divine miss k
by sandi tomlin-sutker
been a long and winding road for Miss Kitty (as Kitty Brown is affectionately
known); from her early tattooing as punk rock hobby 12 ½
years ago in Baltimore to the deeply spiritual/psychological and personal
approach to tattoo she has today. She and her clients have a deep investment
in the process and the product. Kitty considers tattooing an act of
empowerment and a tool for the expression of intrinsic experiences.
is a trained artist, graduating from the Maryland Institute College
of Art. While she has a portfolio of tattoo designs available for those
that want them, her preference is to work with each person, discussing
what the tattoo will mean to them, in order to create a image that becomes
In Kittys view choosing a tattoo to express our individuality,
as a rite of passage or as a symbol of our evolving consciousness can
be a powerful way of affirming our personal evolution.
more than an individual psychological experience, she practices tattoo
as a potentially transformative spiritual experience. By approaching
the process as ritual, Kitty feels we have an opportunity to explore
our psychology in three dimensions and involve our sense of theater,
aesthetics and symbolism as well as providing a powerful focus for spiritual
an artist, tattooing might seem a bit limited; after all, the
canvas tells you what to do Kitty laughs. But she has found ways
to expand her own artistic creativity and support that of other local
artists: at her design and retail space at 51 N. Lexington Avenue in
downtown Asheville, she and her partners offer gallery spaces to well-known
and budding artists. Kitty also has a show of her own tattoo work each
yearon the living canvas of bodies! Last year she sent out the
word that her show was Gods and Goddesses; this years
theme is What is Sexy? and she hopes all sorts of bodies
will show up to represent the myriad ways humans perceive sexiness.
She knows that beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder: some of her
most satisfying moments have been creating tattoos for women whove
had mastectomies. When a woman looks in the mirror and marvels, I
feel beautiful again! Kitty knows the possibility for transformation
has become manifest.
brief history of the art of Tattooing:A mummified Egyptian princess
from about 2500 BC is the first historical evidence of tattooing, although
the practice is thought to be much older. By 1500 BC it was the norm
for women to have tattoos of small geometric patterns representing the
Goddess Bes who was associated with home life and having fun. The term
itself comes from the Polynesian word ta which means to
strike or mark. The main use of tattooing was spiritual and cultural
warding off evil spirits, identifying ones tribe, marking
major passages in life and death.
Captain Cooks first voyage to Tahiti led to the tradition of tattooing
for British Navy men; the art of tattooing flourished in England, even
gaining royal sanction in 1862 when the Prince of Wales, on a visit
to the Holy Land, had the Jerusalem Cross tattooed on his arm.
a German immigrant, Martin Hildebrandt, opened the first tattoo parlor
in the U.S. His first customers were Civil War soldiers.
current popularity and interest in tattooing began in the 1980s
and is growing at a rapid pace becoming ever more socially acceptable.
of one person's search for the perfect tattoo artist.
H. had gotten a beautiful tattoo from Kitty and is preparing to
receive another one soon. I asked her to describe the meaning of the
tattoo was definitely a spiritual experience. When I moved to NC, I
needed to let go of many things, and many things required me to BE BOLD,
or at least act as if. One of my first other-directed experiences
was meeting a Native American elder in Black Mountain who came up to
me and asked if I knew my animal totem? He said the Hummingbird danced
all around me and was inviting me into its experience of life.
Known for their endless energy and unlimited capacity for joy, hummingbird
medicine was to be the guiding energy as I walked into this new life
in the mountains. Although I had never seen a real hummingbird before
that experience, immediately they started appearing in my life, in all
forms from many people who knew nothing about my connection to them.
came time for me to let go of my identity of 11 years and resign from
Public Education, I was totally scared and had no idea what I was going
to do, who I was going to be next! And then the inspiration found its
way to my chattering ego-mind...I am going to get a tattoo to mark this
momentus turning point. One that most clearly illuminated not what I
was letting go of in fear, but what I was making room for, with gratitude.
I knew I wanted to permanently imprint myself with joy.
a picture of the exact hummingbirdthe Magnificent Hummerwhose
colors represented this rite of passage. I carried it with me to many
tattoo parlors in Asheville before finding someone with the right energy
to be part of this magical endeavor. Then when I found Kittyan
artist of inspiration and intuitive creativitygetting that little
bird onto my body was a collaboration of clear intention and divine
assistance. For me, it was not about the finished product so much as
following through on guidance for me to be bold in my joy and permanently
own the nature of my spirit. As a result of that guidance, I have a
beautiful tattoo and a connection with Kitty that has continued almost
3 years later. We have recently been discussing my next tattoo...so
this adventure continues."
Kitty can now be reached at Liquid Dragon: 828-251-8815; liquiddragontattoo.com.