The ink on Kayla VanFleet

Name and recent state?
Kayla VanFleet aka KeighlaNight. My current state is California, but I am only here about half the month. My boyfriend Shawn O'Hare and I travel the U.S. attending tattoo conventions.

Where did you grow up?
I grew up on central Illinois in a very small town.

How was it growing up there, would you say that it influenced you?
It was slow and quiet. I was outside a lot since we owned a farm and had horses. I tend to be very humble now because of it. I must say I wanted to stand out at a very young age. Everyone where I grew up was either preppy or super country. 

When did you start getting tattoos?
I got interested in tattoos at a very young age, I always had fake tattoos or I was drawing on myself. My dad tried to find someone to tattoo me at the age of 13, I ended up with one at the age of 16 from a color blind biker.

How would you describe your style?
Honestly, it's always changing and evolving. Part of my job is to be a chameleon, and I believe that's reflected in my everyday life. 

Do you consider tattoos as a serious art form?
I do! I went through my tattoo apprenticeship about 4 years ago. I haven't been tattooing for a while now, BUT I do paint with oils. I must tell you there is far more pressure involved when you tattoo someone. If you mess up, you can't just erase it and start over. To me, that's about as serious as it gets.

How do you see the tattoo culture right now?
It’s way more accepted in society versus 10 years ago. It's growing and changing as it becomes more mainstream. I see it more than most people since we travel with the industry. Tattoo expos aren't like they used to be. Shawn's a body modifier, and watching 3D implants and tongue splitting’s take off has been amazing. 

What has been your inspiration for getting them?
To make myself feel beautiful and portray how I feel inside, on the outside. 

What’s your favorite piece?
My favorite piece would have to be a painting by Craola, that is on my outer thigh. It was tattooed on me by an amazing tattoo artist named Ryan Burke of Forest Grove Tattoo in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Do you catch people starring at you because of your ink? 
All the time! It’s part of my job! I model and I run the booth for Shawn at expos. People are always stopping me to take pics.

In your opinion, do your tattoos change your mood often?
Yeah, I had a habit of getting a tattoo when I was super pissed off. Now I tend to just look at my tattoos when I'm angry and remember the pain, then I feel better. I find that I don't cover myself with random’s this way. Tattoos sooth me, it's just another addiction.

What’s your most significant tattoo and why?
Hmm... That one is difficult to answer. I would have to say my hand tattoo. My entire hand is covered and I can't hide it. When I chose to do that, I chose to stand out for life. They always call hand and neck tattoos the deal breakers when it comes to normal life. It's a bit easier in cities like Portland, Oregon and Los Angeles, but in small towns, it's still game over.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to get their first tattoo?
WAIT!!! And think about a design for a year. Tack it up on the wall and stare at it every day. Then if you still want it, get it. Oh how I wish I would have done that. I'm working on so many cover ups, and I now suffer from "piercer arm". For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a massive black out cover-up. 

Will you be getting anymore?
Till the day I die.

What’s your biggest inspiration, what keeps you going? 
I want to inspire others. I want everyone around me to feel free to break the mold.

What is one thing that life has taught you?
Never give up! If one door closes, another one is always flying open somewhere. You just have to have the courage to go find it.

Do you have a favorite quote?
"You laugh at me because I am different, I laugh at you because you are all the same." 

Anything else you would like to add?
I can't wait to see what else life throws at me. My journey so far has been super intense, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Hope to see you all out there, and if you see me say hello! Shawn and I have our own clothing line called Mod Whore Clothing, check it out at MWClothingCO