With all the chaos going on in the world right now, it was refreshing to write Faces Of Kingston this week and get to share a normal, light-hearted conversation with an artistic local. Kate Cristiani is a tattoo artist with Ink Inc. who lives in Kingston and it was nice to get to know her better.
Morgan Y. Evans: What is your earliest memory of Kingston? Anything that vividly transports you back, rather than a fleeting impression?
Kate Cristiani: I will always remember being Uptown with my mom. We’d go all over, but I specifically remember going to Mr. Kim’s. His store had its own unique scent. When you’re only a few feet tall and that young, his store seemed like a magical place. He’d always give me white rabbits (rice candy) and he’d always do this magic trick with a newspaper, ended up with a loud bang sound.
That place was amazing. Were you born in our area? Go to school here? Is there anything about living here that really formed the person who you are today?
I was actually born in Korea. I went to Onteora High School. I guess since being here, I’ve had to face a lot of obstacles at an early age. I lost my mom from cancer when I was six, so that was the hardest thing I have had to endure. A lot of people made fun of me for being adopted and for not being “white.” But despite it all, I am still here. But on a lighter note, I am happy!
How long have you been doing tattoo work? How would you describe your individual style or influences? Did you always want to do this type of art? I saw that you do a lot of animal pieces?
I started my first apprenticeship three years ago. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me. I left after being there for three years. I immediately pursued a new apprenticeship from Mike, at Ink Inc., Uptown Kingston. I’m still trying to figure out my style. I will always have a love for traditional pieces, but I gravitate more towards animal and nature illustrations. I get a lot of inspiration from botanical illustrations, folk art, wood blocks and other vintage posters. I also love looking at old flash sheets from tattoo artists (Sailor Jerry, Mike Malone, Pinky Yun and more).I knew I wanted to do tattoos, since high school. It just took years of courage to finally ask for an apprenticeship.
What do you like the most about living in the Hudson Valley at this time? There is always a lot changing these days.
I love being in the Hudson Valley because we get to experience all four seasons. It’s such a relieving feeling to be able to feel warmth from the sun again. I love new life! I love seeing bits of green emerging from the dead. But I really love seeing little ducklings and fawns.
What is something our area could improve on, do you think? It is OK to hurt people’s feelings, hahaha.
I’d like to see less trash. It would be cool for people had better attitudes. People need to drive slower. This one is more of a personal complaint, but those LED lights suck.
What are some of your favorite places to go to unwind or have fun in the area especially, but not limited, to Kingston?
My partner and I really love being outdoors. Our dog, Oskar, and cat Edwin — leash-trained — love going on adventures with us. There’s a few places we go, but I won’t say because it’s best to not spoil it. If we aren’t getting lost in the mountains, we will either be near a stream or on the river doing a little catch and release. We also really enjoy going to breweries and antique shops. My favorite antique shop is down on the Strand. It’s always fun to find little treasures.
What are you looking forward to about the rest of 2020? What is something you would like people to know about you they maybe don’t?
I’m really looking forward to becoming a better artist. I am always pushing myself to become more focused and finding new techniques. I’m excited for the future!
Something about me, that I’d like people to know about? Hmm, I don’t think there’s really anything I’d like people to know. I gave up meat three years ago?
Congrats. That’s a good thing. Thank you.