tattoo

An Original, Original  – InkedMag


Located on the Sunset Strip, Mark Mahoney’s Shamrock Social Club might be best described as a place where the elite and the underworld meet. A hangout for his celebrity friends, or a drop-in for anyone looking to ink an occasion with his classic black and gray aesthetic. The shop might as well be a confessional as those who sit and listen to his calm, cool drawl call him “Priest.”

The first time he walked into a tattoo shop at 14 years old, he knew he wanted to spend his life as a tattoo artist. The look, smell, artwork, and groups of outsiders always appealed to him.

“I was always attracted to counterculture,” Mahoney said.

Born and raised near Boston, Mahoney left art school in the mid-70s with his eye on Manhattan. He spent time tattooing bikers and outlaws before he met his people at the Chelsea Hotel. He once beat up a member of the Ramones at CBGB, and got stoned with William Burroughs and Allen Ginsburg before seeing his friend Nancy Spungen off to London. When she came back, she brought Sid Vicious.

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He moved to LA in 1980 and made friends with punk rockers and gangbangers. He ran with movie stars and musicians, and shot dope with intellectuals and degenerates. He’s a dying breed of 100% true originals and calls Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga, and Lana Del Rey friends.

He landed roles in a few movies, including playing a cool, Catholic, well-dressed man of many talents — not much of a stretch from his roots when he looked up to local heroes, gangs, and villains in his neighborhood. He thought about the priesthood as a young man, saying his prayers, following most rules, and trying to live up to expectations as a New England-born boy who loved motorcycles, leather jackets, and greasers from car magazines.

Most people will tell you his reputation and caring spirit extend beyond the famous to the infamous and unfamous alike. His shop is like a clubhouse for anyone looking to mark the good, bad, and ugly chapters of their lives. Mahoney sets the blueprint of what is cool and is a muse for creatives all over the world. If you’ve been in a tattoo shop recently, it’s probably built around the framework he and his colleagues laid down in the past half-century.

After almost 50 years of work, he routinely visits and catches up with old friends, even tattooing their children and grandchildren — imparting wisdom on ways to connect, meet likeminded people, sit, listen, and talk. “I think they keep coming back because I give a fuck,” Mahoney said. “Their pain is my pain; their joy is my joy.”

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The shop is decorated with images of hope and faith: relics of a time gone by, a quote overlooked, and a tribute to his Catholic upbringing. Faith plays a big role in his life, and he never gives up on the idea — putting all his trust and confidence into something underground, misunderstood, and illegal until not that long ago.

Mahoney has a lot of reasons to love his job. His shop is in the middle of Hollywood, along one of the most iconic strips in the world. He spends time with people who kept coming back and are now lifelong friends. He goes to work every day, does his job, and makes a living, but doesn’t consider himself an artist and isn’t concerned with the art side of his pursuits. He sees his single-needle, black-and-gray designs the same as he sees black-and-white photography or movies: an idea etched in time that gets softer and more beautiful. 

“I think black and gray ages more gracefully,” Mahoney said. “It has more drama to it.”

The clubhouse moved from its original location to 1114 Horn Ave in West Hollywood, just down the strip. Mahoney also started a clothing line called the Shamrock Social Club Collective that features his original designs screen printed on classic styles, the type of clothing you might expect anyone to wear in a tattoo shop.

Mahoney continues to keep tattoos affordable for everyone, not opting for a private studio and thousand-dollar designs. He’s still a modest tattooer inspired by the beauty he sees all around him. He believes in friendships, family, and the power to connect with clients over the good times, hard times, and everything in between.

“Tattoos are a joint effort,” Mahoney said. “Connection is the most important part.”

Don’t let the alligator shoes and vintage Cadillacs fool you — Mahoney believes in the power of connection; it’s what keeps him coming back. He’s one of the original outsiders, teaching the next generation and beyond about the power of being yourself, staying true, and authentic, and not following trends. When you lived through the 70s punk scene, the obnoxiousness of the 80s, and the death of originality, you look for what’s real, with true friends.

Appointments can be made by contacting the Shamrock Social Club at 310-271-9664. There is a bit of a waitlist, but you can expect the highest quality work, the finest conversation, and, if you’re up for it, a place to confess all your sins. Then, just sit back, watch a master, pay your respects, and believe in that power that faith brought you together with the Godfather.

The Notorious Renaissance – InkedMag


In the realm of modern-day prize fighters, one name reigns supreme: Conor McGregor. As McGregor embarks on his latest adventure in Hollywood, stepping into the villainous role of Knox in Road House with characteristic aplomb, he brings a wealth of experience and passion. With his chiseled physique, steely gaze, and undeniable charisma, McGregor electrifies audiences, making a smashing mark on the silver screen.

McGregor’s aura doesn’t end with his tattoos or legendary UFC stats. From the iconic tiger sprawled across his abdomen to intricate designs adorning his arms, McGregor’s ink goes beyond body art, a visual tribute to his journey and unyielding spirit.

What makes his leap from the ring to the reel so intriguing? It’s more than the mere allure of a cool celebrity crossover. It’s a testament to the ever-evolving landscape of entertainment, where boundaries between sport, entertainment, and lifestyle blur to transcend convention. His journey from the gritty streets of Dublin to the glitz of Hollywood speaks volumes about the power of unflinching self-belief. Buckle up and brace yourself as McGregor unleashes his inimitable brand of magic.

SP: Your journey from MMA fighter to cast of Road House is remarkable given your working-class Dublin street-cred roots. I’m sure you have turned down multiple movie roles in favor of this robust opportunity to remake an iconic film. What did Director Doug Liman say to you to get you fired up?

CM: Doug and producer Joel Silver presented the total package. First off, I’m a big fan of Patrick Swayze and the original Road House. Hearing Jake Gyllenhaal was involved, alongside Billy Magnussen, that really pricked my ears up — the opportunity to join an amazing cast. Shooting in the Dominican Republic, with the backing of Amazon Prime and MGM Studios —that was a big draw too. Then there was sheer lucky timing. [I was] recovering from an injury from my last contest, so I had time off to allow for the shoot.

SP: As someone known for their fierce competitiveness, how did you temper down your inherent “alpha-ness” to embrace collaborative engagement with castmates?

CM: We had an amazing team that encouraged me to add my flair in the right places. That was key. Action director and stunt coordinators Garrett Warren and Steve Brown gave us lots of free reign — they laid the foundations and the bricks, then we added our own throttle and drama to it. They were so receptive and gave us so much confidence with doing that, that we continued to evolve the action sequences every step of the way.

CONOR MCGREGOR stars in ROAD HOUSE Photo: LAURA RADFORD © AMAZON CONTENT SERVICES LLC

SP: Road House is a beloved cult classic. Tell us about a meaningful scene that made it into the final cut — where you feel you truly embodied the Knox character.

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CM: Right off the jump, busting into the roadhouse, I wanted to establish the character in an impactful way. Each time I added a layer to this “man about his business,” and I had a clear objective. You know it’s all business and pleasure with Knox, and that was really fun to play up in key scenes.

SP: Jake’s take on Dalton is much more philosophical than just a guy with a moral compass. In the original, Dalton is a bouncer with a sense of justice. How do you think Swayze’s 1989 rendition of Dalton would fare in 2024?

CM: Jeez, not so well. He probably wouldn’t last too long. This is why you see a more complex, sinister side of Dalton. Total credit to Doug Liman for reimagining this character for a new generation. It wasn’t written in the script this way; the Dalton character evolved as we shot, deepening as Doug got a sense of the way Jake and I amplified the conflict when we went head-to-head. Doug suddenly saw a wild look in Jake’s eyes that he wanted to draw out more, exploring darker shades. I was fascinated by this, that the mood could veer off in interesting directions based on chemistry the director sees on set.

SP: That must have been cathartic, sensing the movable feast of a moment on set. The film industry often requires actors to undergo physical transformations for roles. Since you didn’t have to “get ripped” for Road House, what out-of-your-comfort-zone challenge would you welcome leaning into for a deeper acting role? Singing, surfing, dancing, drumming… anything come to mind?

CM: I’m open to it all. My life experiences lend well to any role. I look at my life and feel I’m so far removed from reality at times, so why wouldn’t I give a new challenge a shot? Sometimes I feel like I’m an animal in the zoo, you know? No one really knows the real Conor. They’ve got estimations and assumptions, but that’s it. Let’s see what happens. Maybe more acting projects down the line, but right now it’s back to the fight game for me.

SP: When I saw how intricate, visceral, and “full send” the Road House fight sequences played out, I was gobsmacked, thinking… this is how McGregor gets over an injury? Ironically, your UFC trainer has to “protect you from fake fighting” in order for you to crush it on your return to the octagon. Were there any specific stunts that your trainer or attorney forbade you from engaging in on the set of Road House?

CM: No, nothing was officially off-limits. I do all my own stunts.

SP: Seriously? Even enduring simulated body blows and leg sweeps? Would you say you did 50 or 60% of the stunts that made it to the final cut?

CM: I’d say 98%. I was pretty much healed from the injury, but not to the point of returning to competition. The only thing they wouldn’t let me do was the scene where I fell backward down a flight of stairs.

SP: I’m glad they drew the line at the catastrophic stair crush.

CM: On the heavy fight choreography days, they had stunt doubles standing by at the ready. I just really didn’t think the guys looked like me, so I did it myself.

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SP: I suppose that’s your “quality control” on the image and likeness front.

CM: Exactly. I was invested in the outcome at every stage.

SP: I assumed a team of lawyers would have had a list of 20 things that you’re forbidden to do.

CM: They do have a short list, but not for what happens on movie sets.

SP: You have come of age in the UFC arena — rewritten the rules and broken ceiling after perceived ceiling. After such a long and storied association with the league, straight up, what’s your take on Dana White?

CM: Height of respect for Dana. No Dana White, no UFC. He was all in — the boots-on-the-ground foot soldier working 24/7 from inception to rise and is still very hands-on as CEO.

SP: Your animalistic hype screams are legendary and rally up your most loyal fans. To me, it sounds like one part saber tooth tiger to two parts silverback gorilla. What hybrid beast or primal energy are you channeling in that moment?

CM: Gorillas! Check out my upper chest tat. This is my beast mode — my gym’s logo is my version of a gorilla. Straight up, when the silverback sounds, I’m gonna throw down. I channeled this famous image of a Siberian tiger diving for meat when we filmed the insane speedboat fight scene in the Atlantic Ocean. There’s a moment when I have to dive right down, practically into the camera lens to get that effect.

SP: I bet that scene got a visceral reaction at the South by Southwest premiere.

CM: They let out a roar for that one, yeah. Boom!

SP: The Dominican Republic has pretty solid nightlife options. Share memorable behind-the-scenes male bonding moments with co-stars Jake, Billy, and Post Malone that filming fans may get a kick out of.

CM: The most memorable bonding for me was the afterparty at SXSW. That was just wild; we partied till dawn. I made compadres for life on this movie. That we’re all in it together is the most powerful part of it all.

SP: Tell us about the temporary tattoos you sported for this movie. How did the special effects ink help get you into character?

CM: It helped greatly, you know, psychologically, in terms of embodying this hard-as-nails badass. An hour and a half in the chair every day on set, and “Knock-Knox” became the big thing. I actually love the character’s tattoos. The back tattoo was very cool.

SP: As one of the most-followed UFC fighters on social media with more than 70 million followers, what do you consider the most meaningful purpose that you used your social media platform for?

CM: Showing people a positive outlook on life, despite what you’re facing. For me, it’s about promoting positivity. You know, fun and happiness. I try to show fans a glimpse of my life.

Truly Painless Tattoos – InkedMag


Tattoos have become exponentially popular over the past few years, with people seeking unique and meaningful ways to express themselves. While the process of getting a tattoo typically involves some discomfort, an emerging trend has caught the attention of both enthusiasts and skeptics alike—going under anesthesia for a painless tattoo experience. This article will explore the concept of using anesthesia during tattoo procedures, discussing its pros, cons, and the potential risks involved. We went to Artem Bor, a CRNA, MSN, APRN of Elite Anesthesia Ink and Romeo Lacoste, a world renown tattooer of The California Dream Tattoo Shop for their input on the matter.

Understanding Anesthesia 

Anesthesia is a medical technique that aims to induce a temporary state of unconsciousness or numbness to relieve pain during surgical or medical procedures. It involves the use of various medications, often administered by an anesthesiologist, to achieve the desired effect. While anesthesia is commonly used in major surgeries, its application in the context of tattoos raises ethical and safety concerns.

Artem Bor (CRNA, MSN, APRN) of Elite Anesthesia Ink explains that client safety is their top priority. They predominantly use moderate IV sedation anesthesia. With moderate IV sedation, the client is in deep sleep, breathing spontaneously with supplemental oxygen. Bor continues that they utilize American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) standard monitors, including continuous EKG, oxygen blood saturation and blood pressure, and continuous vigilance from a professional, licensed anesthesia provider who continually watches and monitors the client.

Before going under, clients must complete and pass a pre-anesthesia/medical clearance. Based on the client’s clearance and ASA score, Bor’s team then determines the safest anesthesia for the client. In some cases, clients with an overweight BMI may not handle sedation well, requiring general anesthesia—this is when the anesthesia provider assists with breathing. Bor delineates that his team prefers to use MAC anesthesia—this is when the client is deep asleep and breathing spontaneously. The American Society of Anesthesiologists offers a detailed chart that Bor and his team refer to in order to ensure their client(s) aren’t falling into the categories that prohibit them from being placed under anesthesia. If the client does fall into these categories, they are considered “high risk” and are not eligible for the service and ultimately will not be able to use it.

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The Appeal of Painless Tattoos 

Pain tolerance varies from person to person, and while many individuals embrace the pain as part of the tattoo process, others find it unbearable. The appeal of painless tattoos through anesthesia lies in the promise of a comfortable and stress-free experience. When the area is numbed, the procedure can be performed without any significant discomfort, allowing individuals with low pain thresholds or medical conditions to enjoy the benefits of body art. We asked Romeo Lacoste what he thought about the stigma of being tattooed under anesthesia as “taking the easy way” and he responded with, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there is probably something to learn from those who work so hard to afford these sorts of luxuries. If you can afford the additional cost for anesthesia, be healthy enough to endure the procedure and healing process, I honestly don’t see why anyone else’s opinion would matter.”

Lacoste maintains that tattooing clients under anesthesia is something that sets him and his team apart from others in the tattoo industry. He’s never been one to concern himself with what “the norm” is or what everyone else is doing. Lacoste continues that he personally would have never achieved a fraction of what he has in his career if he simply followed what the next artist or shop was doing. With that being said, this sort of collaboration has proven to be quite fulfilling for him and his team. He feels it might be an unpopular opinion in tattooing, but together everyone can achieve more. Furthermore, Lacoste states it’s “truly rewarding when you work with others towards a common goal. We all get the credit in a collaborative way and when you’re doing something like this with the right people, it is enough.”

Timing and Limitations 

The first thought one may have in regard to getting a tattoo under anesthesia is, “how long?” How long can you be under, how long is too long, how short is too short, are there any issues with either? Bor gave us an anesthesiologist’s insight on the best timeframes and options. He simply states that there is no limit to the amount of tattooing when the client is asleep. From an anesthesiologist’s point of view, what matters is the duration of time the client is under anesthesia.

For example, by law in the state of Florida, a client cannot be anesthetized for more than eight hours in an outpatient setting (surgery center). Any procedure requiring anesthesia for over eight hours must be done in a hospital setting. At Elite Anesthesia Ink, they provide anesthesia services for a maximum of eight hours. Alternatively, Bor stated that they can also safely and easily provide anesthesia for as little as a one-hour session. But when it comes to the payment aspect, Bor clarified that unfortunately, the logistics (for a one-hour session) are not profitable for their company financially. This is something he said they’re working on, but for the time being, they must charge for a four-hour minimum, the justification being for the logistics of the medical center and anesthesia team setup. It takes time to evaluate a client, obtain clearance, set up an anesthesia plan, have an anesthesia provider, recovery team, etc. As of right now, getting tattooed under anesthesia continues to be a luxury of the opulent.

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Safety Concerns and Precautions 

  1. Choosing Qualified Professionals: Anesthesia-assisted tattoo procedures should only be performed by licensed and experienced medical professionals, such as anesthesiologists or nurse anesthetists, collaborating with skilled tattoo artists.
  2. Comprehensive Medical Evaluation: Individuals considering anesthesia for their tattoos must undergo a thorough medical evaluation to assess their suitability and identify any potential contraindications.
  3. Informed Consent: Prior to the procedure, individuals must fully understand the risks, benefits and alternatives associated with anesthesia-assisted tattoos, giving informed consent based on their own judgment.

The Importance of Proper Aftercare 

After receiving an anesthesia-assisted tattoo, proper aftercare becomes crucial. The recovery process may differ from traditional tattoos, and individuals must follow the given instructions meticulously to avoid complications such as infection or delayed healing.

During our interview, Bor commented that with regard to healing and amount of area covered, their establishment does not recommend, for example, a full-body suit done in eight hours. Bor continues that this would cause the body to have a challenging recovery with increased risks of stress, infection, etc. because the area that is healing is so large. Instead, they partner directly with the client, tattoo artist, and anesthesia team to decide the safest amount of ink/time per session. This decision is highly individualized and tailored to each client.

Furthermore, Bor explains that a tattoo is considered “an open skin wound” and that anesthesia IV sedation (the method they use) doesn’t affect the healing process and helps with pain management during the tattoo process. Elite Anesthesia Ink provides specific instructions for proper aftercare as well as what to expect during the healing process. Below are examples of recovery expectations:

   – Expect significant swelling, bruising, and tenderness for the first 3-5 days.

   – Use ice packs to help reduce swelling.

   – Take over-the-counter pain medication as directed to manage discomfort, avoiding aspirin which can increase bleeding.

These are just a few examples. If you already have tattoos, then you understand that these guidelines are exactly what you follow while healing any tattoo, showing us that going under anesthesia for a tattoo doesn’t necessarily affect the healing process as some have previously thought.

The trend of going under anesthesia to get a tattoo offers a novel solution for those who find the pain unbearable or have medical conditions preventing them from undergoing traditional tattooing methods. While it comes with advantages such as pain management and increased accessibility, the use of anesthesia in tattooing also presents risks and ethical considerations. Ultimately, the decision to pursue anesthesia-assisted tattoos should be made after careful consideration, weighing the potential benefits against the associated risks, ensuring the involvement of qualified professionals, and prioritizing overall safety and wellbeing.

A Glimpse into the Future


Prior to the late 1990s, tattoo culture primarily existed on the outskirts of the mainstream. A badge of honor amongst sailors in the U.S. Navy and cultural subgroups, as well as an artistically rebellious symbol of expression for curators of punk, metal, goth music, and more. Subsequently, during the 2000s, the painfully enticing trend of getting inked transcended emo, hip-hop, the NBA, Hollywood, and the corporate world. Near the turn of the 2020s, a number of tech companies began implementing inventive ways of tatting up their clientele with new software, 3D tattooing, eco-friendly methods, and more. In November, Blackdot, a tech company based in Austin, Texas, introduced the “V1 Device” as part of a game-changing initiative that also includes an online tattoo marketplace where consumers can purchase signature designs from entrepreneurial-minded artists all over the world. Blackdot’s V1 Device generates body art in high definition, utilizing an unprecedented technique that serves as a fresh alternative to modern wireless tattoo machines and traditional hand-tapping methods. The future is here. But, according to the company’s CEO/Founder Joel Pennington, it should not deter tattoo enthusiasts and artists who view the time-honored process as a rite of passage.

“Blackdot is not a substitute for the experience found by way of various traditional tattooing methods,” explained Pennington. “Instead, Blackdot offers an entirely different tattooing experience; it’s an interesting option for tattoo seekers looking for something new and forward-looking…The Blackdot device can be thought of as a futuristic stick-and-poke device whereby each dot that we tattoo is intentional…We use continuous suction for ink removal and are therefore able to tattoo without the need to wipe-think-tattoo-repeat.”

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Alongside Pennington at the forefront of the Blackdot technocentric movement is the company’s Chief Technology Officer Yan Azdoud. The pair of business partners met in 2017 after Pennington took on a mentorship role with a startup established by Azdoud called Project Canary. This experience gave Pennington an up close and personal view of Azdoud’s penchant for navigating scientific principles. It also sparked a resolution about how their ideals in the tech world could add a new dimension to the tattoo industry.

“After the three-month program, I debriefed with Yan Azdoud,” recalled Pennington. “Yan had a great deal of experience with hyper-elastic surfaces, medical devices, and mechanical design–he was uniquely qualified to help bring my vision to fruition.”

Shortly thereafter, Blackdot entered a developmental phase that lasted nearly half a decade. Two years into the stealth period, during the Summer of 2019, the company administered its first-ever tattoo on human skin. In addition to presenting Blackdot’s inaugural recipient with hi-res body art, Pennington wanted to ensure that the gift from his company also came with quality that would stand the test of time without the common necessity of tattoo retouching.

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“Our first human tattoo was executed on a gentleman named Chris Harvey,” Pennington said. “We then developed the first version of our automated tattooing device (the V1), followed by the commercially viable version we’re using today—the V1c… Blackdot is able to minimize the discomfort associated with tattooing. As for healing, we use a slim needle and do not tattoo deeper than necessary. We’ve conducted [more than 90] tattooing sessions over the past five years and have never caused bleeding or scarring.”

Today, Blackdot is fully operational with plans to expand to major U.S. cities like Los Angeles, New York, Miami, and Las Vegas. In recent years, these regions have hosted some of the biggest live events in sports entertainment, from Super Bowl LVI, WrestleMania 39, and Rolling Loud to ComicCon, EDC, and the Met Gala. During his exclusive interview with Inked Magazine, Pennington floated the idea of teaming up with notable fashion lines to provide attendees at similar affairs with customized body art ranging from the song lyrics of iconic recording artists to Marvel Comics’ sketches and skateboard decks from old-school skaters. For now, shoppers can purchase their next tattoos at the company’s flagship location in Austin, Texas, or remotely through the Blackdot Certified Artist Program. The BCA allows online shoppers to survey Flyway designs drawn by prominent visual artists such as Tyler Hobbs and other notable creators.

Kevin Rose, a California-based entrepreneur, recently stopped by Blackdot’s headquarters where he became one of the first costumers to procure Hobbs’ signature Flyway design. The on-camera session depicted the founder of Revision3 resting comfortably in an exam chair while the V1 Device tattooed the image of three birds on his inner right arm. As for the founder of Blackdot? Pennington suggested that the next time he is under the V1 Device, he will get a tattoo that combines the love of his youngest daughter, Naiya, with his admiration for the Smashing Pumpkins. Pennington and his staff met up with Jimmy Chamberlin and Jeff Schroeder from the two-time Grammy Award-winning band in the Winter of 2022 after being given backstage access. 

“I found myself sitting on the couch beside [Schroeder], a Pumpkins guitarist,” Pennington said. “I struck up a conversation and eventually asked if I might show him some tattoo designs made by my young daughter…His favorite was the dragon holding the guitar. He let me take a photo of him holding the drawing and signed the back of it. Naiya would be thrilled. I looked up to see my team was already chatting with [Chamberlin]…They were discussing how he might potentially be able to help Blackdot…I later showed [Chamberlin] Naiya’s designs and asked him the same question. He also went for the dragon holding the guitar and signed the back of it. Naiya’s drawing of a dragon holding a guitar, affectionately referred to as ‘The Pumpkins-approved tattoo,’ is likely my next tattoo.”

Blackdot was made with advanced technology. But if Joel Pennington’s company grows into a well-known commodity, it will likely be due to principles based on diversity, where everyday people and his kids have input just like his business partners and favorite Rock stars.

Dynamic Duos – InkedMag


When it comes to footwear, everyone has their favorite designers. But what happens when two of your favorite designers collaborate to create something entirely new?  Well, you don’t have to wonder. We’ve curated a collection of shoe designs from top names you’ll recognize, like Nike, Louis Vuitton, Tifffany & Co, Porsche, Prada, Gucci and more. While having one designer is great, having two of them pair up is even better.

 

Dior x Air Jordan 1 High

Introduced in 2020, this high-demand design was produced in limited quantities. Bridging the gap between street-ready sportswear and luxury fashion, the Dior x Air Jordan 1 High is drawn from a larger collaboration that spans footwear, apparel and accessories. Designer Kim Jones’ take on the iconic sneaker makes use of a white and grey upper constructed from Italian leather with hand-painted edges. Dual branding elements take the form of a Dior woven tongue tag, a Nike Swoosh in Dior Oblique jacquard, and icy outsoles revealing a Dior and Dior Wings logo on each shoe.

 

Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh

Designed by Virgil Abloh, former artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s ready-to-wear men’s line, this shoe was introduced at the French luxury fashion house’s Spring 2022 men’s runway show. This collaborative design is constructed with premium calf leather and features the luxury brand’s signature logos and prints. Abloh’s signature touches are also present on the sneakers, including the side tongue tag, text on the shoelaces and dual “Air” branding on the midsole.

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Nike x Tiffany & Co.

The Nike/Tiffany Air Force 1 1837 is crafted in premium black suede with a Tiffany Blue® Swoosh and archival Tiffany logo on the tongue. A foam midsole, rubber outsole and Tiffany Blue®-accented pivot points define the shoe, which comes with black rope laces as well as three pairs of flat laces in Tiffany Blue®, yellow and white. All Nike/Tiffany Air Force 1 1837 shoes arrive in a co-branded Tiffany Blue® box.

Comme des Garçons x Converse

Cool vintage style elevates a street-ready sneaker stamped with a peekaboo heart and set on a red sole. This collaboration between Comme des Garçons PLAY and Converse features classic Chucks styling with a playful, quirky twist—thanks to the imaginations of New York graphic artist Filip Pagowski and Comme des Garçon’s own designer Rei Kawakubo. The shoe has a removable insole, textile upper and lining and a synthetic sole.

 

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Porsche x PUMA “Icons of Fast”

Porsche and PUMA collaborated on this limited-edition shoe series inspired by the 911 Turbo to honor the sports car in a whole new way. To introduce the design, they launched “The World’s Fastest Sneaker Pre-Release” that lasted just 2.7 seconds, the 0-60 time of the 2021 Porsche 911 Turbo. The shoe is inspired by iconic design elements from the 911 Turbo, such as period-specific paint colors, rear wings and body lines.

 

Prada x adidas Superstar

The PRADA adidas Superstar first launched in 2019 alongside the Italian fashion house’s bowling bag, marking an historic moment for shoe collaborations. In 2020, the Superstar was launched in two colorways: the Core White/Core Black/Core White and the Core Black/Core Black/Core Black. The shoes are handmade in Italy in fine full grain leather and they feature the iconic rubber “shelltoe” with the iconic typography featured on the upper, tongue and insoles. 

 

Tom Sachs x Nike “Archive”

New York-based contemporary artist Tom Sachs designed this shoe based on his ongoing research into how “our bodies meet the ground.” The low-top design sports a yellow mesh upper with tonal suede overlays and a contrasting white Swoosh. Orange webbing tabs at the tongue and heel make it easy to put the shoes on and take them off. The cream-colored rubber midsole contains an EVA wedge for lightweight cushioning, while a black waffle-traction rubber outsole yields optimal grip. Marketed as a “General Purpose Shoe,” each pair comes in a box covered in Sachs’ signature hand-drawn doodles.

Adidas x Gucci “Gazelle”

The adidas Gazelle was introduced in several colorways, including pairs that feature snakeskin, suede, leather, Gucci-inspired prints and velvet G-monograms. Each pair sports semi-translucent gum rubber soles, Gucci branding on the lateral side, and co-branding on the tongue, heel and insoles. Other details include gold foil Gazelle text on the lateral panel and Gucci lace tips. Each pair comes with special packaging.

Lusso Cloud x Tattooing Legend Bert Krak

Bert Krak lends his signature style to the Pelli, Lusso’s signature shoe. The most versatile option in the lineup, the Pelli offers unmatched comfort, including its innovative Triple Stack Technology, which features three cushioning layers for excellent bounce back. It also contains a breathable performance mesh lining that is incredibly soft to the touch. Designed by tattooing legend Bert Krak, these shoes feature unique yet complementary asymmetrical designs on Pelli’s signature waffle knitting in a neutral beige hue. Each shoe is adorned with one of two of Krak’s captivating designs—either a snake with a bird or a vibrant flock of birds.

BIG POPA ARTS – InkedMag


As @bigpopa.arts at Bamboo Tattoo Studio in Toronto, Ontario, Enrik’s journey from the highlands of Albania to the vibrant streets of Canada is a story of passion, resilience, and artistic evolution. At just 24, he’s already leaving an indelible mark in the industry. In this exclusive interview, Enrik opens up about his artistic beginnings, his love for tattooing, and the unique challenges and joys of mastering black-and-grey realism. Join us as we delve into the world of this rising tattoo star.



Ink & Indulge – InkedMag


By Annie Stopak

Europe, like much of our world, is crawling with fast-paced urban energy. A continent best known for enchanting history and enlightened art, it’s no wonder it has evolved into a cherished home for creatives and small business owners alike. Anyone with an affinity for individualism and self-expression should keep reading to discover the five epicurean establishments that will surprise you with a fresh take on tattoo art. Whether it’s a distressed dive bar that’s practically oozing history from its decrepit walls, or an exquisite dining experience that will take you through a sensory journey amidst tattooed interiors, there’s so much to uncover. And even if body art isn’t your visual representation of choice, you will appreciate the novelty of simply imagining yourself perusing through these epic finds. 

Koï, Aix-en-Provence France

Koï is an Asian dining concept in Southern France that fuses fresh Japanese tradition with the culture’s beloved minimalist expression. Although you can’t actually receive a tattoo service here, you might be inspired for the design of your next one. Step into the heart of the historic city center of Aix en Provence where you will be greeted by a black and white fresco inspired by traditional Japanese tattoo art. Influenced by the legend of the carp, this floor-to-ceiling wall covering was reimagined by graphic artist, Claire Leina and depicts the transition of a freshwater fish into a dragon. Once inside, take in the gorgeous garden views from the open-concept dining area which reiterates a sense of calm. Hone your skills with an on-site Teppan workshop where you will be in awe of chef talents. Choose to dine on the open-air terrace while ingesting a savory tasting menu, or table d’hôte, formulated with intention by chef Philippe Segond. Or if you’d rather dine casually, you can settle in at the raw bar with a light aperitif or sip of sake.

Wisdomless, Rome Italy

Known for oddities and curiosities, Wisdomless is a bespoke cocktail club and tattoo parlor with old-world allure. Translated to “Without judgment, or even lightly” in English neologism, Wisdomless takes inspiration from a multitude of eras to create a peculiar yet highly-amusing experience. Defined by charming wood-paneled interiors that hint at the prohibition era, this Roman cocktail club is like a step back in time, relishing in the beauty of the adventurous spirit. Bookshelf details like human bones, daggers, and drinks unveil a life once led while tufted sofas bestow Victorian ornateness. Delight in signature sips that include whiskey variations, mezcal, and gin, like the l’assiette au beurre with a refreshing rendition of grapefruit bitters and lavender. An exquisite atmosphere gives light to the space, a historic palazzo that was once a guesthouse of Pope Gregory XIII and also home to a former intellectual society. Peruse the art gallery and event space, or take a gander at the fanciful tattoo parlor on site – all equally fascinating.

Tattu, UK

If there’s one place that fuses innovation and sharp attention to detail, this asian destination is it. A European culinary achievement, Tattu is home to four UK locations and impresses patrons with tantalizing presentations that stimulate the senses. Tattu is derived from the Chinese art form ‘tattoo’ and ‘Tatau’ which means to ‘make a mark’ in eastern culture. This high-end experience certainly lives up to its name. Upon entering, you’re immediately immersed in a magical aura with whimsy details at nearly every turn. You’ll find a faux cherry blossom ceiling and the most perfect low light for setting the mood. To ensure you leave wow’ed, the master chef adds thoughtful touches to every plate or drink, like ominous smoke, glass cloches, skulls, or a variety of flower petals. It’s the ideal locale for those who want to be seen. Imagine getting photographed under an extravagant floral chandelier after you finish an exceptional plate of dim sum. If you find yourself dreaming of the ambiance after you leave, you can mimic the sensory overload at home with Tattu’s exotic sounds created by in-house talent.

Hellfish, Bremen Germany

Nestled alongside the Europahafen river in Bremen, Germany, a quiet little tattoo parlor has made a name for itself. What one might call an ordinary dive without the frills of other establishments, Hellfish is an iconic landmark for locals. This international destination employs devoted team members and has been in business for over 22 years, proving customer loyalty is at the center of what they do. Their mission is simple: to create personal works of art that feel unique to every client. Almost like stepping into a museum, the colorful tattoo studio boasts unique touches that are quirky and playful. Details include an expansive fish tank and perfectly-placed tattoo art under a glass-box design. The open air space is conscious of privacy, but not ignorant to a creative’s love for shared conversations. And what might attract customers the most is steps away from their tattoo chair. The daytime café serves up an afternoon pick-me-up or hearty snack. Stop by for seasonal specials like pastrami on brioche, sweet donuts, or a frothy latte made to order. After two decades of service, it’s safe to say this fiery favorite is here to stay.

De Nadas & East Side Tattoo, London England

Situated amongst the hip brownstone neighborhood of Shoreditch, De Nadas is a new London-based eatery that serves comfort food at its finest. What’s on the menu? Homemade empanadas with a twist. The crescent-shaped goodness leaves you equally as happy as the sunshine-themed exterior. The Argentinian joint, boasting a striking yellow facade, proudly advertises 15 baked empanadas filled with meat or vegetarian options. Following its opening earlier this summer, the establishment teamed up with local favorite, East Side Tattoo, to offer the first five patrons a voucher for a complimentary tattoo service. There was just one small catch. The tattoo had to resemble one of three things: Either the likes of Argentinian fútbol stars Lionel Messi or Diego Maradona, or naturally, an empanada. The duo has kept a sincere partnership since the whitty marketing stint and encourages customers to delight in both. Satisfy your craving at De Nadas before taking a short 10-minute walk down the street to Bethnal Green Road for a tattoo at East Side to finish off your ink-inspired afternoon.

Full of character, these five locations are a secret worth telling. You’ve been introduced to unforgettable decor, extraordinary touches, and fervent artistry. There’s plenty of places at the bar to sit down for a cooling refreshment while you enjoy the scene. But don’t forget to take in the beauty at every corner – you may find decades of charm just waiting to be revealed.



The Intelligent Tattoos of Tomorrow


By Annie Stopak

It was the 1950’s. You walked into a back-alley store that was a cross between an old-fashioned soda parlor and a barber shop. It was a space that holds more evidence of old than new with plenty to marvel at. Checkerboard vinyl floors, exposed brick walls, arched doorways, and secret crevices amused clients awaiting a tattoo. The walls, covered in prolific floor to ceiling tattoo art, led onlookers down a journey of creativity and wonder. Once seated in the charming reclining chair, you could hear the gentle hum of the rotary machine under brightly-lit fluorescents – a scene that tattoo aficionados continue to know and love, even today. 

But with Artificial Intelligence pushing the limits of new technology, will the traditional tattoo method be a thing of the past…only to exist in our distant memory? It’s a question asserted by the creative industry following the explosive launch of AI platforms like ChatGPT, Jasper, and ChatSonic. Many would argue that talent, creativity, and intuition can’t be manufactured; the human element will always play a part. But how does anyone really know?

Making the distinction between artificial versus original is one of the most controversial aspects of this new technology. Some would say that a tattoo has to be created by an artist to be considered original while others say, not only that, but the artist must possess advanced artistic talent as well. There’s no doubt, AI is blurring the ethical line. No one has established at what point AI is replicating someone else’s art or even diluting the artistic draw. But regardless of what is true or not, we can all acknowledge that the industry is changing and all tattoo endeavors support art, no matter how we get there. Technology shapes the culture in which we live, and it behooves us to lean into these new discoveries, while using it as a tool to strengthen our craft.

Some businesses have proven to be pioneers in the industry, leading with AI practices to embrace success from this new market of curious clientele. Monster Crawling, one of the leaders in AI and tattoos, did just that. With skills in software engineering, the team gained 400,000 dedicated followers in under a year. “AI has been pivotal to this explosive growth,” said Bozidar Djordjevic, CEO at Monster Crawling. “Our mission is to propel the industry into the future.”

Monster Crawling understands the importance of real talent in an effort to keep the heart and soul of the industry intact. “We’re at the forefront of AI innovation in the tattoo realm. Not only do we utilize existing AI tools, but we’re also developing proprietary technology,” Djordjevic said. The brand intends on launching a first-ever app for tattoo artists that encourages artists to elevate their technique. Think master class for tattoos with world-class mentors. The training will also teach a deeper understanding of marketing, business, and of course, AI integration.

If businesses continue to place skilled artists at the center of AI, professionals say it could strengthen the industry as well as the appeal. According to research, advanced tattoo designs can take years of practice, and many novice artists struggle with conceptualizing this creativity, so having artificial intelligence as a tool could perhaps make them more attractive as a job seeker.

But ironically, no one really saw this coming. Engineers were surprised to discover the intelligence behind a system that wasn’t only wired to do analytical functionality, but so much more. “I always believed creativity would be one of the last frontiers for artificial intelligence,” Djordjevic said. “Many predicted that AI would eventually solve every logical task, leaving humans with just art and poetry.” 

And the poetic draw behind some digital art is hard to ignore. Baris Gencel, an award-winning AI artist, has much to share when it comes to paving a powerful future for talented artists and this new technology. Pulling inspiration from futuristic fashion and virtual reality, Gencel boasts works of art that depict an ominous metaverse that artfully blends the beauty of profound oppression with creation. And when asked what drives his inspiration… His response centered around a passion for bringing awareness to ecological issues – specifically nature and climate change – a perfect example of how his interpretation of AI transcends skill level.

As appealing as this technology seems to some creatives, there are still artists who don’t favor the technology. “Personally when I look at these AI generated images, even though they are quite beautiful, I get this weird feeling in my belly,” said Raimo Marti, a Scandinavian Tattoo artist based in Denmark. “I think art is defined by much more than just a beautiful image. It is an expression of the soul.”

Gencel supports the notion that while AI can generate designs, the physical act of tattooing remains a soulful endeavor. More or less, he perceives it as a source of inspiration, not meant to replace actual talent. “AI is fundamentally a tool, akin to any other instrument,” Gencel said. “Its potential is harnessed through human creativity and ingenuity.”

Certain computer applications have made embracing this technology as easy as a touch of a button. BlackInk AI replaces the daunting task of browsing the web, Instagram, or Pinterest for hours on end. Once the client finds the platform they enjoy most, they describe the art they are after in a few short words, and the image is generated in less than a minute. This type of service is most appealing to newbies wanting to receive a tattoo; not to tattoo artists, as it’s less complex and far from original.

Photoleap, on the other hand, is an advanced iOS and Android app from the same developers as Facetune. The personalization aspect takes this platform a step further. The technology uses the ‘try before you buy’ method by letting a user upload a personal photo and overlay it with their chosen design. This app is made for sophisticated individuals who are privy to tattoo art and customizable features. Likely, they are well-versed in the culture and keep a close eye on tattoo trends. Adobe Firefly is similar in the personalization department but even more advanced, allowing you to recolor images or refine edges to add a touch of your own flair to rendered tattoo art.

Other services are creating shortcuts in a different way. You might have heard whispers of the French intelligence robot called Tatoué, the first ever 3D tattoo printer that uses pre-loaded designs to perform a service. Or take Tattoodo, a modern marketplace for tattoo inspiration that is influential for connecting you with the right tattoo artist. Operating like Google for tattoos, this niche website is yet another opportunity to simplify your search by using AI to locate talent in your area.

After uncovering only a handful of the dozens of AI options, it’s quite obvious that there’s an ‘app for that,’ and the technology will continue to improve every day. “History reminds us that technological progress inevitably elevates associated industries, but it also shifts the benchmark. What’s considered average today may be deemed subpar tomorrow,” Djordjevic said. These hard-working machines gather knowledge at a rapid rate. Taking subtle cues and storing data provides them with more intelligence than they could have ever imagined. 

So the question remains, will this technology eventually outsmart humans? Stay tuned to find out. And in the meantime, studying the intricacies of these programs puts businesses at an advantage while providing a leg-up on competitors. Accomplishing tasks in a smoother manner with less stress and effort is a win for creatives and beyond. And just maybe, we won’t lose sight of what once made tattoo art so iconic.



Forged In Steel – InkedMag


Photo by Steven Le

 

It’s been one hell of a ride and it’s far from over. Paul Teutul Sr. has spent over 50 years building bikes and bending metal. He started building bikes in his senior year of high school and never really stopped. Paul came from an extremely abusive household where you’d catch a beating because you looked like you might do something. Worse than getting beat was watching your little sister get dragged across the floor, knowing you couldn’t help. Bikes and animals were the two things that brought him comfort in that life of hell.

Paul got out the first chance he could and joined the Merchant Marines, delivering ammunition overseas. Once he returned, he got married and started a family. It was then he knew that he had to find another way to take care of the people he loved. He bought an old truck and a welder and started Paul’s Welding. He took any and every job he could. Most of the time, he worked seven days a week building his company. As time passed, the hard work paid off and the company grew. Paul knew he needed a bigger name, so he started Orange County Iron Works, which is now owned and operated by his son Dan.

As hard as he worked, Paul still found time to build a bike here and there. But unfortunately, with the increased pressure came increased drinking. Senior would like to share those stories, but there are not enough pages to tell them all. After losing his business partner, his uncle and his best friend to alcoholism, he knew he wouldn’t be far behind if things didn’t change. He made a decision to live.

On January 7th, 1985, Paul decided not to drink, just for a day. That day became every day for the last 38 years. When he became sober, he had a one-year-old daughter and three sons, aged 9, 6 and 4. Paul is grateful to have been able to take his kids fishing, snowmobiling and to play their favorite family game, tennis. Paul knows one thing for sure—if he had not stopped drinking, he would not be alive today. “I would have missed out on watching my kids grow up and become the amazing people they are today,” he says.

 

Photo by Steven Le

Life got really crazy when a call came in from a producer that saw one of Paul’s bikes on the cover of a magazine along with a picture of Paul that fit the archetype they were looking for. The producer asked Paul if he would do a pilot episode for a reality TV show. They were looking for an East Coast personality similar to West Coast Choppers’ Jesse James.

He hung up not having a clue what this meant. As a 54-year-old blue collar guy running a steel shop, being on TV was not something that ever crossed his mind. He only had a little bike shop in the basement of his steel shop. What would people think? What if he sounded stupid? Would it affect his business? The rest, as they say, is history. After the first episode of American Chopper aired, he thought for sure he was ruined, but the ratings said otherwise. The offers to do more shows came in, and the public could not get enough.

While there were many great times during their 20 years of filming, there was also heartache. It meant filming 240 hours for each episode, only to find out that the final cut did not always paint him in the most flattering light. Imagine a camera following you for 240 hours of your everyday life and taking your worst moments and stringing them together in any order that sells. “Now let’s be clear,” Paul says, “I am by no means an angel. I gave them plenty of content. I was and still am an old school guy that knows how to get a job done, but when it came to communication, that toolbox was pretty empty.”

Paul still considers it a privilege to have had such an amazing opportunity and is grateful to Discovery for all they did over the years. Everyone asks, “What is Paul Teutul Sr. doing now?” His answer is simple, “building bikes.” He also wanted to keep OCC as a fun and exciting brand. A few years back, he met his business partner Keith Overton. Together, they have taken all of the bikes and memorabilia collected over 30 years and created a museum, restaurant and entertainment space all in one.

Paul is very proud of the OCC Roadhouse & Museum in St. Petersburg/Clearwater, Florida. It is the final resting place for 14 of his most iconic bikes that were actually built on American Chopper. OCC Roadhouse is now home to his personal memorabilia, most of which has never been seen before because it wasn’t featured on the show. The restaurant is more than just your ordinary bar and restaurant, although the food is amazing. Paul knows because he eats there a couple of times a week, and when it comes to food, he is a hard guy to please.

Photo by Steven Le

The OCC Roadhouse has over 11-thousand square feet of indoor restaurant space. It is attached to a 25-thousand square foot, open-air pavilion that hosts events every night of the week, including some of the best bands in Florida, the largest weekly cornhole tournament in the state, family night and karaoke, and country line dancing with a live band. However, Paul’s favorite aspect of the OCC Roadhouse is that they are the largest pet-friendly venue in all of Florida.

OCC Roadhouse shares a 10-acre campus with Bert’s Barracuda Harley Davidson Dealership, one of the largest Harley stores in Florida. Behind the Harley dealership is Paul’s newest shop where he’s always building 4-5 bikes at a time and loving it. No drama, just builds. The OCC brand is still alive and well, and while he is supposed to be enjoying semi-retirement, he can’t stop building bikes. When you love what you do,, it’s not work.

Despite his semi-retirement, Paul says that his life is still a crazy ride, and that he is just going to hold on and enjoy it. He loves Florida and plans on continuing the growth of the Orange County Choppers brand there.

One thing that has stayed constant in Paul’s life is his love of animals. Paul and his wife Joannie have a rescue farm that includes cows, horses, pigs, dogs and cats. They also continue to run the Hudson Valley SPCA in New Windsor, New York.



Mind, Body, and Business – InkedMag


 

By Zack Zeigler

 

A 2012 head-on motorcycle collision in Thailand hospitalized Ryan Duey for three weeks with severe injuries. Instead of viewing the near-death experience as a setback, Duey embraced it as an opportunity for growth and self-discovery. Through healing practices such as float therapy in sensory deprivation tanks, he tapped into profound realms of calm and introspection. Inspired to help others find their own path to health and wellness, Duey launched his own float tank business, Capital Floats, in Northern California in 2016.

 

Then, in 2020, with COVID-19 ravaging the planet, Duey’s float business collapsed. Rather than recede, he reunited with industry friend Mike Garrett, whose flat tank business was also capsized by the pandemic. Their idea: create a sleek, at-home, no-plumbing-required cold plunge tub. From there, the pair went on to found Plunge. 

After building prototypes, seeking feedback, and refining Plunge’s look and operation, orders began to pour in, with units starting at $4,990. Later, their product was featured on Shark Tank and caught the attention of neuroscientist and popular podcaster Dr. Andrew Huberman.

Cold therapy offers benefits beyond physical recovery, transforming the practice into what Duey calls “a backdoor into meditation.” The initial discomfort transitions into heightened presence and surrender, leading to stress reduction and a natural dopamine hit. 

Plunge’s cold immersion system can chill water to 39 degrees Fahrenheit, although Duey sets his own unit around 47 degrees. Rather than enforcing a strict temperature regimen, he emphasizes gradually building your cold tolerance.

In 2023, the Plunge brand expanded into saunas, with the Plunge Sauna ($10,990 and up). Designed for comfort and movement, these units can be put together in 1-2 hours, and feature ergonomic seating that can flip up to create more space to move around. Mobility expert Kelly Starrett consulted on the design, ensuring it caters to both relaxation and exercise.

Duey was a guest on the M&F Reps podcast last summer, just as the Plunge Suana launched. Below is an edited excerpt from that conversation.

 

When you crashed in Thailand, did you collide with a car or another bike? How fast were either of you going? What were some of the circumstances surrounding it?

I hit a turn and collided head-on with an oncoming motorbike. I don’t remember the details, but we collided, and my head went into the handlebars. I cracked my jaw and skull in a couple of different places.

 Were you conscious afterward?
There’s a 45-minute window I don’t remember about life. But in the end, I came out intact. I’m truly so grateful for that time.

 You’ve called it your “greatest gift.” Did it take time to think of it that way?

 It was an incredible life experience and life lesson. It brought my family closer together. It wasn’t even a thought of, “Don’t dwell on this.” It was like, “Oh, my God, you’ve been given the ultimate life experience!” Some people don’t make it out of a head-on motorbike accident. And some just never have that happen. I knew it was going to become this pinnacle part of my life. That was the real breakthrough that happened from that experience.

You come off as a spiritual guy with a connection to yourself and those you surround yourself with. Is that why you ended up in the health and wellness industry and finding ways to help people do the same?

It’s fun to run a business and be successful and have the success factors that come from business. But at the end of the day, what are we doing this for? We’re doing this to grow. We’re doing this to get better, to connect with people.

So, Plunge was launched during the COVID lockdowns. How did it come together?

My business [Capital Floats] was shut down; my girlfriend and I were broken up at the time, and income was dried up. I moved into an RV to save money. So, my life was totally up in the air. I had met Mike [Garrett] six years before that; he also owned a float tank business and we reconnected. He’s an engineer at heart and he started designing and prototyping. This is early 2020, and the world of at-home cold plunging didn’t exist yet. It was a horse trough or a meat freezer that you’d fill up with water.

 

What’s your workflow with Mike?

Mike and I have very different skill sets. We’re able to move quickly and tackle a lot of problems. I don’t think we’d succeed without a cofounder dynamic. So, he started designing and pitching me about creating a company around it. When I saw his development of the product and his improvements within a few weeks, that’s when I felt we had something.

 

What was next in terms of Plunge’s order of operations?
It was, “Let’s build a website, create an Instagram account, build 20 of these things, and sell 20 of these things.” Then we got it into people’s hands to get them to use it. We emailed everyone saying, “We’ve been working on this during the pandemic. Anyone who’s interested, we want to sell 20; we’ll hand deliver them.” They sold quickly.

 

Where were the prototypes built?

In Mike’s garage. His wife and neighbors got a little tired of us building out of there.

How did you get hooked up with Dr. Andrew Huberman and the “Huberman Lab Podcast”?

Andrew Huberman has been an incredible, unofficial partner for us since the early days. I connected with him in L.A., got him set up with a Plunge unit, and we immediately hit it off. Though it’s not a formal business relationship, Andrew’s passion for helping people and his ability to blend research with practical wisdom has been hugely beneficial. By lending more scientific credibility to cold plunging and educating people on the real benefits, he’s been a leader in this space alongside pioneers like Wim Hof. I’m grateful that he genuinely wants to move the needle on people’s health and happiness and sees cold plunging as one of the tools to do it.

Some benefits of cold plunging include reduced inflammation, improved mood, and reduced stress. What is the biggest benefit you get personally?

The most exciting parts of cold plunging are the mental health benefits. Every time you plunge, your body releases dopamine, which improves your mood. We’ve seen that while people experience different physical benefits based on their needs, everyone comes out with a heightened mood and a better sense of serenity. The cold exposure increases baseline dopamine levels which drives motivation and focus. Since starting this company, I’ve seen how consistent cold plunging boosts mood and energy in every person. 

 

How did you expand into saunas?

It was a natural progression from the Plunge, driven by customer demand. As cold therapy took off, we heard from many customers asking if we could also make a sauna. Mike and I realized we had to figure this out based on the feedback. We didn’t just want to make any sauna we aimed to rethink the experience from the ground up.

How long did it take to develop?

It was an 18-month journey creating it from scratch. We incorporated feedback from customers and fitness gurus to make it the most comfortable yet dynamic sauna ever. Subtle design tweaks enhanced relaxation while customization and active-friendly features were added to make it uniquely versatile. It was a highly collaborative process to build our dream sauna and reimagine the experience.