Cool Skin: A Game Artist and Her Tattoos

Kathryn Greenbaum has a cool job in games, but we’ll get to that. First let’s talk about what’s on her skin. Specifically her four tattoos, all in black ink, one on each arm, two on her torso. We talked about her arm.

Kathryn's Tattoo and a Friend; Photo by Alli Coates

I like the intimacy of the piece. Tell us the story behind it?

My younger sister is an incredibly talented artist and had never designed a tattoo before, so I asked her to do some sketches of horse skeletons. We grew up on a horse farm and they’ve played a huge role in our lives. I think that horse skeletons are really beautiful, intricate things. When I had it inked, the tattoo artist went over the drawing exactly as my sister drew it, which I think gives it a different slant than your typical tattoo. I really love how spindly and sketchy the lines look.

 Who did the work?

It was done by an artist out of Philly, whose name is Trevor. He’s also close friends with my friend Will. It was done in Will’s bedroom in Brooklyn.

Are you going to add to the canvas?

I think I’d like to get a few more small pieces, but after getting two of my four done in the last couple months, I’m probably taking a break for a little bit. I also don’t have any idea what I’ll get next. I think it will definitely all be black ink though. I feel like it ages better and just looks cleaner, more aesthetically pleasing.

What do you do for a living?

I’m a screen capture artist for Rockstar Games. I create the still images that are used for marketing, PR, publications and such. This past May we released Max Payne 3. We’re working on a new project but I can’t really discuss it.

That’s an unusual gig at a gaming company. How did you wind up there?

Kathryn; Photo by Meagan CignoliMy path to Rockstar was a pretty interesting one. I graduated from NYU in 2011 with a BFA in photography and imaging and a minor in art history. After graduation, I started working as an assistant studio manager at a small retouching studio that mainly did work for Victoria’s Secret.

After about six months I realized that I wasn’t really enjoying what I was doing and decided to look into other jobs. I didn’t really have any idea what else I wanted to do, so I spoke with my friend Max, who kind of acts a bit like my big brother, and he reminded me that we had often talked about my working in the games industry after graduation.

I like Rockstar’s games and decided to check out how I could possibly fit in there. I sent them an email basically saying that I wasn’t sure what I’d be able to do for them, but detailed my background in fashion photography. I ended up going in for an interview that day! It turns out a photography background is ideal for a career as a screen shot artist.

Full disclosure: Kathryn’s my niece. But her tattoos are so cool.

If you work in tech and have a tattoo to share, we want to know about it. Email us and tell us about it.


  • The Tattoos: Alli Coates
  • Kathryn’s Portrait: Meagan Cignoli

6 Responses to “Cool Skin: A Game Artist and Her Tattoos”

  1. Why would you be posting favorably about tattoos on a professional jobs site? Haven’t you heard, a tattoo brands you forever as an idiot who likes pain. Tattoos are for football players and truck drivers. Not for professional Information Technology workers! Little wonder our jobs are going to India and I am working while you are not!

    • Hi Donald. Thanks for your note. We post these because some people have said they’d like to see more than just job stories here. To your point, whether or not it’s OK to have tattoos in tech depends on a couple of things, company culture first and foremost. Many companies don’t care. In others, you’d better be able to cover them up. But I have to disagree when you say tattoos aren’t for IT professionals. I’ve met many a game developer, mobile developer and even some cybersecurity folks who’re very proud of theirs. As for the pain issue, well, I can’t really speak to that. I have trouble getting through a blood test.

      • I see your point of view, but just because a person starts as a game developer where a tattoo is perfectly fine does not mean that 5 years later they won’t be interviewing at a more traditional company. A tattoo closes doors and in this economy I don’t think it is a good idea to do that,

    • Proud Paulbot

      Actually, my No. 6 penny farthing bicycle tattoo brands me as an individualist who lives outside of mainstream society, because I will not bow down and kiss rings. And the one I’m getting after running my first half-marathon will brand me as someone who ran 13.1 miles: something very few people in the world manage. Heck, most Americans are obese and can’t even walk up a flight of stairs without gasping for air…including kids in their early 20’s. It’s sad, really. They should be smoking me.

      I didn’t have any tattoos when I was in the job market. Actually, I’ve been told, on numerous occasions, that I “look” very conservative (and still do — the No. 6 tat is on my back and is fully covered by business attire). Didn’t help me any. Out of the thousands of resumes I sent out over a year’s time, I met face-to-face with perhaps half a dozen employers. The other 994+ never even saw me.

      So I figure I may as well just get inked as much as I want. It’s not like the presence of tattoos makes a dime’s worth of difference.

  2. Hi Donald. Thank you for commenting. I know many people who work in traditional settings, who also have tattoos. Unless you have elaborate, full coverage, most work is easily concealed by business attire. That being said, a significant percentage of people under the age of 50 now have tattoos and hiring personnel are aware of this generational shift in attitudes towards skin art. As a result, unless a potential hire has offensive or genuinely distracting, e.g. tears on their f,ace, et al tattoos, it would unlikely affect their ability to get a job.