Deb Yarian on Zeke Owen

I saw him before I found out who he was.

A striking figure of a man… He was movie star handsome with the physique of a boxer.
It was 1980.  I was 21 and tattooing at a friend’s shop in Daytona Beach, Fla.
We weren’t introduced but when I was told who he was, his imposing physical presence equaled the reputation that preceded him.

Zeke’s name dominated tattooing for much of the latter part of the 20th century.  An iconic figure and a forefather of American tattooing.  If you know the names Sailor Jerry, Ed Hardy and Mike Malone you should know the name Zeke Owen.

Sadly, Zeke is in a nursing home now and has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
His family is asking for the tattoo community’s help to cover medical expenses.

They have set up an account to help with his needs and care.  If you are willing and able to help please go to

My husband Don and I had the great fortune to interview him a few years ago at our shop in Alaska.
If you would like to learn about Zeke’s amazing tattoo journey you can read about it in issue #39 of Tam.

Thank you for your help!


This Month of January, TAM will donate 30% of sales of issue 39th to assist Zeke!

Zeke has done a lot for tattooing, and he needs the community’s support. Please give what you can, and spread the word!

TAM issue 39

Get TAM Issue 39 Today and Help Support Zeke!




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