Pretty In Ink

updated 09/03/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/03/2007 AT 01:00 AM EDT

WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW HER
One of the top female artists in the tattoo world, she needles celebs and civilians on her new TLC show [L.A. Ink], a spinoff of the popular [Miami Ink]. Her own ink? Everything from portraits of Mexican actresses María Victoria and Elsa Aguirre on her shins to roses on her neck to Beethoven on her hip. "I'm a Beethoven fanatic," says Von D (short for Von Drachenberg), who has a cat named Ludwig.

REBEL YELL
At 14, she ran away from home. Her Argentinian parents "were really strict," she says. "For their daughter to be tattooed, drop out of high school and be rock and roll—they thought I was possessed by Satan." Eventually they accepted her lifestyle. Von D, 25, has even tattooed a lotus flower on her mother's back: "It was pretty gnarly of her!"

WHY HER ART IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
A specialist in photo-realism, she often inks memorials. "I remember this lady got a portrait of her son, who had shot himself. When I was done she started crying and I held her. She came to me to help her heal. That's an honor."

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