The Gothic Tattoo Art of Katy Wiedemann

Katy Wiedemann’s tattoos are true works of art. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustration, as well as a MA in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, she worked as a scientific illustrator (yep, that’s a thing) since 2013. Her love of science carried into her tattoo work, a career she launched in 2018, with a focus on natural themes in an engraving style.

“In both fields I am working with a client who wants something very specific, and I need to be able to take their ideas and improve on them in a way that both fulfills their requirements and my own artistic vision,” Wiedemann shared in an interview with Female Tattooers. “Usually, the most difficult part of my job in both fields is frequently being asked to draw something that has been done countless times over and try to make it unique.”

Inspiration for both practices comes from anatomical museums around the world. Wiedemann admits she was especially drawn to the centuries-old wooden cabinets that hold life-sized wax anatomical models in La Specola in Florence, Italy.

Her work, whether on paper or skin, has a gothic edge to it, which is well intended. The overall aesthetic might appeal to illustration lovers and emo kids alike. Main themes include insects, skulls, the human body, and mythical beings.

“I am fortunate enough to have two careers that I love, which have ultimately merged together,” says Wiedemann. “I can use tattooing as the medium for my love of scientific imagery. It is such an honor—not only to be taught how to tattoo—but also having the trust of my clients who will wear my art on their bodies for the rest of their lives.”