Kat Marie Moya takes a sweepingly contemplative approach to her art - tattooing, illustration and mixed media - and sometimes blends it all together. This makes her the ideal candidate to lead the Columbus Museum of Art's Connector Series event this weekend.

Kat Marie Moya takes a sweepingly contemplative approach to her art - tattooing, illustration and mixed media - and sometimes blends it all together. This makes her the ideal candidate to lead the Columbus Museum of Art's Connector Series event this weekend.

"That's one of the big outcomes of the Connector series … it's more about the conversation and the thinking that goes into [the art]," said Susie Underwood, who works on the Connector Series and will be getting a tattoo from Moya during Saturday's event. "When we were exploring different Connector Series artists, Kat popped into my head because she's someone you see as not only a tattoo artist, but an artist. When you see the whole picture, tattooing is just one of the ways she uses her creativity. She has a larger understanding of why she's doing [her art] and her process is really interesting."

Moya is perhaps best known around Columbus for her tattoo work, but she's been working as a fine artist for a number of years. Now that she's fully fused the two mediums, she's finding a creative renaissance. Moya is currently wrapping up a mixed-media collection titled "Hell is Real" - which she plans to complete by the end of the year - while maintaining her tattooing endeavors. For her tattoo work, Moya has found a new approach, one that's been an unexpected but rewarding evolution of her entire approach, by creating stream-of-consciousness drawings that can become tattoos.

"For the first time in 18 years, I've finally realized the marriage of fine art and tattooing. There's the stream-of-consciousness drawings and some commercial work that's not just my own thoughts. I can research and study concepts and subjects I wouldn't have come upon myself. All of that enriches my fine art in turn," Moya said during an interview at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Moya's stream-of-consciousness pieces weren't borne of ideal circumstances, and weren't originally intended as tattoos. She needed a creative outlet, and when she started sharing the pieces on Instagram, folks were immediately drawn to them.

"The stream-of-consciousness pieces were because I had a limited environment," she said. "I couldn't do the mixed media work where I was living, and all my equipment and materials weren't in the same place. So what started to come out were these drawings. And when I started to share them, people asked if they could get it [tattooed]. I was surprised and honored that people wanted something purely from me, and not from them."

One glance at Moya's stream-of-consciousness work and it's not hard to see why people are so attracted to them. They're technically and aesthetically beautiful - striking. What's more prominent is Moya's entire philosophy when it comes to tattooing, which will be the basis of the Connector Series discussion.

"My talk isn't going to be on the technical aspect of tattooing, but rather a little bit about the history, and more about the potential for the marriage of fine art and tattooing," Moya said. "I want to place an emphasis on its permanence and the absolute respect you should have for its permanence, and the benefit of patience. You should think long and hard enough about it to make sure what you're getting isn't just an emblem of your youth. I want to show tattoos you don't see every day, and with my experience I want it to be seen as an art form. A tattoo is as good as the energy you put into it and the amount of homework you do for it."

If one needed further proof of Moya's thoughtful approach to her art and its inherent contemplative nature, look no further than the "Hell is Real" series. While traveling to Cincinnati, Moya passed the infamous "Hell is Real" sign along I-71. Moya was immediately riled by it - "What kind of way is that to convert people," she said - but the fact that she was still thinking about it 20 miles later inspired her.

"That's really powerful stuff," she said. "So my thought, with my own Catholic roots, was to make pieces with old Catholic symbolism and juxtapose the work with a title, or a theme, or compose the work in a way that is contemplative."

Moya has a complex relationship with the religion, she said.

"The old world tradition and ceremonial aspect of it is very enchanting," Moya said. "Catholicism is responsible for my appreciation of art and atmosphere, and ceremonial things. For that, I loved it. For that, I wanted to be a nun. But as far as my belief in the Bible, that's a whole different thing."

But "Hell is Real" is more about seeing work that could be construed as controversial, but is only premeditated as such with the goal of being thought-provoking - both personally and in a big picture sense.

"I'm trying to be bigger and broader to get people to just think. But not adopt my personal views; that has nothing to do with this," Moya said. "It might be seen as controversial, but it's more complex and only has the potential to be controversial depending on the viewer."

Moya's process and thusly the work produced from it, has become a wonderful example of an artist working from a place of meaning and depth. And she's going to take the proper time to focus on philosophy over personal.

"Of course that energy by default gets absorbed in the work; whatever you're going through. But I would rather entertain the bigger picture than marry myself to the thought of this temporary and fleeting bull crap that [I could be] going through," Moya said.