We catch up with the resident artist who runs his tattoo and art business from a self contained studio on the west wing of the DOCUMENT warehouse. Bristol born and raised, Sepr’s Swiss army knife of skills spans everything from tattooing to creating impressive giant pieces of street art. Walking into his studio you can see every segment of his creativity, with one side adorned with illustrations and gig posters – created for massive acts like the Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. On the opposite side there are organised spray cans that are ready to go at a moment’s notice. And centre stage: the tattoo chair with views of the leafy vistas and sprawling St Jude’s area. We catch up with Shaun Sepr to find out what it’s like running a creative studio from DOCUMENT.
How did you discover DOCUMENT?
“Me, Mikey 3dom and Stew Paton ran a tattoo shop together and all moved out during lock down. Mikey came here first and eventually this studio was available so I jumped at the chance. It’s been perfect. Everyone is doing their own thing and I’m happy to focus on what I’m doing here. Doing this with a tattooist friend nearby is great as there’s always support there if I need it. So far everyone is really sound. It’s a bit quieter on this side of the building.”
How do you find the space?
“The size of this studio is perfect for me and the fact that I’ve got a messier side for illustration and painting, and then the clean/sterile side for tattooing is great. The people that run DOCUMENT are amazing and a really cool bunch. I’ve had loads of studios and they are the easiest to get along with. Everyone is great, and approachable – no egos.”
So you’re Bristol born and bred…
“Yeah, I grew up in Filton. I try and get away and work all over whenever I can but I’ve always been based here.”
Amazing, so do you exhibit?
“I’m just getting back into doing exhibition work. I’ve got an upcoming group show with Alex Lucas, Billy, and Andy Bourne coming up at Moor Beer Brewery, Bristol- early June till mid July.. Then I’m planning to go to Japan with Inkie again to do some exhibitions. After that, I’ll hopefully get a solo show together to travel with very soon .”
Tell us about the gig posters and the people you work with…
“It’s a real variety, I’ve worked with bigger bands like Foo Fighters, Melvins and Queens of the Stone Age and I also create posters for more diverse bands no one’s heard of that I really like, if I’m lucky this will often allow me to travel too.”
With your tattoos, I know that people specialise in different areas like dot work and sacred geometry, is there anything you’re drawn to?
“I try to do more based character work, like the stuff I paint on walls and canvases. But with tattooing I’m also happy collaborating with what people want, later on today I’m tattooing my sister for her birthday and she wants a cowboy hat! As well as tattooing, I do illustration work and paint murals; they’re all in a similar style really, just done in different mediums”
What was your route into tattooing?
“I did a tattoo apprenticeship and I’m glad I did it that way – so many people do it privately now – Bristol has gone crazy for tattoos, it’s hard to keep up…”
Tell me about your first tattoo?
“It’s never too late but the first one is the hardest one! Everyone puts a lot of emphasis on how important it is. I had one on my stomach and back…they become part of your furniture pretty quickly though. I was in a band full time till my early 20s, then I did art stuff full time and tattooing was eventually the one that had a proper routine and more reliable income.”
What do you love about Bristol?
“It’s just a pretty welcoming scene and a lot of the artists and musicians I grew up being into when I was younger have become friends of mine. That’s quite unique to Bristol. There’s a lot of opportunity, especially with painting and graffiti – there’s a lot of other places where you couldn’t get away with stuff like people do here. The more people move here, the more opportunities come up.”
Sepr’s three artists to check out:
Follow @Sepr on Instagram
Head down to Moor Brewery Bristol to check out Sepr’s work, exhibition showing till mid-July 2023.
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