Protecting the ecosystem and species in the oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction. That is the mission of Sea Shepherd. In 2018, Geert Vons artistic director of Sea Shepherd Global and director of Sea Shepherd Netherlands, decided to open a tattoo shop in Amsterdam. Today we meet and Geert talks about the opening of his shop and why True-Light daylight lamps are indispensable in his studio. 

“Together with guest artists, I tattoo ocean-related designs in this shop to raise money for campaigns,” Geert tells. “I've been making art since I was little and thought it would be a good idea to go to art school. I soon realized that artists see and make things in their own way and that the academy was not a good match. That’s why I decided to study sinology, where I immersed myself in alternative medicine, Eastern cultures and traditional tattoo arts.”

Volunteer for Sea Shepherd
“I first read an article about Sea Shepherd in a German magazine in a bar. The story really appealed to me, and I decided to send a letter to the organization in which I indicated that I wanted to help by donating my artwork. I started volunteering for Sea Shepherd and after completing my studies, I started working full-time for the organization. Around the same time, I went to a tattoo shop to get a tattoo. Me and the artist got talking and I showed him my art. He really liked my drawings, asked if I wanted to work in his shop and taught me the skills of the craft. But in 2009 I became the permanent director of Sea Shepherd and was forced to stop tattooing.”

Making a difference by acting from feeling
“In 2018 I got the chance to connect this tattoo shop to Sea Shepherd. I saw it as an opportunity to fund campaigns and make people aware of the problems in the oceans through art. You can talk about environmental problems, but I am convinced that you can make a difference by acting from feeling. For example, this year marks 200 years since a Cachalot won the battle against whalers. To celebrate this victory, Sea Shepherd collaborated with the London Tattoo Convention and called on tattoo artists to design an ocean related tattoo. We’ve bound together the designs in the book ‘Victory of the Wale’ and with the earnings, we continue the fight to save our oceans.”

Daylight panels are an asset
“When I bought this shop, the lighting was very poor. I kept screwing around, because I was working in my own shadow and didn't have enough natural light. Through Tattooland, I found out that daylight lamps existed. A lighting consultant from came by and gave me good advice. My daylight LED panels are a real asset, because I no longer have to work in my own shadow, I don’t need directed light anymore and I see the right ink colors very well. The guest artists are also really enthusiastic about the daylight lamps. They say it’s very pleasant to work under daylight lamps and that the LED panels looks like skylights.”

Future plans
“Creating, making connections and thinking outside the box is what I like about my work. I am determined to achieve our goals and fight for what I stand for. People and nature are growing apart more and more, while we as humans are part of the earth and its ecosystem. We should take care of it and I am convinced that I get back what I radiate. As long as I can make a difference by engaging people in a unique and positive way and raising awareness of environmental destruction, I will continue to do so.”

Would you like to know more about Sea Shepherd, what difference you can make or do you want to support Sea Shepherd by getting a tattoo from Geert? Check out the website:

The LED panels in the photos: 36 watt LED panel 60x60 cm

Text: Elise Spiering