The Heroine’s Journey of Katja Van der Graaf

What is the best thing that I love about my work? It’s never the same. Even if I’m doing the same design, the experience changes from person to person.
What is my idea of perfect happiness? Knowing you’ve made other people happy.
What is my greatest fear? Failure
What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? Procrastination. I have to set my deadlines early, otherwise I leave things right to the very last minute and then get stressed out!
What is my greatest extravagance? The huge amount of shoes I own that I’ve never worn
On what occasion would I lie? When I tell nervous clients that their rib tattoo isn’t going to hurt, just before I start!
What is the influence of role models, in my work and in my life? Strong female artists who have succeeded in a patriarchal field are everything to me. Also, my mother instilled independence, strength and a thirst for knowledge in me from birth, for which I thank her every day.
What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? People with bad personal hygiene. It’s hard work being up close to someone who smells bad, for hours!
When and where was I the happiest, in my work?  I’d say I’m probably the happiest I’ve ever been, at the moment. I have amazing clients and couldn’t wish for lovelier coworkers. I get to do interesting pieces every day – I’m very lucky!
If I could, what would I change about myself? Being more motivated to exercise- I’m pretty lazy!
What is my greatest achievement in work? Not giving up before I started. It took me 10 years to get my apprenticeship, I grew up in Devon, which had few studios at the time, and hardly any female artists. No one wanted to give me the time of day!
What is my most inspirational location, in my city? The seafront. Looking out at the water calms my mind and makes it easier for me to concentrate.
What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?  Wahaca, by the Theatre Royal. It does amazing mexican street food!
Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My best friend, Jak. He’s pretty much a walking advert for me!
Whom would I like to work with in the future? I would love to work alongside Sabine Gaffron, a Swiss tattoo artist. Her work is a huge inspiration to me.
What project, in the nearby future, am I looking forward to work on?  I actually can’t pick one, I’ve got so many to choose from!
How can you contact me?  
Katja Van der Graaf
 Velvet Tattoo
48, Norfolk Square,
01273 973746
Instagram: @katja_velvettattoo
Facebook: velvettattooofficial

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