Cleen Rock One is a highly esteemed figure within the tattoo industry, having garnered widespread recognition, rising to prominence through his participation in the reality show “Ink Master”. The veteran tattoo artist has played a pivotal role in bringing artists and enthusiasts closer than ever before, noteworthy for his appearances in seasons five, seven, and nine, Cleen ultimately clinched victory in the 11th season of the competition.
Beyond his triumphs in the tattoo realm, Cleen is a multifaceted entrepreneur, being the proprietor of Golden Skull Tattoo, Nevada Tattoo Company, Cleen Supply Co, and Chrome Gypsy Tattoo.
Additionally, he shares his passion for automobiles on Instagram, giving fans a closer look at the cars he loves most.
Whether you’re a dedicated tattoo enthusiast or a fan of Cleen Rock One, stay tuned as we delve deeper into the artist’s life and career, providing a comprehensive look into what makes him tick.
Early Personal Life
Born on 6 August 1977, in Illinois, USA, Cleen Rock One, whose real name is James Steinke, hails from Elgin, where he spent his entire childhood with his parents, about whom he remains tight-lipped, choosing to keep them away from the media’s scrutiny. There is no information about any siblings, leading to the belief that he’s an only child.
After having a relatively ordinary childhood in Elgin, James didn’t develop a passion for tattoos until the age of 12. It was during this time that he started noticing people on the streets with ink. Given his pre-existing talent in drawing, he decided to venture into the world of tattooing.
James got his inaugural tattoo at the age of 16, inspired by Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea. Although he persuaded his mother for the first one, he didn’t get his second tattoo until several years later.
Upon completing high school, James chose not to pursue college, but instead directed his efforts towards realizing his ambition of becoming a tattoo artist.
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At the age of 21, James kicked off his career journey by opening his own tattoo shop in Illinois. With unwavering dedication, he worked tirelessly every day, honing his skills and steadily gaining recognition in his hometown.
Over time, James’s success blossomed, leading him to own and operate three acclaimed tattoo shops in the US: Nevada Tattoo, Golden Skull, and Chrome Gypsy.
His reputation as a sought-after tattoo artist soared, particularly after gaining popularity on the internet through his participation in the fifth season of the “Ink Master” reality TV show. Although he didn’t clinch victory, James secured the runner-up position to Jason Clay Dunn.
Undeterred by the relative setback, James returned for the show’s seventh season, though victory eluded him once again.
Rumours circulated about him winning the 2018 “Ink Master” competition, but these were later proven false. Despite being a highly skilled tattoo artist, James has yet to claim victory in any competitions.
“Ink Master,” a reality competition television series from the US, initially premiered on Paramount Network before transitioning to the Paramount+ Streaming service. The show is also available 24/7 on the Pluto app, boasting a dedicated channel exclusively for its content. The inaugural season debuted on 17 January 2012, setting the stage for an engaging and competitive tattooing spectacle.
Guided by the charismatic host Dave Navarro, the judging panel, including Oliver Peck and Chris Nunez, determines the fate of contestants in each episode, ultimately culminating in the selection of a season winner.
Tattoo artists showcase their skills in various challenges, facing scrutiny from esteemed judges within the tattooing community. With one or more contestants eliminated in each episode, the last standing artist receives not only the coveted title of Ink Master, but also a grand prize of $100,000 and a feature in Inked Magazine.
“Ink Master” has expanded its influence with four spin-off shows: “Ink Shrinks,” “Ink Master: Grudge Match,” “Ink Master: Angels,” and “Ink Master: Redemption.” The series has also presented special standalone episodes, often themed around upcoming events or holidays such as Halloween, contributing to its enduring popularity.
With nearly two decades of experience under his belt, James recently expanded his footprint by opening a new tattoo shop in Las Vegas. His talent and expertise have earned him recognition throughout the US.
James also actively engages with his fans on various popular social media platforms. He created his Twitter account in March 2011, amassing a following of over 38,000 and sharing his thoughts and updates through his tweets. On Instagram, James has garnered a substantial audience, with almost 100,000 followers captivated by his visual content. Additionally, he maintains a Facebook page that boasts a substantial following of nearly 105,000 individuals, further expanding his reach and influence in the digital realm.
While tattoos stand as James’s primary passion, his array of talents and interests extends beyond the art of ink. In his leisure time, James demonstrates a profound love for animals, particularly his two furry companions whose names remain undisclosed. He occasionally treats his Instagram followers to glimpses of these four-legged friends and recently shared how they provided solace during his challenging divorce.
Beyond his affinity for animals, James is an avid enthusiast of motorcycles, having owned and switched several over the years. His penchant for change leads him to sell a motorcycle when the thrill wanes, promptly buying another one.
Additionally, he indulges in his passion for vintage cars, actively participating in local car and motorcycle events. James generously shares snapshots of his prized automobiles on his social media accounts, allowing fans to join him in celebrating his diverse interests.
Later Personal Life
While James values his privacy, some details about his personal life have become known due to his popularity. Although he’s chosen not to publicly discuss his ex-wife, it’s acknowledged that he has been married.
Allegedly meeting in 2002, the couple exchanged vows two years later, and became parents to two children. Their marriage concluded in 2007, and despite James maintaining discretion about this chapter of his life, reports suggest he maintains amicable relations with his ex-wife and children.
Presently, James is in a relationship with Megan Jean Morris, also a tattoo artist. The two first crossed paths while competing in the “Ink Master” reality TV show.
After about a month they started dating, and have remained a couple since. While they appear content in their relationship, there hasn’t been any indication of immediate plans for marriage or discussions about starting a family together.
James is a guy of average height at 5ft 8ins (172cms) and weighs about 143lbs (65kgs). He has brown hair and sports a beard these days. His eyes are blue.
James has worked hard to stand out as a tattoo artist, making a name for himself in the industry. As a result, he’s made a lot modest fortune. As of early 2024, his estimated net worth is $2 million.