Shanghai Kate's Tattoos

Shanghai Kate’s Tattoos Kate Hellenbrand has worked with tattoo greats such as Sailor Jerry.[/caption]

Kate Hellenbrand, better known as Shanghai Kate or Americas Tattoo Godmother, remains busy since establishing her business in Austin.

Activity is increasing at Shanghai Kate's Tattoos, her Guadalupe Street shop that opened in February 2013. Hellenbrand is also working on a book that chronicles her early work in 1970s New York City, which at the time banned tattooing. The book will feature many photos of tattoos from artists who are now considered industry pioneers, she said. Because of tattoos taboo nature, taking such photos back then was extremely rare, Hellenbrand said.

"People are starving for these [photos] because this is history nobody has except me," she said.

She is also collaborating with creators of a documentary, Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed, which details the selling of the Sailor Jerry brand to a rum companya sale he never would have agreed upon, Hellenbrand said. She said she remains close with the widow of Sailor Jerry, one of the all-time tattoo greats who Hellenbrand worked with before his death.

By this summer, Hellenbrand also hopes to duplicate a tattoo machine designed by Sailor Jerry for potential resale.

"No one else has one, and the geometry of the machine mold took [Sailor] Jerry three times to get this one perfect," Hellenbrand said.

In the meantime, she keeps busy touring the country and sometimes beyond at least two times per month at various tattoo conventions.
By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.