Sea Shepherd’s artistic director, Geert Vons, devised the project and will serve as the studio’s principle tattooist. Geert has worked with the charity for years and spent time onboard Sea Shepherd ships that were assigned to the Antarctic Ocean. During these stints, Vons tattooed his fellow shipmates and developed a distinctive style that combines nautical themes with tribal motifs. Aside from inking other members of Sea Shepherd, Vons has also designed many of the organisation’s most eye-catching graphics, including their current logo and Jolly Roger flag.
Vons began organising tattoo sessions on dry land in early 2018 and put together a studio inside Sea Shepherd’s store near Amsterdam’s Museumplein. Rather than profiting from this project, Vons decided to use his tattooing talents to generate funds for Sea Shepherd and transfers every penny the studio makes from inking sessions directly into the charity’s coffers.
As the studio only uses ink and materials that are made from vegan ingredients and haven’t been tested on animals, tattoo enthusiasts can get inked safe in the knowledge that they aren’t buying into industries that exploit animals. The studio welcomes ideas from clients, but recommends that people base their designs around nautical or oceanic themes, as these types of tattoos match up well with Geert Vons’ personal style.
Sea Shepherd was founded by former Greenpeace member Paul Watson in 1977 and employs a fleet of ships to disrupt whaling, sealing and fishing operations that breach international marine conservation laws. They have conducted many high-profile campaigns over the years and famously appeared in a documentary created by Animal Planet called Whale Wars, which followed Sea Shepherd’s efforts to stop Japanese whaling in the Antarctic.