Shanghai” Kate Hellenbrand has been in the industry for 43+ years and is affectionately known as “America’s Tattoo Godmother”. She began her career in NYC after co-producing a Tattoo’ exhibit at the Museum of American Folk Art. She has been an owner of several Tattoo studios located in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Philadelphia, Utah, and most recently in Austin Texas.
Along the way, she worked with the best tattoo artists the industry has to offer: Ed Hardy and Jack Rudy on the West Coast, Zeke Owen in North Carolina and Sailor Jerry Collins in the great state of Hawaii. Back in 1972, a group of seven artists called the Council of Seven, got together to have a gathering which later became known as the first international convention for tattoo artists.
In her early years she attended the Chouinards School of Fine Arts and the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles. She finished nursing training and became a government/health inspector of Tattoo Shops in Utah.
Kate has made appearances on several media outlets including:
* The Today Show * Prime Time Access *The Tonight Show to name a few. She has been seen on TV documentaries on TBS, Discovery Chanel and The Travel Channel. In TATTOO NATION, a documentary about how black and grey emerged on the scene, she was the only woman featured.
Her Tattoos have won awards and have been featured in all the top tattoo magazines. Her talents are not just as a tattoo artist, she also is a published writer for Ink, Skin and Ink, Tattoo Planet and International Tattoo Art magazine. She is also an accomplished lecturer that has been seen at several college and universities. She was given high accolades for her lecture “From Voodoo to Vogue” at several conventions, conferences, and museums. She was a panelist during the International Women’s Leadership Conference at Columbia University.
Some of her more famous clients include: Casey Affleck, Pearl Jam band members and Howard Stern to name a few. Kate loves to travel and was credited as being the first American female tattoo artist to travel and work alone in Europe back in 1979. She enjoys being a “Guest Artist” at many fine tattoo studios around the world. She is likely to be seen at well know tattoo shops and conventions worldwide, including the Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Philadelphia and London Tattoo Conventions. Kate has recently been honored with the NTA Bob Shaw Award for her amazing 40+year career of service to the Tattoo Industry.
Kate is also credited and known as The Stencil Queen for resurrecting acetate tattoo stencils. Kate is known as being one of the top “101 most influential people” in the tattoo industry.
Tattoos Designed By “Shanghai” Kate Hellenbrand