Kern attended a high school for visual and performing arts and graduated in 1990. He enrolled in Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies, moving on to the University of Missouri in Columbia, and finally, Chicago’s Art Institute where he graduated in 1995 with a diploma in fine arts. Kern started tattooing during his college years and is self-taught; he honed his tattooing skills on his friends between classes. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Kern works with Rachel Gilbert at No Hope No Fear. He has earned many accolades on the tattoo convention circuit and the Chaudesaigues Award was presented to him by Stéphane Chaudesaigues and his daughter Enora.