the collective We meet with the architects of the global apparel and lifestyle machineâ€“Sullen.
shine We sit with the mastermind behind the 24K gold paper movement and talk innovation, social media marketing and their celebrity investor.
freakshow We take you on a bizarre ride through the extraordinary visuals of the Master of Macabreâ€“Andy Hartmark.
The Christian Hosoi story.
contents features my sanctuary
The Christian Hosoi
We sit with the mastermind behind the 24K gold paper movement and talk innovation, social media marketing and their celebrity investor.
Find out how this world famous tattoo artist plans on making his mark in the vaping industry.
columns 44 artisanal collective Andy Hartmark
We meet with the architects of the global apparel and lifestyle machine - Sullen.
enter the dragon
We sit with the worldfamous Master Mike from Ink Fiend Art Studio to discuss his art, inspiration and how he got into the vape game before it became a industry.
departments 5 Editorâ€™s Letter 6 Vapelife: Vape Etiquette 101 8 Vapelife: Proving Vaping Works
12 New Products 80 A Guide to Edibles 84 Gastronomics
on the cover PHOTO BY LEAH MORIYAMA Legendary pro-skater turned pastor Christian Hosoi talks about his life leading to redemption.
issue 04 march/april 2015
issue 04 | mar/apr 2015
of US smokers will quit this year.
Do we tell the other
to just keep smoking?
Published by fr3shLAb creative group, llc President Richard Coyle Creative Director Kenji Furutani Editor-in-Chief Saul Goode Senior V.P., Operations Cindy Galindo Contributing Writers Leilani Anderson, CJ Catchillar, Cindy Galindo, Maximilian Sterling, Chris Utley
SUPPORT TOBACCO HARM REDUCTION POLICIES
Contributing Photographers Block, Kenji Furutani, Andy Hartmark, Franck Lebreton, Leah Moriyama, Mike Nguyen, Chente Vega Tokewell Magazine is published bi-monthly by fr3shLAb creative group, llc. Tokewell Magazine does not condone the illegal use or obtainment of cannabis. All content within this magazine is copyright protected and may not be reproduced in part or in whole without explicit written consent from the publisher. Tokewell Magazine is strictly for entertainment purposes only, and is not to be held liable for any misleading or inaccurate material produced herein. ÂŠ2015 Fr3shlab Creative Group LLC. All Rights Reserved.
www.CASAA.org A public service message from the Consumers Advocates for Smoke-free Alternatives Association
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tokewell po box 444, alhambra, ca 91802 tokewell.com tokewell tokewell
Within both of these paradigms, we have come to a point where good ol’ home innovation and inventiveness is meeting real world design and production. The black markets have exploded upon the legitimate business world to the tune of billions of dollars. Regulation and legislation that we have fought long and hard for, are ﬁnally coming to fruition. Yet, this is only the beginning...We as a community must remain vigilant and ensure that these ﬂedgling industries continue on the correct path on our way to freedom, health and wellness. We must monitor ourselves as well as our compatriots because we are living on the bleeding edge. There are no established experts but ourselves and as we carry our torches into the darkness, we must keep in mind that we are paving the way for all those who follow. Information is our most valuable weapon and our most precious ally. With this in mind, I invite you to join us on a journey of discovery and enlightenment leading to victory and liberty.
2015 is well under way and all I can think about is the exciting times we live in. First off, I never thought I would see the day when we could say that MMJ is legal in nearly half of our 50 states. Clearly, it’s a matter of time before the rest of the 26 follow suit to realize the beneﬁts medically and economically. On the ﬂipside, there is still a mountain of work to be done in terms of regulation and societal acceptance, but we deﬁnitely are headed in the right
Welcome to Tokewell Magazine. We strive to bring you to the cutting edge of technology, design, lifestyle, and culture for both MMJ and Vapor.
direction. Vaping on the other hand, is an innovative and cost-effective alternative to get cigarette smokers off the deadly habit without the use of synthetic pharmaceuticals with dangerous side effects. Why in the world would the FDA erect such a roadblock to wellness? Do they think analog cigarettes are the better alternative? Do they think that vaping a French Coffee ﬂavor of e-Liquid becomes a segue to actually smoking a carcinogen-ﬁlled, cancercausing tobacco product? Numbers don’t lie and neither does the fact that e-Cigs outsold tobacco for the ﬁrst time last year. People want to quit. Why make it hard for somebody to take care of his or her own health and wellbeing? That said, the commonalities and undeniable parallels within both of these industries are evident. We need to band together and accept one another, simply because we need each other to ﬂourish. We are the pioneers of this movement and remember - there is truly strength in numbers. United we stand or divided we fall. It’s up to us.
Stack Paper, Catch Vapors.
Saul Goode Editor-in-Chief
issue 04 march/april 2015
vape etiquette 101 vapelife
CHRIS UTLEY OWNER, CROW & CHEMIST
Being part of the vape culture is exciting to say the least. There is an unrivaled sense of community and it is one of the fastest growing industries out there. For manufacturers of hardware or e-juice, it is still considered somewhat of a “Wild West” market because there has not been a litany of regulation by the FDA…. yet anyways. This makes it easy for new companies to get started and follow their own American Dream in creating something out of nothing. What is important though is to make sure we all do our part to ensure vaping is here to stay. The saying “all it takes is one bad apple to spoil the bunch” couldn’t be truer, especially in a young industry like ours. Here are some simple tips that can help keep us vapers off the radar of the MAN and keeping our industry the growing giant that it currently is. W H A T I S VA P E E T I Q U E T T E ? It might sound like a funny term but I will explain. Just using common sense in public places will be the best way to keep us safe and not banned everywhere. Since vaping has already had its fare share of potential bans in major cities in the United States please take note. If you are vaping in public please treat it just like if you were smoking in public. There are designated smoking areas because not everyone will want to smell your vapors even though they are delicious and a million times better smelling than cigarettes. The bottom line is the public doesn’t care, they just know they don’t want it in their air. A good example would be if you were
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eating at a nice restaurant, you wouldn’t want them burning scented candles because that can ruin a meal. The same sense should apply with vaping. If you are in a bar or club, please don’t start blowing clouds as if you are in a cloud competition or you want to impress you friends, go outside for that. Lastly, be mindful of small children! I recently became a proud father, don’t blow clouds at my newly born son. It is proven that nicotine causes birth defects and developmental issues in children. I have no idea why someone would choose to go to vape expos while being pregnant but I have seen this a few times now and it has to stop. Even if it is just vapor the last thing you want is for a potential problem to happen when it could have easily been avoided. Oh and by the way, please don’t drip and drive! W H Y I S I T I M P O R TA N T ? I love being able to vape in public and I love not smoking cigarettes anymore. I feel great because of it and I am sure you do too. Please be mindful that we are all considered a new industry and in the eyes of many naysayers as being just a fad. Big tobacco can afford to pay off lobbyists to push for bans on vaping. If we give them and the government fewer reasons to use as negative examples against us then I think we will be just ﬁne. I am very passionate about this industry and if you are reading this I am sure you are too. I just want to make sure that vaping is here to stay. If we can do these simple steps and be mindful of others then we can all live long and prosper like Mr. Spock (RIP) said.
proving vaping works T H E
V A P E
E N T H U S I A S T C U L T U R E CJ CATCHILLAR CEO, VAPING MONKEY
2 0 1 4
About 5 years ago, I would log into some online forums in search of vapers around my area to see if any of them wanted to meet up and hangout. As stalkerish as it may sound, I was curious about what other mods or e-Liquids were out there as well as similar success stories of switching to e-Cigarettes. Bare in mind, there were no vape shops to go to back then, very few online stores and very little information about e-Cigarettes. I was able to ﬁnd a small vape meet of 12 vapers 15 miles from where I was. Excited, I went and met new friends, saw new products, new e-Liquids and not only did I gather more information on vaping, I realized that there were other likeminded people that believe in the movement and that it is in fact a healthier alternative. As the years passed, small vape meets turned into large vape meets. Large vape meets turned into hotel ballroom meets complete with vendors. Vape shops started popping up everywhere as well as online. Now, there are vape conventions held at prominent locations all over the globe. With thousands of success stories coupled with more innovation and technology in regards to vaping products, why are we still in the dilemma that in the near future the right to vape can be taken away from us?
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Yes, we know big tobacco companies despise us. Pharmaceutical companies that make smoking cessation products hate us. Who can blame them? We’re taking money away from them and there and the Wells Fargo report last year is proof. I strongly believe that more non-biased lab tests on vaping are needed the question is, which doctors here in the U.S. are willing to step up without worrying about losing their credibility? At the end of the day, it’s about wellness and reclaiming our health. Regardless how gloomy this looks, all hope is not lost. I believe we have a chance because there is strength in numbers. While we continue to ﬁght for our right to vape, the fact of the matter is that more people are switching to vaping every day. Remember, we have the numbers, we have the technology so, all we need is to bring more awareness to our movement by educating the general public. I’ll see you at ECC. INSTAGR A M:
THERE ARE NO SHORTCUTS IN EVOLUTION. As time goes by, the needs of the vaping industry change. With that, so must the monkey. We’ve listened to your input, tested, retested and are proud to announce the release of the new Vaping Monkey! It’s all good!
For wholesale inquiries, please call 714-527-8086 or email email@example.com.
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We were completely thrown off by Wulf Mod’s last creation. A company speciﬁcally known for herbal vaporizers has now made their foray into the e-Cig game with their Lone Wulf mechanical mod. If this doesn’t showcase the vision of a forward-thinking innovative company, I don’t know what does. Not only did they address the needs of another market, they pleased the masses in doing so. Made in the United States, each Lone Wulf is constructed of high grade aluminum and copper components which houses a single 18650 Li-Ion battery. Each Lone Wulf utilizes a recessed concave bottom-ﬁring button that eliminates the need for a locking mechanism.. In addition, each Lone Wulf is handcrafted with a personalized serial number for authenticity.The Lone Wulf kit features an enlarged adjustable air inlet showcasing a copper base and a full copper middle post that enables superior connectivity which allows for ﬁring reliability and massive clouds. gotvape.com and premium vape shops
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new products Finally, there is a legit brand in the streetwear game that pays homage to the golden era of hip-hop–Train of Thought Collective is the brainchild of creator and artist Justin Carrillo. What started off as a blog to share his collection of thoughts garnered him a massive cult-like following on a global scale and as a result, a ﬂourishing business. When asked how he comes up with his designs and limited edition pieces, he said, “As an artist and independent clothing brand, I have the freedom to create what I want and when I want.” Their style is gritty, facetious, and intelligent as evidenced by his version of the infamous Beats, Rhymes and Life tee circa ‘96 inspired by the legendary A Tribe Called Quest. That said, if you’re looking to rep your fresh and show your love and affinity for real hip-hop, look no further. You’re welcome. trainofthoughtcollective.com
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Check out former feature and world famous DJ Seraﬁn’s own signature line of e-Liquids. With pool party season around the corner and summer bass-thumping nights, Remix was designed to turn up. With 4 tantalizing ﬂavors to choose from, you’ll be going straight into the after-hours. available at vapethisone.com
issue 04 march/april 2015
SHINE /// TOKWELL STAFF
We caught up with the genius behind Shine Papers at Urth Caffe in the heart of LA’s hipster-ﬁlled Art District – the perfect setting since our discussion centered around luxury, culture, and innovation, in true “Entourage” fashion. Over a cafe quadra, Dave B. and I discussed the concept and evolution of Shine and how social media and his strategic partnership with rapper Tyga helped skyrocket the brand to unseen heights.
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nless you’re completely devoid of modern pop-culture and hip-hop, you’ve seen or heard of these gold rolling papers. Celebrities from Tyga to Rick Ross are rocking them in public. Maybe you’ve even seen Miley Cyrus handing out the swanky gold papers on her Bangerz tour. Either way, the papers represent a modern day twist of ﬂossing, baller-status, and high-end swag. One thing’s for certain, they are a deﬁnitely a conversation piece and the consummate stars of endless duckface selﬁes and Instagram posturing. “There has to be an Ace of Spades in this world. It doesn’t have to be an everyday item and we want to be that product. We’re celebrating, were showing out a little bit and that Shine is dope. That’s what we’ve become,” says Dave - the brainchild behind Shine. There have been a fair share of products brandishing opulence and luxury throughout the years - from Jacob the Jeweler signature diamond encrusted timepieces, to oversized 26” rims to insane grills by Paul Wall - but, to ball so hard, you actually smoke gold papers? That deﬁnitely takes the cake. Even Floyd “Money” Mayweather would probably look at you sideways. By the way, if you’re thinking about riding Shine’s coattails or imposing on their sweat equity and branding forget about it. “We were recently issued the registered trademark for the color gold on rolling papers. There are a lot of imitators out there,” discloses Dave. With a roster of mega-celebrities vested into this brand, don’t expect Shine to be a one-trick pony, especially with cannabis on the cusp of being domestically legal. There’s absolutely a certainty that Shine evolves into a lifestyle brand and as a result, there’s not going to be a shortage of people who want to take this smoker’s extravagance to the next level. You know what they say; “There’s always room for dessert.”
How did Shine become a reality? We started off manufacturing cigars that were plated in gold and had lots of business in Vegas catering to high rollers and VIP’s, plus they were a really cool product. We thought, “This is deﬁnitely cool technology, but we’re not reaching a broad audience. What can we apply this same technology to and reach a greater amount of people? Papers! That’s interesting. So, rolling papers employing the same technology seemed to be the catalyst for you. Yes it was. I randomly got into a conversation with a person who was working with Wiz Khalifa at the time and threw in a cigar question. The guys said, “Yeah,
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those papers retail for about $10 a pack,” and I thought, “That’s insane! That’s paper and a penny’s worth of ink!” We prototyped a couple of Shine papers and put them out on social media to get the reactions and people immediately grabbed onto it pretty hard, so we realized this might be a thing. People must have thought it was a gimmick or some viral stunt. People still don’t think we’re real. We get questions like, “What do you do for the gold color?” Um, it’s Gold. Not spray paint or color (laughs) People thought we were just a ﬂy-by-night brand but we showed that we deﬁnitely have staying power. We were innovative and are still growing.
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When did you realize that you were on to something game-changing? April 20th, 2013 which was the ﬁrst Cannabis Cup in Colorado and we displayed. We went from concept to product in the marketplace literally overnight. From there, it was 60 days and we had a full shipment in the door. Did Shine encounter any resistance or negative feedback during your launch? One of the ﬁrst people I called was Josh from Raw. I didn’t care, I’ll go whale hunting and now, we have a great relationship, even though his brand is so different than ours. He’s the Jedi master of rolling papers and he said, “You’re fucking crazy. Nobody is going to pay those prices.” I said, “There has to be an Ace of Spades in the world.” It doesn’t have to be everyday item and we want to be that product. We’re celebrating, were showing out a little bit, Shine is dope. That’s what we’ve become. How has social media played a role in Shine’s communication to your audience? It’s been absolutely instrumental. Right now, we have over 80K followers and instant feedback and communication with your audience. It’s been a fascinating erector-set. It has such a baked-in infectiousness; it’s baked in organically. It’s fascinating. Playing with the super-fast reactions and timing is amazing. Shine is extremely popular amongst celebrities, how did that come to fruition? From day one, we always wanted a big brand celebrity partner. We talked to a lot of people. And we even got Miley Cyrus to do Bangerz Papers for her tour. Huge publicity. She’s public about her affinity for cannabis and we got a call from her manager or publicist with a request from Miley that she needed some kind of gold papers. It was
good validation and we even got to see what it did for her brand as well as ours. We got to see Rolling Stone do a write up and we made it to the list of the crazy stuff that Miley does while on tour. How did your partnership with Tyga come about? We always had Tyga in the back of our mind. People think we’d pick Snoop or somebody who is overtly and directly associated with the culture. I said I wanna do a deal with Tyga - two hours later I was talking to his manager. We signed the deal in November and were getting momentum and our partnership is amazing. Why does the partnership work so well? He’s luxury, he’s fashion, and people don’t associate him directly with the culture but he casts a wide net in terms of global reach, age, and gender. He wants to get involved with things and be passionate. Not just a fee for service. He’ll fulﬁll his duty if he gets paid, but he really wants to be vested in what he works on. Look at his brand Last Kings - he’s outselling Diamond and Vans at Tilly’s. That says a lot. He really pushes. Our passion is innovation, entrepreneurial and passionate. Clearly, you’re the leader in the luxury rolling paper industry. Do you have any concerns about being knocked off ? We were recently issued the registered trademark for the color gold on rolling papers. There are a lot of imitators out there. For instance, we have our tattooed blunt and there’s this company that’s doing something sort of similar. They’re brand new with a whopping 200 followers. We have no issue with innovation, but the way they’re trying to build their following is to go to every one of our pictures and our followers pictures and comment on them. I’m like, “I
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could fuck with you. What are you doing? Go build something huge. Show up at the next trade show in a yacht and I’ll be like, ‘That’s awesome.’” Do it right way. It’s hard work. It’s innovation. There are shortcuts and to try and trade on somebody else’s brand equity, it’s just sad. What’s next in line for Shine? Shine has a great opportunity to become a lifestyle brand. There are a lot of blueprints of companies that have done it and made it harmonious. Take Diamond. They sold skate hardware back then. Now, they’re known for keychains, shoes, and apparel, because people have conﬁdence in that brand. If we can continue to do innovative things product-wise, that would keep me passionate. I don’t have a super deﬁned vision in 3-5 years but the core value of innovation and luxury will always be there. Like our tattooed blunt, maybe they can’t afford the gold, but they can be associated with it because it looks like you’re smoking a hundred dollar bill. We have a platform now.
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The Vape and MMJ industries have parallels and commonalities that most people fail to realize. We met with Carlos Ali, who is the unofficial mayor of Huntington Beach and owner of numerous lucrative businesses along the California coast. We sat with this visionary to talk legalization, legislation, and regulation for both industries, and why he left a six-ďŹ gure job to follow his passions and change the game in the MMJ and Vape industries.
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itting under one of the many cabanas at Zack’s Pier Plaza with the Paciﬁc Ocean as our backdrop seems a little Baywatch-ish and synonymous with stereotypical Southern California lifestyle - but nobody’s complaining. If there was ever a true-to-form hustler, visionary, and entrepreneur, Carlos Ali is that guy. His family lineage spans from Huntington Beach to Long Beach, and even as far up north as Stockton, California. Beachgoers walk by and acknowledge his presence, which is a sign of respect for everything he’s done for the community through his business and services. Whether it’s feeding his patrons amazing food from his concessions, renting out wetsuits and surfboards from Zack’s, or selling them premium glassware, craft e-Liquid or vape mods from Ziggy’s, Carlos is an area staple. He was born in Newport Beach, but in his words, “Huntington raised him.” The beach hamlet has always been where his heart lies. Throughout his career life, Carlos has done it all - from working the family business as a kid to being a GM at Ford Motor company making a six-ﬁgure salary. He’s absolutely carved his own niche and created his own legacy in two different industries, and he’s on a mission to marry them. With a lack of notable headshops that no self-respecting blue-collar individual would frequent, Carlos aimed to ﬁll that void by providing Orange County with a high-end, sterile head shop to purchase their wares. Against his family’s wishes, Carlos quit his white collar gig at Ford and immediately went to work by opening Ziggy’s, which happens to now be Orange County’s biggest and most respected head shop. “Cannabis has long been my passion over the last 25 years,” says Carlos. This passion, combined with his vision and calculated risk has certainly paid off in spades, which is evident to anyone who is privy to his success. Fast forward to ﬁve years ago, and think, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, how could anybody ignore the wildly blossoming vape industry? It’s a positive movement and the sub-culture is thriving within the 24 states that have legalized it – reminiscent of another industry in another time. Of course we are talking about the ever booming, alcohol industry, which thrived even in the throes of Prohibition. “This reminds me of the 1920’s and 1930’s when people were bootlegging liquor from upstate New York to Florida,” Carlos says. That’s what we’re doing with the vape industry. What I enjoy is that we’re here from beginning. We’re pioneers. We’re going to pave the way and dictate the right direction of where our industry needs to be. Vaping is going through prohibition.” We can certainly hope that the rest of the vape industry catches on, so we can all unite. We need more forward thinkers and open minds like Carlos but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. issue 04 march/april 2015
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How did you get started in this business? When I grew up, cars and the beach was all I knew. In 2002, I moved to Stockton to open a used car lot and I sold it in 2004, because I moved to back to SoCal and worked for Ford Motor Co. in Carlsbad, where I became a sales manager. I always loved the car business and in 2008, I went to visit a family member in Stockton who also had a car lot, but changed it into a smoke shop called Ziggy’s. So cars literally drove you to realize your true passion. Exactly! I hung out for a weekend and thought, “Holy shit!” I loved it. It reminded me of working at the beach back in the day with all the customer interaction and proﬁts made. There were no drunks and violent people, just stoners and chill people. So, your family member planted the seed? Yes. I came back, drove down Beach Blvd. and found my perfect location! I went to the landlord and I jokingly said, “I want to open a dispensary!” and he immediately said, “No, you can’t do that!” I said, “No, just a smoke shop,” and he said, “that might work.” So it began. What were the next steps? Well, I quit my job at Ford being a GM and my family was trippin’! They said, “Are you crazy?! You’re leaving a 200K job to sell pipes?” I just wasn’t happy man. I was just unhappy. I quit and a week later, I signed a lease. That takes some balls man. What makes the Ziggy’s experience so different from other shops? If you say “Ziggy’s” in Orange County,
people know us. We pride ourselves on the experience. Police officers will even come to chill and talk to us. I was born and raised here and there were no decent head shops that didn’t feel like a dark and shady sex shop. I felt a need for something different, being that this industry is growing at such a rapid pace. I mean we’re legal now and it’s going in the right direction. Why can’t we be positive, sterile, and reverse the negativity associated with it? Let’s give the masses a dope place to buy their product. What are your thoughts on medical versus recreational use of MMJ? This whole industry is going to be big. We just need to regulate it. Other places like Amsterdam are ﬂourishing and we need to follow suit. Look at Colorado or Washington - they’re doing a phenomenal job. There’s no crime. Just money. Like back East, I feel bad for them. They have to pay triple the amount just to medicate because it has to come hand-to-hand from California. We need it to be more medical. Medical, of course 100%. Recreational to a certain degree. There needs regulation. When does MMJ become legal on a Federal level? It kills me to know some patients can’t get their medicine. I mean cannabis being a schedule 1 drug?! So, that means we’re in the same prison cell as cocaine, meth, and heroin? We’re all going to see this change happen soon. It’s already happening. The ﬁrst week of sales in Colorado, made enough to pay for the whole year of public schools’ lunch and now citizens are getting refunds because of cannabis? Imagine California!
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What are your thoughts on the vape industry versus the MMJ communities? It’s silly and ignorant. We’re two communities ﬁghting for justiﬁcation that it’s ok to do this literally side-by-side. A lot of people don’t realize that and frown upon it when we should really be united. You know, help people with their health. The communities need to be more united. Obviously, you’re the “glass king.” How did vaping happen? My love for cannabis evolved into the vape in the past 2-3 years. I mean it’s the same industry and nobody sees this. I remember the GotVape guys started 18 years ago! I remember playing poker in my garage and they started this company called GotVape and look at them now. They were one of the ﬁrst people to sell Volcanos. They’re visionaries and pioneers in this game. I had to get into this. It is saving lives and I believe in it. WEBSITE: paradisevape.net
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Have you ever experienced e-Liquid companies that wouldn’t sell to you because you’re a smoke shop? Absolutely. People didn’t look at the vision of where this was headed. Some vape companies were snooty with their noses turned up and that’s amazing when you consider the amount of product being pushed by smoke shops like ours. We’re the largest in Orange County and we’ve made a name and reputation for being premium. Now you want us to sell your product? You’re reaching out to me now that your sales are plummeting? Amazes me. What needs to be done in order to alleviate negative public perception of vaping? Like anything else, we need more education. The industry needs to understand this. The bad publicity needs to be reversed. That’s what needs to happen. I have sold to hundreds of people who have quit smoking because of vaping. They’re healthier. The gum or the patch doesn’t work
for a lot of people. Chantix? What’s the side effect? Suicide?! Side effects of vaping? Better taste buds, you save money, and it tastes good. What are your thoughts on the proposed FDA regulations on vaping? Big brother Philip Morris or RJ Reynolds is going to take over both vape and cannabis. This is where we need to work together as a community. Not just vape. Both. We need to build the right foundation. I think half the juice companies will go away, because of the FDA regulations and 25% will stay because they’re legit. Why do you think about all these city ordinances that ban vaping are popping up everywhere? All these city ordinances are out now because of some of the people that vape irresponsibly in public. Its not a cloud competition all the time people! There needs to be some etiquette. Don’t be a dick and fuck it up for everybody.
HIGH VOLTAGE V
Original INFUSED E-LIQUID
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LEAH MORIYAMA /// BLOCK
If you grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, you know the name Christian Hosoi. One of skateboarding’s most iconic figures, Hosoi’s style transcended the streets, pools, and ramps he conquered, and captured mainstream attention–along with six figure sponsorships, endorsements, world tours, and a rock star lifestyle to boot. Hosoi and fellow skater Tony Hawk were the action sports’ equivalent of Jordan and Bird – both taking their sport to new heights with completely different styles and a shared flare for the dramatic. Hosoi’s aggressive grace and stylish technique remain almost unparalleled in the sport before or since, so much so Christian was lauded as “Christ,” and one of his signature big air vert moves became known as “The Christ Air.” Knowing the devout Christian Hosoi is now, the ironic blasphemy that he was given such a nickname almost seems like an eerie foreshadowing into his eventual fall from grace – something he credits with actually saving his life.
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After a downward spiral into crystal meth addiction, Hosoi was arrested in 2000 for attempting to bring the drug on a ﬂight to Hawaii for a business trip, and the amount he had carried a trafficking charge and a minimum of 10 years. While incarceration usually takes away one’s freedom, Hosoi found that it actually gave him his – not only from the drug addiction, but from worldly temptations, thanks to his new found faith in God. It’s been ﬁfteen years since the arrest that changed his life, and the resurrection of the one they used to call “Christ” has been nothing short of phenomenal. Christian has willingly shared his story as a testimony for those who are stuck on the path he once followed. A documentary, “Rising Son: The Legend of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi” offered many of his adoring fans a ﬁrst glimpse into the obstacles Hosoi faced and overcame during his time outside the limelight. Since then, he has welcomed the public eye, believing it to be his responsibility to share his story to help others in need. “Drugs are so self-destructive that people can’t handle the addiction,” says Christian from Venice Beach in between autograph requests. “Lots of my friends have passed away because of heavy duty drug addiction. They lost their families, kids and even their talents are gone as a result of what they got into. There aren’t a lot of positive examples of people who made it through addiction, and that’s what I’m trying to be, to show that you can still chill, you can still hang, get rad, skate friends’ parties, do art, go to clubs, listen to good music, and just appreciate the art without destroying yourself in the process.” We caught up with Christian, better known today as the Outreach Pastor at The Sanctuary Church in Orange County, CA for his take on his career, his life, and his salvation. Achievements aside, why do you think people consider you to be one of the more inﬂuential skaters within the culture? You know, you gotta make something look fun. That’s part of anything you do. It’s gotta look fun or like it is a good time. You can’t look depressed! [laughs] I think that determines whether what you do is infectious or not.
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Were you surprised at all in the way action sports just exploded worldwide? Not really, actually. In a prophetic way, I always thought that if I liked it this much, the whole world would, and everywhere we went, everybody was into it. It was a matter of delivering it in my own way. Lifestyle, music, fashion what kind of sport has that as a part
of its fabric? No sport has that inﬂuence on music or fashion in terms of lifestyle or culture. I saw this at 15 years old, It was a small industry then - skating for minimal amounts of money, but all of a sudden two years later, boom! I was making hundreds of thousands of dollars, traveling the world, and feeling like a rock star. Did I have a premonition or idea? I think so. It stemmed from the love I had for it. How did your success inﬂuence your lifestyle? Back then, I thought I’d be smoking weed for the rest of my life, listening to Bob Marley, taking acid on the weekend, doing cocaine when there’s a party. You know...I just thought that was normal living. I thought if you didn’t do those things, you were a nerd. You couldn’t hang out with us without participating in those things. We were the cool crowd. If you hung out in those groups of people that’s the kind of lifestyle you had to portray. I realize now, I don’t have to participate in those types of activities and I can still have fun. It took me a bit of time to realize that was my position now, but it freed me to be able to not be inﬂuenced by others and allowed me to inﬂuence them to want to live my style of life. Art isn’t what you take or drink or smoke. Art is creative expression, but skateboarders, Graf artists, DJs, athletes, and so many others all come from a
culture so driven by lifestyle that sometimes we feel the pressures of jumping through those peer pressure hoops. But when you can be who you are on a creative level without taking away from your pure self, of who you were created to be without that stuff, I think that’s a beautiful thing. How did your spiritual awakening come about? I went through life thinking, “Life is good, Buddha is good, I’m good, and if you’re good enough, you’ll probably inherit this place called heaven.” I believed that I was legalistically good. When I got into crystal meth and fell into drug addiction for 8 years, I wanted to quit “tomorrow.” Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Everybody says that and I was stuck in a rut - I couldn’t quit. My girlfriend at the time, Jennifer, who’s my wife now, decided she was going to quit drugs as her friend almost overdosed in my house. She said, “I’m quitting drugs, I’m going to church tomorrow.” I said, “Sweet, I’ll go!” I read Buddha books, but I never read a Bible in my life, and at the time, I never even opened one. I been to a million hotels, saw the Bibles and put my dope underneath them in my room thinking they were going to protect it, and nobody was going to steal my dope. (Laughs). I went to church, nothing happened. I thought it was cool, it was like a club and you give your respects. People are trying to be good people there and then they did drugs on the way back home. We still
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did our thing, I said, “I’m going to Hawaii to do some business,” and asked if she wanted to come. She agreed to come but then I ended up getting arrested. Never been to church in my life and I went right before I got arrested. I get there, the ﬁrst phone call, I ﬁnd out that I’m looking at 10 years. I’m crying, and I’m in there with murderers, and man, I don’t think I can make it. She says, “Don’t worry, we’ll trust in God and we’ll make it.” I said, “I’m not dying, I need an attorney, I need bail!” She’s like, “God is going to help us. Go and get a Bible.” I went into my cell, cried out and said, “God, if you’ll just get me out of this situation, I promise i won’t do this and that. Get me bail.” All of a sudden I got labeled a danger to the community, and a threat to society and bam! No bail! I was like, Didn’t I make all these promises?!” I was angry. Two weeks later, I was walking around locked up in prison, but I was a “free man.” “Free man” meaning, I gave my life to God and realized that I am loved by him and that I was created for a higher purpose. Did people think you were going through a phase when you ﬁrst got out? When I ﬁrst got out of prison, people thought, “Oh, it’s not going to take Christian long to go back to his partying ways, going to clubs, doing dope, and being the life of the party again. That’s what we’re doing! We got better drugs, better clubs, there’s more money and there’s social media
now and he’s going to be the king of that!” I’m sure they thought that. Through consistency, I built a reputation where they were like, “Woah, I don’t think he’s going to change.” It was like 2-4 years down the road and people saw that I was really sticking with this. I think that’s a testament to staying true to what you believe in. I’m not sober because I don’t do drugs, I’m sober because I love God and God loves me. That’s it. Bottom line. Has nothing to do with what people think of me, it’s my heart that’s right. Now it’s like, “Man, he’s still on ﬁre for Jesus and he talks about it, look at his interview in Tokewell Magazine, he’s still talking about it! He’s still hanging out in Venice. He’s still hanging out with his friends, and he’s still true to his roots.” I was stuck in rut trying be everything people wanted me to be. Living that rock star lifestyle and that could eat you alive, man. It did me. It sent me to prison for almost ﬁve years and I look at it as the best thing that ever happened to me because in that place, I discovered my purpose and what I was meant to be, versus all my accomplishments, the money I made, trophies I won, and what everybody said about me. All of those things are distracting from the real person on the inside. I think sometimes you need to have a rock bottom experience to cause you to think outside yourself. It’s about family, relationships, who you’re connected to, and who you inﬂuence. The world needs more positive role models and inﬂuencers because it’s lacking. There are so many kids without fathers because their fathers are out being kids. They’re not ready to take on the role, so their kids look to other role models in the homie, the gang, or in their favorite celebrity they look up to. Myself as a father, I not only want to father my children, but I want to be a role model for kids around the world. Be somebody they look up to. I’ve been sober since Jan 23rd, 2000 - a little over 15 years. Not a sip, smoke, or drug or anything like that. It does feel good. It’s an accomplishment.
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Thatâ€™s my heart for this generation for people to be free. issue 04 march/april 2015
Did you ever worry that your transformation might cost you friendships or friction between the people who knew you more in the party lifestyle? We as people who get put into a situation have to adapt. Just like me adapting to my new lifestyle, I was still like, “Man, I can’t wait to see my homies.” They’re all raging and I don’t judge them, I’m not critical of their lifestyle, I just love them. Love is what wins people over to recognize maybe they’re in a destructive lifestyle. Some people can handle certain situations and go through life like that but in the end, what were your goals? Did you accomplish your goals or were you too busy having fun? You really have to look at the big picture. Sometimes you’re too busy in the VIP room to realize your goals and what talents you have. Do you even know, or are you too concerned with having a good time? There’s people that go through life and are good at having a good time, but that’s not the best life. That’s a lower grade of what you were created to do or be. You would never realize that if you were raging or partying. Obviously you have changed your lifestyle, but what are your current views on the medicinal use of cannabis? Marijuana is great for medicinal reasons. I’m all for it. I’m not for people who abuse it or use it for
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their own personal lifestyle. It’s like alcohol. I’m not a fan of alcohol because people always go too far. Nobody drinks for fun. You want to get buzzed. I paid for a drink, it better get me buzzed or else it wasn’t worth the money. Like when I bought dope, if it didn’t get me high, I got ripped off. To me its a mind altering substance, but I don’t condemn anybody. I just talk about my choices and experiences but if it starts to interfere with your personality, then I think those people are relying on drug enhancement to come out of their shell. Athletes, they get ﬁned and they get disqualiﬁed. I really embrace people that don’t rely on that crutch, because I remember being that guy. Man, I’ma hit the dance ﬂoor, get a drink, smoke a fatty and tear it up! Now, I’ll tear it up without it! Most people don’t have that conﬁdence. People get liquid courage when they drink. It’s insecurity. There’s a ﬁne line between a substance being not healthy for somebody and them using it for a medicinal reason. That’s the original use for cannabis - medicinal. Being a pastor, a father, a professional athlete, and a business owner, I want to be a role model for people in general. It’s a big responsibility to do those things the best way I can, and to do it with good character and morals. WEB SI TE:
COLL E C TI V E CO N V E R SAT I O N:
Sullen Story WORDS
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TAADOW69K /// FRANCK LEBRETON
Creating a clothing brand is the dream of many, but the reality of very few. Even less likely is that the founded brand is actually going to create a legacy and help to unify a culture through its efforts. Sullen Art Collective has done both, in less than a decade. How have they done this? Co-founders Ryan Smith and Jeremy Hanna founded the brand on sweat equity, hawking their early wares out of Ryan’s apartment and sticker bombing the entire west coast at every chance they got. Thanks to their unchanged hunger and ultimate respect for tattoo culture, the brand has become a worldwide mainstay, boasting collaborative designs from the tattoo community’s most talented artists. This cross-promotional strategy has done wonders for both the brand and the artists themselves, helping to bridge the gap between artistic prowess and commercial visibility. Of course that’s easier said than done, as it has taken years of relationship building and hustle to elevate the Sullen name. Once you hear the compelling story behind the company’s growth, you will undoubtedly understand why Sullen is now a globally recognized – and respected - brand. We’ll let them tell it, in their own words, as Tokewell is proud to introduce you to Ryan Smith and Jeremy Hanna – the masterminds behind Sullen Art Collective.
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How did Sullen come to be? Ryan: It all started with the idea that we all wanted to start our own business. I’ve always been really attracted to surf graphics, I grew up with all the Powell Peralta stuff, you know. I used to totally get off on those T&C t-shirts. So as you get older, you try to ﬁgure out how to make a living at what you like to do. Jeremy: Growing up in Orange County and experiencing ﬁrst hand other people doing this successfully was really inﬂuen-
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tial to us. I don’t know if we’d be doing this if we grew up in another city or state. How did the environment shape what you guys wanted to do with the brand? Ryan: You’re watching people start the same way. The earliest I could think of is the Black Flys brand, which was a little bit before me since I didn’t move out to Cali until I was 22. But I still was a fan of what that company was doing through these guys.
Even though I was removed, I was still immersed in action sports culture. Jeremy: Just to clear up, he grew up here until 7th grade, then his parents moved him out to Phoenix, we reconnected in our senior year of high school, and then he moved back out here. I moved out to Arizona with him for the ﬁrst semester. Ryan: We got into a bit of trouble in Arizona, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. LA Ink did a whole episode on
it, as did Sullen TV. Jeremy: I moved out to Arizona to get away from some of the trouble I was getting into here and I was hanging out with Ryan and his friends, and we just had a blast. Ryan: Yeah, I asked him to come out. I had a buddy of mine, Jose, who I made a business with, and we were throwing and promoting parties. We would solicit people who were throwing house parties at the time, as we had access to kegs
and taps. We knew where all the parties were at, so when Jeremy came out, we had a blast because we were already living that lifestyle. How did you guys get involved into tattoo art and culture? Ryan: I started my apprenticeship when I was 19, which really came from having a strong fascination with tattooing at a young age. I was buying tattoo magazines when I was like 14-15. I started drawing
tattoos on people. I used to play beach volleyball a lot and when I wasnâ€™t playing, I used to have this sharpie and Iâ€™d draw really elaborate tribal designs. If people were bored, I would tattoo their entire back or arm, and at 16, that was kinda fun. I started to become known as a tattoo drawer so when we got older and people wanted real tattoos, they used to come to me to draw the tattoo out for them. I started designing tattoos, and I went down to the studio,
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which was called Artistic Skin Design, and asked about learning to tattoo. Jeremy: it was absolutely no surprise at all when we heard he was getting an apprenticeship. How did the apprenticeship go? Ryan: It took a while for me. The barrier to entry was the guy telling me I needed to buy $500 worth of tattoo equipment, and I was like, “You’re fucking crazy!” This is 1995 and where was I going to get that type of money? I was working at a restaurant and I never had $500 in my pocket ever. The guy didn’t actually own the tattoo shop and I ended up hounding him over the phone, asking if he asked the boss yet. Finally, after months and months of calling, he called me and said told me the owner was going to be in town and that I should meet him Thursday and that I should bring all my stuff. I collected as much art as I could, put it in a portfolio and he ﬂipped through it fast, and said, “Alright, start tomorrow.” I was like, “Huh?” That’s how this works?” (Laughs). I started the next day, brought all my stuff with me and when I walked in, people looked at me like an alien. Nobody had a clue who I was, or why I was there. I basically served a shitty apprenticeship cleaning up the front, picking up cigarette butts in the parking lot, cleaning ﬂash sheets and just doing a typical apprenticeship. I worked there for four months and I wasn’t being taught anything. I really wasn’t anyone’s apprentice. I had a friend there who was also leaving to another shop in Tempe, and asked if I was interested in apprenticing there. I said, “Ok, lets do it.” I ended up leaving and working the apprenticeship at Club Tattoo. At the time, it was tiny and they were barely open for 3 months. You walked in, and it had a single counter and 4 captive bead
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rings and black and white of books of ﬂash and photocopied drawings in them, but they actually took me on as a real apprentice. I don’t mind working for free but I need to learn something. I want to be taught. I ﬁnished my apprenticeship there, did my year and I tattooed professionally for about two or three years after while I was still going to school full time as well. It was gnarly. I spent a year and a half building up my portfolio because I wanted to go to Pasadena Art Center. Once I was in, I linked back up with Jeremy, since he was here already. I would drive up here every Friday night after school and party through the weekend. Jeremy: Like Ryan in Arizona, I was also very known here for throwing good parties as well (laughs) The apartment he was talking about where he would crash on my couch was the spot! I would brag that I had 15 weekend parties in a row, and I mean freaking ragers. The funny thing was that it was right next to a church, too (laughs). All of our neighbors partied, too, so it was this 6-apartment complex and we’d party from house to house. So you guys were still living the party lifestyle. How did you decide to focus on building the brand? Ryan: My original intention for going to the Art Center was to learn computer 3D art. I took the ﬁrst class, but I absolutely hated it. It was so demanding and incredibly complex. Messing with Maya makes Photoshop look like Fisher Price. I’d be on the computer from 7am to 2am and it wreaked havoc on me, so I realized this wasn’t for me. I was unhappy. I then made the shift to study graphic design and started leaning towards the apparel business. I had a full-on illustration degree, so I had to utilize it and why not marry the two? There are not a lot
of graphic designers that are illustrators. We had discussions and we realized that we should do a clothing company. We all agreed to do it. We just didn’t know what to call it… Jeremy: You know what we almost called it that nobody even knows? Broke! Wow! It’s probably funny to look back on it now. How did you come up with the name, “Sullen?” Ryan: Oh, I actually loved the double meaning behind it because action-sports there was play on words like you could break your arm and stuff. (laughs). That was our ﬁrst, “Oh yeah!” We spent all this time developing it, but then we realized it was trademarked, which turned out to be a blessing. Jeremy: I remember thinking, “Nobody wants to be broke, it is a negative word.” Ryan: Luckily something was telling us to pull away from that. I had a comic book cover, which was an assignment we had to do in my ﬁrst Photoshop class and we had to name it, and I called it ‘Sullen’. We didn’t pick the word for it’s meaning. We liked the ambiguity and the symmetry of it. It’s dark, but we don’t deﬁne ourselves by it. For us you have to learn the word. There’s meaning behind it. That’s how the name ‘Sullen’ came to fruition and we all got behind it. How did you take your ﬁrst steps together as a company? Jeremy: We actually had a 3rd partner, but due to a tragic circumstance, he pulled out for personal reasons and I was brought onboard. I had a large social network in the organic sense, not the digital version, so I got some silent investors to break bread, and here we are. During the ﬁrst 5 years of Sullen’s existence, we thought we were going to be an action sports brand. We sponsored
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skaters, surfers, and at the same time we got involved with a lot of parties and linked up with a bunch of OC, LA, and IE promoters, but then we didn’t want to be a clubwear brand, either. Ryan was always rad with lettering and skulls, so it started taking a different direction. He lived in a little house in Huntington and I had a place and we all sold it out of our apartments and homes. We got our ﬁrst warehouse in year 3. Ryan: We had to bounce because our landlord found out we were selling out of the garage and said, “You gotta go!” How did you guys go about promoting the brand? What was your promotional strategy and budget? Jeremy: Before social media, we would literally set our alarm and wake up at 3am or stay up late and dress in all black and drive up the coast with either 2 or 5 of us and slap Sullen stickers everywhere. Just bomb the coast. When the US Open of Surﬁng was in town or concerts, we’d just go hard on sticker missions. For the ﬁrst few years, we demolished SoCal. It was so fun. Ryan: We had no money. So, when you have no money, you have to improvise and employ your resources. Our marketing consisted of these $0.02 stickers. We literally started with nothing. That’s why we did the club parties, to get our name on the ﬂyers for free. Jeremy: Back then; there was no social media so people actually had ﬂiers in their pockets. So when saw our logos on these ﬂyers, we’d go park and put the ﬂiers on the windshields. We did what we had to do. We always had a big support system and good friends. We just hustled t-shirts. The ﬁrst 5 years I always tell people we were ﬁnding ourselves. Year 6-7, we started really using Ryan’s skill for the designs.
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As you made your mark through Ryan’s art, how did your collaborative designs with other artists come about? Ryan: We just leaned back on my experience. We started to narrow down our message to target tattooists. It was like, “Let’s just do this one thing well.” Also realizing that by having that narrow market, that’s the only way you ﬁnd success. I read this book called the Purple Cow and it talks about, “If you try to be all things to everyone, you 100% fail. Your only chance at success is by taking risks and doing something you don’t normally think about.” That was us being the ﬁrst real tattoo brand, we created our own niche. We did our ﬁrst shirt with Nikko Hurtado and it just said “Nikko.” No Sullen logo in the ﬁrst place, which is unheard of. I’ve never seen a Volcom or Hurley tee without their logo somewhere on the shirt. For us to do that, it opened things up to us. Understanding the underlying thing of tattooing really made us click. There are a lot of things that are unspoken or unsaid in the tattoo culture, and you need to be aware of them. We started building relationships with tattoo artists by putting their art on our t-shirts. They would not incur any costs for development or printing because we would absorb all of it. In exchange, they would give us the rights to print and sell their shirts. They could come by and ask for shirts anytime and sell them themselves as well. It was a win-win situation and became very symbiotic. We started getting tons of artwork. As a tattoo artist I’ve faced those hurdles and knew there
was a need for this. We were ﬁlling a void for them and that was the lightning rod that took us from being obscure to being a globally recognized brand now. Aside from the designs and collabs, what have been Sullen’s other keys to success? Ryan: To this day, we live and die with our printing. Nothing comes out of here until it’s perfect. When we deliver these shirts, I want the artists to be blown away. Over time, we’ve been recognized for our printing. We won 4 of the 6 printing awards from ISS. Jeremy: We’ve also been willing to hustle. You gotta get out there too. Rockstar is a perfect example. Goes back to our partying days at SWAT and LA Ski & Sun. We’d go on these trips to San Felipe a couple years in a row, which got people to sign up for the trips and Robert Escalera signed us up, and introduced to Mike Kelso, who worked for SWAT. Mike eventually got a job with Rockstar and is head of marketing for them, so it just goes back to those relationships you build. Could be over a beer. We forced ourselves to work this way. We never had investors; we never had big money to play with. We had to use our resources. How does it feel to see the company now versus how it was when you guys ﬁrst started out? Jeremy: It’s a trip when people congratulate us because we still feel that were always going to be hungry. It’s a blessing and an honor. We got this email from
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this guy in the Midwest who said he just wants to touch our front door because so many people have taken their pictures in front of it. It’s surreal. Ryan: The tattoo artists are traveling rock stars. They are their own brand. This is why it works so well. You know how protective the tattoo industry is. Now we have some kid in London rocking our shirts. You get people appreciating what you do and wanting to represent you? You don’t even know me and that says something. I really think it speaks volumes about
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what we have accomplished, like B-Real on the Tonight Show wearing our shirt. That’s just amazing. Jeremy: At Magic, Mo from Black Flys asked me if B-Real was still on our payroll. I said, “We never paid B-Real, he rocks our shirts because he likes them and I keep shipping shirts to his front door.” What is your ultimate goal with the Sullen brand? Ryan: Our goal isn’t to be rich. Our goal isn’t to ﬁnd the monetary mountain. Our goal
is inspire people, and if we can build relationships and make a new artist nobody knows about successful, that’s what it’s about. If we can ﬁnd people who are appreciative of what we do, and our relationship can help to ﬂy them up in popularity, then that’s where it’s at. We always work with people who try to be humble and we vet people to get the right cultural ﬁt. We are not ego-driven and we don’t like ego-driven people. The artists are brand ambassadors for us, and vice versa.
Enter the Dragon WORDS
We sat with one of the most proliﬁc and decorated tattoo artists on the planet–Master Mike from the world famous Inkﬁend Art Studio. Normally out of the foreground and allowing his work to speak for itself, Master Mike takes some rare time out of his hectic schedule to chill with us and open up. We talk tattoo culture, media portrayal, and how vaping changed his life.
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hen you walk in through the door at Inkﬁend Art Studio, the ﬁrst things you’ll notice are the hundreds of awards that grace the walls of his studio. There are enough that it almost feels like “1st Place” wallpaper. If you’re lucky enough to be there to get tattooed by Master Mike, it means that you’ve completed your consultation and the year minimum on his waiting list. With the physical stature of UFC ﬁghter, the intimidation factor is there for any tattoo newbie, yet it quickly dissipates with his smile, greeting, and handshake. They represent the tenants of what Master Mike holds so dear to him – respect and loyalty. He remains true to the game through his credo, and he truly believes in respecting everybody. Like many tattoo artists, Master Mike spent his younger days on the streets of the San Gabriel Valley, causing a ruckus like youngsters do. Fortunately, he found his forte and craft in the form of a tattoo gun and ink. Always showing an artistic side since he was a kid, Mike honed his skills and developed his style in the streets by tattooing his homies. Fast-forward to today, and his love for the trade ensures that he is constantly showered with an abundance of respect – not to mention the accolades under his belt. His work speaks for itself,
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and also has a digital megaphone thanks to his legions of social media fans. He describes his style as, “Black and Grey Asian animated feel with an LA twist.” His dragons, for which he is most known, are second to none. The depth of his art and attention to detail are what separates him from the rest. When asked why he’s so successful and sought after, he paused and reﬂected before telling us, “I just do what I like. When you do what you love, you’ll be good at it. I don’t talk a lot. I don’t advertise. I just let the work speak for itself. I think everybody would be successful if they did what they’re passionate about.” Master Mike was also a smoker for over 15 years and quit with the assistance of his wife, Abby, who introduced him to vaping. “I started vaping when I traveling to back and forth to New York a lot for the tattoo conventions,” elaborates Abby. “I was always so nervous and had anxiety, so I picked up a cheap e-Cig before vaping became a thing. I got introduced through a customer who had a mod at the shop. He told us where to go get them then we ordered them and that’s how that started,” says Abby. Mike hasn’t touched a cigarette ever since he started vaping and has no plans to do so. Vaping has changed life for himself - as well as for his family.
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Were you always artistic? Throughout school, I was one of those kids who sat behind the class and doodled. I never was into school and I would just zone out and draw. Luckily I found tattooing. I don’t know what I would do that would make me happy and allow me to provide for my family. How long have you been tattooing for? I’ve been tattooing for about 20 years. I started working on my friends in the backyard and one thing lead to another. More and more friends got word that I was a legit tattoo artist and that’s how I got started. Why did you venture out and start your own shop? I started working at different shops just to get my feet wet. I’m always about respect. Lots of shops don’t have that respect. They have big egos, arrogance, and a bully mentality. I wanted to run a shop built on that foundation of respect. Doesn’t matter who it is - if it’s customers, co- workers, you respect everybody. That’s the way I would run my shop and I did. You work is sought after worldwide. What’s the secret? I just do what I like. When you do what you love, you’ll be good at it. I don’t talk a lot. I don’t advertise. I just let the work speak for itself. I think everybody would be successful if they did what they’re passionate about. How many awards have you won? I lost count of the awards. It’s over 200. I have good clients and friends and clients who have become good friends all over the world. A lot of my clients are from overseas. When we’re done with a tattoo, they enter for me.
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How long is the waiting list to get blasted by you? A year. What are your thoughts on the inﬂux of tattoo media though TV shows and magazines? Is that a good thing for the tattoo industry? I would say it goes both ways. When you go to a tattoo shop, you don’t just ﬁnd gangsters. You could see a person whose into the art, they could be getting something meaningful, or they could be just covering up a scar. It shows the public what tattoo shops are about. The bad part is you get people that see the glamour and fame and you get people who don’t know how to tattoo and mess people up. There’s a positive and a negative. Can you teach anybody to tattoo? You gotta love tattooing. You have to know how to draw, which is kind of important. They need an eye. Some customers will bring a bad design and if they don’t know any better, they just tattooed that bad design on them. With us, we’ll tell them its bad and change it up to their needs. If they still want it, we just won’t do it. There’s no point in taking peoples’ money and tattooing something on them that’s ugly for the rest of their lives. Our reputation is on it. Do you ever have issues with people who copy your style? When I ﬁrst started tattooing, there was no Google. We had to go to a library, do the research, and draw it out and now, all these rookies come out here and Google shit and start copying. Copying and taking credit for it. You gotta give credit where it is due. Lots of these youngsters will do that nowadays. There was this one kid who posted up, “Origi-
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nal Koi, 100% freehand,” I was like what? I called him out and said, “How is this original when I did this 10 years ago?” He apologized and changed the post. It’s about respect. Do you ever get caught up in the party life in the tattoo scene? I don’t like the limelight. I hang out with my guys at the shop and family. I’m in this for the art, man. Not parties and fame. I could less. TV shows hit me up all the time and I don’t want to do it. I don’t want the fame. I want the fame from my art, not TV drama. I tattoo for my kids, my wife, and the love of the art. How did you get into vaping? I used to smoke before. I quit at 30 years old when I had my son. Even though I quit, I still had my craving. I would dream I was smoking a cigarette even three years after I quit. I would wake up and feel bad. I would have cigars here and there and sometimes you feel nauseated and it smells and you think, “That’s why I quit smoking!” My wife introduced me into vaping. WE BS I T E :
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Did you really get into vaping? Yes! We even started selling vape products and then vaping got real big so we stopped. We’re a tattoo shop and wanted to concentrate on that. There’s too much to keep up with. We were in the vape game before it became a thing (laughs). Why do you think the FDA is giving vaping such a hard time? The FDA is afraid because they’re losing money. People want to quit smoking. In order to stop that, you gotta stop people from making juice. People want variety versus a closed tank. People will probably end up smoking cigarettes again and what does that tell you? It’s stupid. Vaping is here to stay. Any last words? Shot out to World Famous Tattoo Ink. I have my own color set. Master Mike Asian color set. Hustle Butter Deluxe, as well. They are a line of aftercare products for tattoos and the ingredients are all organic.
A R T I S A N A L
C O L L E C T I V E
Andy Hartmark WORDS
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tarting off as an ambitious photographer from northern Minnesota, this virtuoso got his photography gracing the walls of one of the world’s most exclusive hotels and has gone on to become one of the most admired and sought after photographers today. It is nearly impossible to describe his artistry into words. It is a symphony composed of equal parts irony and beauty as the marriage of light and darkness seamlessly blends together to the point of complete juxtaposition, leaving behind a riveting and emotional footprint on one’s soul and subconscious. As vexing as some of the images can be, they’re done from a righteous vantage point, granting them purpose and in contrast, a polarizing feel at the same time. Littered with whimsical humor, it’s as if the duality in the imagery is completely obvious, even if the interpretation behind them isn’t. If asked to describe his works, words simply won’t do. You have to see it with your own eyes for it to evoke the emotion and shock value that only comes with being a witness. Luckily for us, you’re about to take a macabre journey through the lens of the one and only - Andy Hartmark.
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74 tokewell magazine
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78 tokewell magazine
Your style of photography is one of a kind. It’s a cocktail of animation and irony, romance and violence, which makes for a obscure, polarizing and macabre concoction. Who are some of your artisanal inﬂuences? I get bored very easily, as far as seeing the same thing over and over again, so I try to develop something interesting that takes you to an array of different levels, so when you ﬁrst see it, it’ll make you double-take and you’ll see something different. I like to create my own world with an alternative realities aspect. Sometimes you can have something initially seem to be really dark, but if you look closer, it’s actually not. A lot of your photography revolves around subjects that are pretty heavily tatted. What made you decide to incorporate this genre of subjects? All my friends had tattoos when I was growing up and they all had them for artistic reasons - it wasn’t like gang-related stuff or stereotypical tattoo work. I saw it as a personal commitment of how much the artwork meant to the person who recieved it. Most of my subjects are really laid-back people, very different from what society expects from people with tattoos. They’re very grounded and very “normal” people, at least compared to what society’s perception is. W E BS ITE:
Are there any artists out there that inspired you? I was always into underground, subculture type of stuff, and there were all these painters that had images that I couldn’t shake out of my head. There was a whole art world that I never knew existed. I admire Camille Rose Garcia, Jeff Soto, Gary Baseman, Liz McGrath, David Lynch, Lithium Picnic, Mark Ryden, Chad Ruin, Darla Teagarden, Viva Van Story, David LaChapelle and Tim Burton. David LaChapelle’s stuff is amazing. It’s just so visually vibrant, and there’s a lot going on—it looks like an amazing painting. Jeff Soto does a lot of bad ass “end-of-the-world” type stuff. Liz McGrath does all this fresh taxidermy-inspired art. I like things that look different. I see that you’re big into vaping. Absolutely. I even make my own e-Liquids and everything. It’s like futuristic to me. If you still smoke, it’s totally old news. In the world I’m in, smoking, models and photography usually go hand-in-hand. I was fortunate enough to quit literally overnight once I discovered vaping. It’s been about 2 years since I quit and I have not touched a cigarette since. Any plans of doing more within the vape industry? For sure. I want to launch my own lines and bottles of e-Liquid with my ﬂavors. Be on the look out. Big things are coming!
issue 04 march/april 2015
Edible Pairings Wine and cannabis infused food pairings: an experiment bringing together two completely different worlds in a deliciously wonderful way. Why wine and cannabis food (edibles) pairings? Because deep down, part of you always wondered if you could pair your favorite wines with your favorite junk food. Yes, it’s a thing, and if you can pair Lambrusco with spicy Doritos (try it), then you can pair Banyuls with your favorite special brownie. WORDS LEILANI
*Note: Mixing alcohol and THC in large quantities is NOT recommended, especially if you do not know how mixing the two will affect you. Most edibles have small serving size suggestions and wait times of anywhere between 30 minutes to 1-1/2 hours for the effects to take place. Not all labels tell you a serving size, but most will tell you how many milligrams of THC there is and asks you to ingest responsibly. Edibles are extremely potent and often induce extreme drowsiness in large quantities, and mixing alcohol will only intensify this, so be sure to enjoy your pairings when you’re ready to call it a day. If you need to sleep it off for a few hours, you don’t have to go anywhere.
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1. Cinnamon Sugar Cookies THC Content: 160 mg Strain: Not speciﬁed Serving suggestion: 1/4 - 1/2 a cookie, approx. 40-80 mg Paired with: Le Grand Courtage, Rose Brut Appellation: France ABV: 11.5% The edible: The cinnamon sugar cookie deﬁnitely has a distinct cannabutter ﬂavor that is present in most edibles. Cannabutter is THC infused butter, a main ingredient in cannabis infused foods. Generally speaking, the higher concentration of THC, the more distinct the ﬂavor. For me personally, sometimes those can be a bit harsh, but this cookie had a sweet sugary ﬂavor that almost complimented the cannabutter ﬂavor. The wine: This is a French sparkling wine composed of Chardonnay for depth and body, Ugni Blanc to brighten it up, and Gamay for berry and ﬂoral ﬂavors. Light carbonation and a bright mix of blue, black, and red berries on the palate make it a great wine for a wide variety of foods. Pairing: I am surprised by how this particular cookie’s distinct ﬂavor mellows out the brightness of the rose and overpowers the carbonation, making the wine feel more like a traditional still rose in the end. The bright, popping berry ﬂavors became a full, almost creamy but mild lemon, very different from how it started. Interesting, to say the least.
2. Gummies THC Content: 70 mg Strain: Sativa Serving suggestion: 1 piece, approx. 35 mg Paired with: Ryder Estate, Pinot Noir Rose, 2013 Appellation: Central Coast, CA ABV: 13.5% The edible: Remember those clear pineapple gummy Life Saver candies? Imagine one of those, mix in a little ﬂavor from a lemon gummy, and add subtle notes of cannabutter and you’ve got what these gummies taste like. Actually much better than I anticipated. The wine: A Pinot Noir rose made with a tiny bit of Petite Sirah, this rose smells of cherries and cream, preceding a bright cherry and ripe apricot ﬂavor with mild hints of lemon. Together: I wish I could say I liked this better. Perhaps I just chose the wrong wine to go with these, but then again, most people aren’t drinking wine with their gummy candies. The gummy overwhelms the rose but oddly enough the combo of the two cancel each other out and just leave a strange, almost bitter ﬂavor until the rose bows out and the limp remains of the gummy’s ﬂavor attempts to smash through your taste buds one last time. Note to self: next time, just choose either the gummies OR the wine, not both.
issue 04 march/april 2015
3. Caramel Chew THC Content: 100 mg Strain: Hybrid Serving suggestion: approx. 1/5 chew, 20 mg Paired with: Mollydooker, “The Boxer” Shiraz, 2013 Appellation: South Australia ABV: 16% The edible: Subtle notes of cannabutter are quickly enveloped by the sweet caramel. Some how, they compliment each other quite well, making it hard to ﬁnd where one ﬂavor ends and the other begins. Best part? Super soft chew. No slow motion chomp session with this candy. Probably my favorite edible ever. The wine: An Australian Shiraz with big ﬂavor but not too heavy. A multilayered wine full of cinnamon, red fruit and a hint of sweet cream. A lovely wine both for food or enjoyment alone. Together: I found it rather difficult to ﬁnd a wine suggestion for pairing a plain caramel candy of any sort, although variations (chocolate caramel candy, caramel apple, etc.) were endless, each with a completely different suggestion from the last. Finally, I found a suggestion for a nice Shiraz. It was an interesting pairing - the Shiraz overpowers the caramel at ﬁrst, but slowly the caramel ﬂavor seeps back in, although a hair less sweet, perhaps a trick of the drier red wine. Not bad, although I’d hoped for something a little bit more climactic. Maybe this is why all the suggestions required more than just caramel on its own.
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4. Marshmallow Golden Grahams Treat THC Content: 100 MG Strain: Not speciﬁed Serving suggestion: 1/2 treat, approx. 50 mg Paired with: Vinedo de los Vientos, “Alcyone” Tannat Appellation: Uruguay ABV: 16% The edible: This one I’m most excited about. In my head, Golden Grahams taste like s’mores without the marshmallows, so a Golden Grahams cereal bar with marshmallows on top? S’MORES! This one ended up tasting like a slightly sugarless version exactly what it looked like - a marshmallow topped cereal bar. But not bad. The wine: This Tannat is by far my favorite dessert wine. It smells like vanilla ice cream and Whoppers (“The Original Malted Milk Balls”) and tastes like heaven. Okay, I exaggerate - it tastes like an explosion of chocolate and vanilla and hints of cocoa powder and some tiny bits of allspice that makes you think it’ll treat you harshly, but when you drink it, it’s smooth and sweet and gentle. Together: Well, this was fun. What was a ‘meh’ edible became Nutter Butter peanut butter bites, but slightly more savory. This was deﬁnitely an interesting treat for the palate. I think maybe my favorite.
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y now I’m certain that you’ve seen the Cajun-inspired seafood spots popping up all over. They’re all the rage. Everybody has their favorite joints, as do we, but nothing prepared us for Camarones Cabrónes. We were ﬁrst introduced to these guys at a celebrity clothing launch party in the swanky Melrose Blvd of Hollywood by being offered the most visually interesting and refreshing Micheladas I had ever seen by owner Ed-
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die Banuelos. We were blown away by the quality and originality of the seafood dishes and beverages offered. Camarones Cabrónes is a high end catering company that serves Cajun-Mexican fusion seafood and premium Micheladas. Make no mistake, these guys aren’t the company you contract to feed a few friends. You call them if you’re out to impress your guests with the highest quality seafood and service bar none. “The concept of Camarones Cabrónes
came together unintentionally. I am a huge seafood lover and was always eating out just to get my ﬁx. I was a big fan of the Boiling Crab, Joe’s Crab Shack and Ports O’Call”, says Eddie. Naturally, he tried his hand at formulating his own version, one that paid homage to his heritage and love for Cajun seafood. Camarones Cabrónes is a family affair and Eddie will be the ﬁrst to tell you that without them, none of this would be possible. They spare no expense
when it comes to premium seafood and ingredients. Customer service is paramount and the fellas really do ensure that you have the most tantalizing seafood experience you have ever had - from their huge king crab legs to their perfectly spiced mussels and shrimp. Everything is balanced in perfect gastro-harmony for your taste buds. To top it off, you can cleanse your palate with one of their amazing and refreshing Micheladas. “Our Micheladas are different because most of them are made from Clamato. Our version has no tomato-celery taste and they’re infused with cucumber, fresh lime and sea salt. No heartburn, just fresh and natural ingredients”, says Eddie. So, if you’re into premium seafood and good eats, you have two options. Wait until the restaurant opens up - which is in the works - or contact them and they will bring the experience to you. You won’t be disappointed. 626.759.5269 INSTAG R A M: FAC EB OOK:
issue 04 march/april 2015
Â¸ pho, huynh
86 tokewell magazine
f you’ve never had a exquisite piping hot bowl
why their Phӣ stands out among the best out of
of Phӣ, you need to reasses your life. For
the thousands of Phӣ restaurants in L.A. she had
those of you who are out of the gastro-loop,
this to say, “The freshness of ingredients from the
Phӣ is essentially a bowl of beef broth comprised
meat to vegetables along with our herbs and spices.
of numerous herbs and spices coupled with
We slow cook our broth which is the heart and soul
vermicelli noodles and thinly sliced steak. In 1999
of any Phͧ dish which can take up to 12 hours.
Mr. Hiep Don, immigrated with his family to
It’s that attention to detail along with time and
America from Vietnam like so many people before
effort that make’s Phͧ Huynh so different. Unlike
him, for the American Dream. Mr. Don started
many Vietnamese restaurants, we only focus on
working as a Sous Chef at a local Phӣ eatery and
Phͧ and nothing else.” That formula is absolutely
things were great until the owner abruptly closed
working for them as evidenced by numerous ﬁrst
his shop due to personal reasons which left him
place rankings by the LA Times, Thrillist and LA
without work. This ended up being a blessing in
Weekly. The Food Network even took notice and
disguise. With the pressure mounting to provide
ﬁlmed one of their 2nd season episodes of Iron
for his recently transplanted family, he relied on
Chef at the restaurant. “They had two contestants
the one skill he had - making Phӣ. Armed with his
try to make a bowl of Phͧ in 45 seconds and they
own closely guarded secret ingredients, Hiep took
failed miserably. They really had no idea how to
a leap of faith and opened up his own restaurant
make a bowl of Phͧ at all, but it was fun”, says
named after his daughter - Huynh. Fast forward
Zilany. One thing’s for certain, the family at Phӣ
to 2015, business has never been better. Mr. Don
Huynh do know how to make a bowl of Phͧ and it
runs the restaurant with this family and there is
is absolutely perfect.
rarely an empty seat. Phӣ Huynh also features both northern and southern variations of Phӣ. When we asked his manager and daughter Zilany
9706 Garvey Ave. El Monte, CA 91733 (626) 350-6688
issue 04 march/april 2015
23891 VIA FABRICANTE STE 611, MISSION VIEJO, CA 92691
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Published on May 18, 2017