The model earning an income showing off her body art

Inked: Each tattoo is carefully planned. Katia doesn't get her body art on a whim. Photos: Sylvia Liber
Inked: Each tattoo is carefully planned. Katia doesn't get her body art on a whim. Photos: Sylvia Liber

More Than Skin Deep Series

Katia Kubacki is walking proof that in a modern world, body art is synonymous with beauty. Maybe not in the eyes of all - but in the eye of an ever-increasing number.

Gone are the days when ink was reserved for the tougher, gruffer, hard-core members of society. Today a strong, independent 26-year-old can earn an income showing off her body art.

Katia has appeared on the cover of magazines and has worked as a successful model for about four years. Her body is her portrait - the pieces of work are carefully planned.

 Illawarra Mercury photographer Sylvia Liber captured the beauty of Katia and her body of art.

Illawarra Mercury photographer Sylvia Liber captured the beauty of Katia and her body of art.

Her showpiece that fills the contours of her back is the perfect example of life imitating art. The intricate angel wings represent a dear friend who Katia lost young. ‘’She is my guardian angel, forever with me, always on my back,’’ she said.

The Japanese designs on her leg tell the story of her life so far. And as Katia experiences each new adventure, her body art will evolve to represent her journey.  

“Tattoos are becoming so common these days that it’s not something that’s based on individuality any more,” she said.

“Some people do it to belong, some people do it to express themselves. Some people do it to impress others but at the end of the day it’s on your body forever.”

Katia’s ink love was born the day she flicked through a tattoo magazine.

“One of the girls on the cover and she was covered in ink. It said that she was a tattoo artist and said that she painted as well and went through all this trauma in her life and I thought ‘wow she can put so much out there in this magazine for all these people to read that she doesn’t know and she’s expressing it on her skin as well, it’s something i never grew up around,” Katia says.

“I grew up in the country and nobody had tattoos, nobody had piercings, everyone kinda looked all the same, so to see this person putting it out there and expressing themselves, I thought that was really brave.’’

So began Katia’s own personal ink journey. The most painful addition so far was the tattoo behind her knee. ”I kept tapping out every two hours. Never again,” she says. 

Ink doesn’t get in the way of her life. ”You’ve got to expect when you’ve got a tattoo to be stared at,” she said. “You’ve just gotta smile, people expect you to be a big growly and not that approachable.”

Like many subjects interviewed for the Mercury’s More than Skin Deep series, Katia is not a fan of people getting neck face and hand tattoos when the rest of their body is ink free.

In the tattoo culture, faces, necks and hands are reserved for tattoo artists, and others who have evolved their art over the years and exhausted their available skin canvas.

“I don’t agree with that, you’ve got to work for that.”

Read more: