Tattoo talk with Kata Polano of Acoustic Ink

Since 2014, Acoustic Ink owner Kata Polano has decorated the people of Revelstoke. We discussed tattoo trends, and creating a style beyond the fads.

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This astrology-inspired piece uses the oceanic imagery to represent the water sign Cancer. Photo: Kata Polano

This story originally appeared in the September 2021 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine. Check out the e-edition here:

With a steady hand and a single needle, Kata Polano carefully crafts her work across a canvas of skin. Her career started, and flourished, in Revelstoke. As Polano approaches seven years of tattooing, she reflects on the trends that flow through town. Spoiler alert: Mount Begbie is one of them. 

Polano started tattooing in 2014, spending six years honing her craft before opening Acoustic Ink in December 2020. Her studio differs from the average tattoo shop; it boasts eco-friendly practices and hand-poked single needle tattoos.  

Polano infuses two of her favourite elements, skulls and plants, into this intricate thigh piece. Photo: Kata Polano

Despite taking a different approach from Westernized machine-fired tattoos, Polano still witnesses the same cycles as other artists. As she continues to build her portfolio, Polano observes the trends that flow through Revelstoke. Unsurprisingly, elements of the local landscape are a popular choice for ink.

“I tattoo a lot of Mount Begbie, and am getting more and more floral designs coming to me as well. There was a tree trend for a bit, but that seems to have eased off,” Polano elaborates. Despite repeating these elements throughout multiple pieces, Polano says she is not tired of tattooing these designs. 

“Maybe Mount Begbie,” Polano laughs. “But I’ll still happily tattoo it.”

A busy bee pollinates wildflowers in this delicate rib piece. Photo: Kata Polano

However, observing trends does not always mean following them. As indicated by her slower, gentle approach to tattooing, Polano is more interested in creating a style that caters to her unique clientele. 

“I don’t really follow industry trends. I’m much more focused on honing and developing my own style and niche,” Polano explains. “I think, like most artists, we want to create what speaks to us, not what’s trendy.”

Luckily, some of the current trends lineup with Polano’s style. Many of her tattoos incorporate natural elements, with flora and fauna appearing throughout her portfolio. While she is happy growing her niche, Polano does have favourites when it comes to tattoos. 

Exoskeletal details are carefully poked into this worker bee. Photo: Kata Polano

“My favourite elements are bugs, skulls of any kind and plants. I’d love to do more planet-themed elements too,” Polano elaborates, adding that she also wants to push herself creatively through designing more large-scale pieces. 

Beyond expanding her artistic horizons, Polano is also expanding her clientele. She has an exciting fall ahead of her, preparing for the Calgary Tattoo and Arts Festival in October. This large event offers new exposure for the rising artist. 

These photos offer a snippet of Polano’s work; her full portfolio, and booking information, is available acousticink.ca.