Hyperrealistic Tattooed Paintings at The Keep

Jackee Sandelands-Strom

Storytelling through hands, Jack Sandelands-Strom has spent the last several years mastering her hyper-realistic paintings in Edinburgh, Scotland at the tattoo studio The Keep. Originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota with dual citizenship from her British father and American mother. Over four years ago she made the move with her husband, Tom Strom after her children graduated high school and went off to college. Initially the couple started in the Netherlands then ventured forward and moved to England while taking trips to Scotland, occasionally. The architecture, history and landscapes kept pulling them towards Scotland where they finally decided to plant their roots. Oh and don’t forget the whiskey!


“Tom and I have found a couple whiskey bars in Edinburgh that I absolutely adore.  Usquabae, The Diggers and Scotch Malt Whiskey Society are where we go when we want to go out.  Oddly enough I did not like whiskey when we were in America, but after learning more about it here and going on some tastings, I have realized it’s my favorite drink.  To the point that I love including a nice whiskey in a beautiful glass in my paintings, and I plan on doing more of them.” – Jackee

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Life at the KEEP, Edinburgh

Whiskey + Teacups
Cigarettes & Tattoos

The studio I co-own with Tom and a friend, Elliott Wells, in Edinburgh is called The Keep.  We opened our studio together this summer.  Prior to that I was working out of my home studio for years.  I really love working in the tattoo environment.  For starters it is really great having some social time during the day, when I worked at home it was a lot of hours of only having my dog, Marshmallow, for company.  While she is adorable, the silence got a little old.  My work is obviously very influenced by the tattoo industry and being able to be a part of it more often is very satisfying and inspiring.


Be patient!  I paint pretty much exclusively with acrylics now and the only thing that changed and made me finally start enjoying them after years of trying was patience.  Work slow, give yourself time to finish.  Don’t feel like you need to complete a painting in a night.  The paintings I do take weeks to get almost finished, then I let them sit around for more weeks until I see what else needs to be done on them.  I don’t worry about the hours in to it as it doesn’t ultimately matter.

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