Insights on Health, Camping & Ink Master with Katie McGowan | Painful Pleasures Community

Insights on Health, Camping & Ink Master with Katie McGowan

Tattoo artist Katie McGowan weighs in on being a female artist, reflects on her time on Ink Master, and chats about the importance of exercise and camping!

by dan lorenzo Last Updated: May 16, 2021

katie mcgowan tattoo artist, katie mcgowan, ink master, katie tattoos


Dan Lorenzo: You were always a pretty woman, but it's safe to say you lost a lot of weight. How did you do it?

Katie McGowan: It's the most expected and underwhelming answer, but it's true: diet and exercise! I try to exercise at least three times a week, and I try to eat healthy most days, keeping "cheating" at a minimum. Some days can be quite a bit more challenging than others, but I try to not beat myself up too much about indulging every now and then. I am a foodie at heart, after all.


My wife has often told me she thinks ninety percent of the key to losing weight is diet-based, you told me you think it's a fifty-fifty combination of diet and exercise, right?

A healthy diet and exercise go hand in hand for me. When I exercise regularly, I feel motivated to eat better, and vice versa. I try to not let more than three consecutive days pass without going to the gym. I genuinely enjoy and look forward to my time in the gym. It's really become a therapeutic activity for me. 

geometric tattoo, floral tattoo, katie mcgowan tattoos, thigh tattoo


I've never gone camping in my life. What am I missing?

Oh my goshhhhh, camping is the best! It gives you an opportunity to disconnect and tune into your natural surroundings more, which I think can be easy to take for granted. My boyfriend and I went camping for my birthday this year. We did an eight mile hike — five of those miles were kinda difficult with lots of inclines and tricky footing. On this hike, we saw the tallest waterfall in Arkansas and experienced an incredible view from a popularly photographed cliff called Hawksbill Crag. It was such a memorable birthday for me, I think because I was feeling really connected with nature and because my phone wasn't getting any service. [laughs] In my opinion, going camping is like hitting a "reset" button in your mind, temporarily clearing out the over-stimulation from being so "connected" and reachable.


You've been on Ink Master multiple times, so I know you're not shy. Why were you reluctant to let me interview you?

[laughs] I can definitely go through phases of feeling shy. When it comes to being on camera, for some reason I feel very comfortable, which might give the impression that I'm extroverted. But truly I experience moments of feeling both ways, sometimes outgoing and social, other times, more quiet and introverted. A consistent characteristic of my personality seems to be that when it comes to working, whether it's on Ink Master or at the tattoo shop, I feel comfortable and even enjoy being really present, enthusiastic, and loud. [laughs] And at the same time, I REALLY treasure quiet nights in so I can recharge my batteries.

elephant tattoo, katie mcgowan tattoos, katie mcgowan tattoo artist


Do you foresee you or Matt going back to Ink Master?

I mean, we've been on there twice already. I don't know about Matt, but I'd definitely be down if they wanted to make me the first lady judge on the show. [winks]


The last time we spoke, you told me you enjoy cooking. What are some of your specialties?

I eat a lot of fish, so I find myself cooking salmon and shrimp pretty frequently. I love any and all vegetables so I'm always making veggies for a side if not just as the main dish. My faves include curried sweet potatoes, sautéed garlicky greens, and oven-roasted brussels sprouts and carrots.


How was it for you as a woman coming up as a female tattoo artist in a male dominated industry?

I feel like I've experienced a lot of the struggles that other women in a similar position or industry have experienced. Not feeling like their opinions are being taken as seriously. Being subjected to sexist, racist, and homophobic rhetoric. Being objectified first before being considered as an artist. The tattoo industry is still very much so a "boys' club," but very fortunately there has been a massive wave of incredible female tattooers that have surfaced over recent years. I would looooove to see more diversity within our industry in every regard.

dinosaur tattoo, katie mcgowan tattoos, katie mcgowan tattoo artist


How likely are you to spend your Tuesday nights watching the current season of Ink Master?

Okay so no lie, I don't watch that much tv, but when I do, I pretty much only watch pro basketball unless it's offseason, old reruns of The Office, and Keeping up with the Kardashians!


No! I love the NBA, but despise the Kardashians!

Don't judge! [laughs] Or do. F— it. I also enjoy documentaries involving food, history, space, and sports. Oh my gosh I'm so boring. [laughs]


What were the best and worst things about being on Ink Master?

Best part was getting to see Dave Navarro's genetic gifts of natural beauty in person. Worst part was not being able to nail down a first date with Dave.


Katie McGowan tattoos, Katie McGowan tattoo art, sticker pack, camping stickers, katie tattoos camping stickers

Who did most of your tattoos?

A bunch of people! My most recent tattoo came from the very talented precious soul that is Julia Campione, who's based in Chicago. I've gotten several tattoos from my coworkers over the years as well. I genuinely enjoy traveling and getting tattooed by artists that I admire, and I've set a goal for myself to get tattooed by more lady tattooers over the next year!


Anything else you want our readers to know?

I just dropped a fun camping-themed sticker pack that commemorates my camping experience in my home state of Arkansas. These stickers are vinyl and can be used indoors and outdoors too! Pictures of these stickers and ordering info can be found on my Instagram @katietattoos or my website

Comments are closed here.

Follow us @ Instagram