Norman Keith Collins (1911 - 1973) was an American tattoo artist also known as "Sailor Jerry".Collins was born on January 14, 1911 in Reno, Nevada. As a child, he hopped freight trains across the country and learned tattoing from a man named Tatts Thomas, who is credited for showing him how to use tattoo machines. Practicing on drifters, he later sailed the Pacific Ocean before settling in Hawaii. A big brute with a dirty mouth, he often wore plain white T-shirts that exposed his ink-sleeved arms. Mike Malone, who took over Sailor Jerry's shop after he died, described Jerry as "a class-A pirate."
At age 19, Collins enlisted in the US Navy. It was during his subsequent travels at sea when he was exposed to the art and imagery of Southeast Asia. He remained a sailor for his entire life thereafter. Even during his career as a tattoo artist, he worked as a licensed skipper of a large three-masted schooner, on which he conducted tours of the Hawaiian islands.