Kari Barba is a world renowned artist who has been tattooing since 1979. Kari had never seen a tattoo until the age of 17, but she had spent her entire life up until then drawing and painting. Art came naturally to her. As fate would have it, Kari was at home drawing one day when her friend Neil, a tattoo artist, stopped by. He saw her work and suggested she try tattooing. So she gave it a go and the moment she tried it, she was hooked. It was a new and interesting way to create a different kind of art; a way of letting go. She looked forward to marking the skin as her new way of artistic expression and it brought her art to an unexpected place. Kari Barba officially began tattooing in 1979 at the age of 19 and she hasn’t stopped or slowed down ever since.
Once her professional tattoo career started, it launched big dreams for Kari including leaving her native Minnesota for sunny California to open a tattoo studio. After losing her job, the perfect opportunity presented itself to make the dream a reality. Kari slowly made a name for herself over the next couple years, but she got her big break at a convention aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. In the years leading up to the event, Kari had concentrated on drawing tattoo flash and had sold over 300 sheets to various vendors including Erin Carrafa and Spaulding & Rogers. Spaulding & Rogers had a huge presence at the convention and the headline of the front cover of their catalog read: “Flash by the World Famous Kari Barba”.
That single opportunity is the precise moment she began her decade’s long legacy as one of the most formidable tattoo artists in the world. The following year, Kari opened her first tattoo shop: Twilight Fantasy in Anaheim, CA on April 1st, 1983.
Since then, Kari has won over five hundred awards including: “Best Tattoo Artist” twice nationally and once internationally and a Lifetime Achievement award. Currently, she owns two shops under the name, “Outer Limits Tattoo”. First is the Long Beach location. This is the oldest continuously running shop in the USA- second in the world. The second location is at the CAMP in Costa Mesa. She employs a staff of amazingly talented artists and piercers. Kari tattoos five days per week at the Long Beach location. Currently, Kari's most enjoys tattooing Realism, Portraits, Asian-styles, and Trash Polka. Challenges drive her. When she isn’t tattooing, she is still an active and prolific painter working in oil paints with a focus on details.
About the Artist
Unfortunately, the artist hasn’t updated their profile.