definitely go for large scale black and gray realism. I have only done a few of these tattoos so far. They take so much time and work that’s why I don’t do a lot of them, but it’s such a great style of tattoo.
What else should our readers know about you? I will always learn and progress as an artist. Every day I look forward to growing and expanding my style. I am very open to new ideas and fully appreciate the support I receive online from people who have watched me grow from the very beginning.