I have been around the business of tattooing all my life,
some of my earliest memories are of seeing my father (Jack Zeek) working.
I started being tea boy/cleaner in my fathers studio aged 7,
by the time I was 10 I was pricing work for my fathers customers. It was a
foregone conclusion that this was going to be my path in life.
I did my first tattoo and started my apprenticeship properly
when I was 14. The first tattoo I did was colouring in a butterfly that my
father outlined on “Big” Bill Cherry (he was enormous!). The die was cast from
that day on.
I started tattooing full time when I left school at 16 (and
became the youngest health registered tattooist in the
my father outlined the tattoos and I coloured initially until I progressed to
doing the whole job on my own.
Tattooing was a very different business then, the designs
were a lot more basic (panthers, eagles, peacocks), my apprenticeship was very
traditional as my fathers roots in the business hailed from days of old.
I caught the first wave of the artistic revolution in
tattooing that was spearheaded by the likes of Ed Hardy (San Francisco), his
work in those days was something held in awe by most tattooists (and still is)
and was a real blueprint for what was to come.
In those days we didn’t have computers and magazines, it was
before the information age had started so to get designs and ideas for better
work was a hit and miss affair. George Bone of London (he’s still working 45
years on and still putting out top quality work) was doing incredible Japanese
style tattooing and any opportunity I had I would photograph his work when I
saw it so I could study and try to emulate what he was doing. Another big
influence in my early days was a guy called Pete Tracey, he was light years
ahead of himself and the standard of his artwork in those days was stunning.
I was very fortunate that some of these old time tattooists
would let me sit in and see them work and the lessons I learnt then still sit
with me every time I pick up my machines.
I worked with my father for 17 years until he sadly passed
away in 1999. I kept the studio going for 18 months after. I closed the place
down to lay my father to rest, there were just too many memories there.
Since then I have moved about the
and worked at a succession of studios. I am currently living and working in lovely Norway at Kongsvinger tattoo studio.
I now don’t do any walk in trade, just my own loyal
following of customers and people recommended by them. I work by appointment
I try to make every tattoo I do unique for each customer,
80% of my work is freehand.
I work in other mediums here and there, when time allows. I
would like to spend more time painting but rarely get the opportunity as
tattooing takes up a majority of my time.Please visit my website for more information. www.seanzeek.com
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