TOKEWELL | STACK PAPER, CATCH VAPORS
13 SEPT/OCT 2016
COME FLY WITH ME
WE SESSION WITH ENTREPRENEUR AND GASTRO-GENIUS DANIEL K. NELSON
WE NAVIGATE THE WATERS WITH THE MAN WHOSE INNOVATION CHANGED THE VAPE INDUSTRY FOREVER
THE STANLEY BROTHERS ISSUE 13 | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016
MEET THE MEN WHO HAVE CHANGED THE LANDSCAPE OF THE CBD INDUSTRY $4.20 U.S. $5.20 CAN.
ZIGGY MARLEY TALKS TO US ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF LOVE, FAMILY AND WAKING UP TO THE TRUTH
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Swimming with the sharks
The Stanley Brothers
Meet Brandon Leidel - The man who's innovation and genius has changed the vape industry forever.
We converse with one of the most sought after tattoo artists today and talk about why his students are his biggest influences.
We sit with one of the most influential artists of the 21st century and talk about love, life, family and our awakening to the truth.
Meet the brothers that helped millions become healthy by way of their miraculous harvest - Cannabidiol.
Daniel K Nelson
We chop it up with a Classic Man and talk about Michelin stars, the craft cocktail movement and why orphan cars are his weakness.
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ow that the DEA has denied the rescheduling of cannabis and the infamous FDA-imposed death sentence for the vape industry on August 8th has passed, where do we go from here? First off, rest assured that vaping and cannabis will not go away. By nature, people want to be healthy and will exercise their right to do so by any means necessary, as evidenced by our previous decades-long battle for cannabis legalization and against alcohol prohibition. The federal government, Big Pharma, and Big Tobacco have the most to lose and the pockets deep enough to do whatever money can buy to ensure that they don't. What does that mean for all of us? It means that each and every one of you needs to be proactive and fight for what's yours. This country was founded on free enterprise and innovation; ironically, our federal government doesnâ€™t seem to share the same sentiment. So, when you vote for our next president on November 8th, make sure you vote NO on Prop 56, which aims to increase vapor product tax up to 62-69%. That being said, we are extremely excited to bring you this issue featuring legendary musician and humanitarian Ziggy Marley, who will be gracing our cover alongside vape heavyweight Brandon Leidel, the game-changing Stanley brothers, world renowned tattoo artist Jess Yen, and gastro-genius and entrepreneur Daniel K. Nelson. I hope you enjoy our efforts. #TogetherWeRise
PUBLISHED BY FR3SHLAB CREATIVE GROUP, LLC PRESIDENT, FOUNDING PARTNER RICHARD COYLE RICH@TOKEWELL.COM CO-FOUNDER SENIOR V.P., OPERATIONS CINDY GALINDO CINDY@TOKEWELL.COM DESIGN HONEST KITTY STUDIO "NO-NONSENSE DESIGN" EDITOR-IN-CHIEF RICHARD COYLE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE YVONNE MORTON YVONNE@TOKEWELL.COM CONTRIBUTING WRITERS LEILANI ANDERSON, ALEX CLARK, CINDY GALINDO, RENE GALINDO, CHARN PREMYODHIN, MAXIMILIAN STERLING, SHEERLIE RYNGLER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS LEAH MORIYAMA, TAADOW69K ROBERT CAMACHO, CW HEMP, 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 orinaccurate material produced herein. Â©2016 FR3SHLAB CREATIVE GROUP LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PO BOX 444, ALHAMBRA, CA 91802 AD SALES INFO@TOKEWELL.COM TOKEWELL.COM
WE’RE ONE OF THE FIRST TO HAVE OUR E-LIQUID LAB TESTED BY ENTHALPY ANALYTICAL IN 2014 WE’VE GONE THROUGH OVER 4 LABEL REVISIONS IN THE PAST 4 YEARS TO FOLLOW PROGRESS IN THE VAPE INDUSTRY & GUIDELINES FOR COMPLIANCE OUR FLAGSHIP E-LIQUID HAS STOOD THE TEST OF TIME AND HAS BEEN ON THE MARKET SINCE 2012 WE GROW FROM INTEGRITY, QUALITY & RELIABILITY
WE ARE VMD GLOBAL INC. WARNING: THESE PRODUCTS CONTAIN NICOTINE. NICOTINE IS AN ADDICTIVE CHEMICAL.
VMD GLOBAL INC. 2663 SATURN ST. BREA, CA 92821 TEL: 714-646-9620 FOR PRODUCT CATALOG & INFORMATION, VISIT US AT WWW.VMDGLOBAL.NET
IS VAPING DEAD? WORDS BY: CHARN PREMYODHIN | OWNER SQN & NKTR
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usiness is booming in the vaping sector, and there is so much growth that lies ahead. Since August 8, 2016, many of you may feel this statement is a thing of the past, but I believe it can still be true. Every conversation I’ve had lately embodies a defeated tone where people have lost hope in the vape industry. It’s the same when I peruse the social media networks. In times like these, I believe it’s important for all to remember where there is change, there is space for opportunity. The FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products has jurisdiction over anything derived from tobacco. Currently, only a handful of industry leaders realize innovation can still occur in markets outside of tobacco. What does outside of tobacco innovation look like? It means cultivating vapor products for markets in medical marijuana, CBD, caffeine, kava, vitamin and supplements, and tobacco free nicotine. How do we accomplish this? The same way we built up the original electronic cigarette movement. Get excited, and invoke the entrepreneurial spirit. When everyone started in the vape industry, no one knew whether or not we would survive the potential regulatory landscape. That didn’t stop anyone from wanting to get involved. People got involved because vaping was something new, desirable, and it was changing lives. Now we can
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do the same thing in other segments which will also affect people’s live in a positive way. It’s more than unfortunate that we don’t have the regulatory bodies necessary to support small vapor businesses in America. Our government refused to create a separate framework to regulate electronic cigarettes in a reasonable manner. Because America is so dependent on the income from tobacco taxation that supports many of our social programs, the government will continue to try to keep it’s stronghold on electronic cigarettes as a tobacco product. It’s time for these small businesses to wake up and devise a plan for their future. Over the next decades, vape technology will grow in an exponential manner. It will change in so many ways in so many segments, that it will be unconstitutional to deem every single type of vapor product as “tobacco”. One day, hospitals will administer medicines through vapor devices and the landscape for vaping will be changed forever. Vape technology and innovation is a mainstay and the future for vape remains bright.
BUREAUCRAZY WORDS BY: SHEERLIE RYNGLER | CREATIVE DIRECTOR, VAPE ORGANICS
Bureaucrazy: any process or organization that sacrifices intelligence and rational thought in favor of administrative red tape (Urban Dictionary).
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he FDA’s deeming regulations went into effect in August, raising serious questions: does the FDA know anything about vapor products? Why are vape businesses now banned from discussing scientific studies comparing vaping and smoking? Should the burden of evaluating the safety of a brand new category of products be on vape companies, with applications estimated at one million dollars per SKU, or on the agency tasked with protecting and promoting public health? Has the FDA considered the public health ramifications of its ruling, such as rising smoking rates? The regulations have brought an air of uncertainty paired with real challenges in moving forward, yet the industry as a whole seems determined to continue onward. Such is the nature of a movement that truly believes in the virtues of its offering. Nonetheless, the vape community finds itself in a challenging situation: with the FDA taking the approach of “regulate now, research later,” compliance is difficult. Indeed, the characterization of ENDS (electronic nicotine delivery systems) as tobacco products is a grave mistake, not only morally but also technically. For example, it seems that all zero nicotine “tobacco products” must bear the warning: “This product is made from tobacco.” The FDA is expected
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to make revisions as these and other flaws become apparent, but this exposes a level of incompetency that should concern us all. Regulations could have been an opportunity to raise and/or systematize the manufacturing standards of our industry—to the benefit of consumers. Unfortunately, the regulations in their current state could destroy our industry… but not without a fight. Thankfully, lawsuits filed by Nicopure Labs and the E-Vapor Coalition (since combined) assert that the regulations are unlawful in some respects, unconstitutional in others, and exceed the FDA’s statutory authority. A main focus of our community’s advocacy is changing the 2007 grandfather date; it is important to note that any tobacco products on the market prior to 2007 will not need to submit these extremely arduous and costly applications, originally intended to prevent the proliferation of harmful traditional tobacco products, like cigarettes. So, is all of this beyond bureaucracy? It seems the war on tobacco has been subverted to a war on vaping.
WE LIVE OR DIE BY THE VAPE SHOP WORDS BY: ALEX CLARK | CAASA, LEGISLATIVE COORDINATOR
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hen we contemplate the future of vaping, it's easy to lose sight of one of the foundational aspects of the industry the vape shop: a gathering space for the community. It is becoming increasingly clear that in a world where the FDA deeming regulations are allowed to stand, the future we’re anticipating involves far fewer products, little variety, and a significantly higher cost to consumers. The obvious casualty here is the vapor shop, and while most seem to understand that will impact consumer access, the impending damage to the social fabric of the vaping community seems to be almost completely unnoticed. In 2015, a study observing success rates of people switching to vapor products concluded that people who purchased products from vape shops, in consultation with staff, were more likely to completely switch to vapor products as opposed to those who only purchase e-cigarettes from convenience stores. There's certainly a question of quality and performance between entry level convenience store products (typically closed systems) versus more advanced
setups (open systems) sold in vape shops. But, it's also fair to hypothesize that successful transition to vaping is heavily dependent on community support as well as expert instruction and advice. For several years now, stop smoking services have deployed programs that offer some level of support to those attempting to quit smoking. Recent so-called innovations in this area include SMS reminders or apps that push messages like “keep trying,” “you can do it,” and the occasional “attaboy.” Although modern tobacco control’s version of outside the box the strategy incorporates elements of faux peer-to-peer support, it continues to rely heavily on coercive tactics like shaming or graphic warnings featuring diseased organs. These tactics fall flat as they fail to acknowledge the vulnerability of smokers who have recently quit or may be early in the process and the difficulties associated with relying on strangers for guidance and support. Perhaps more importantly, traditional anti-smoking tactics fail to empower people to take control of their health. On the other hand, despite being a
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bunch of strangers in a vape shop, we, at least, have the common bond of fascination with, and enjoyment of, wonderfully diverse vapor products. A conversation that starts with a technical issue such as “This atomizer doesn't work properly,” may turn into “Here's another option and you should stick with vaping…we can help you.” It is not uncommon for such an exchange to be complemented by input from a customer sitting nearby who offers their experience with vaping and how they succeeded in quitting smoking. Smokers who once felt they had run out of options have now found sanctuary in the abundance of flavors and alternatives offered in a vape shop. There is a loose parallel here to more formal support group models of recovery. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be given consideration in the FDA’s cost/benefit analysis of the deeming regulations. Moreover, it is not something widely discussed in the vapor community. Sadly, the destructive effect of the deeming regulations on vapor businesses will make studying this hypothesis near impossible at least in the United States.
NEW PRODUCTS #13 P 18
THORNS & GRIND Thorns and Grind is a DIY lifestyle clothing brand based out of Los Angeles, California created by pro-BMXer/musician/entertainer Rick Thorne. Thorns and Grind focus is on having fun through self-expression. It’s about being who you are and inspiring others to follow their dreams as Rick Thorne would say, "stay rad." Whether your passion entails sports, music, or art, Thorns and Grind represents the individual motivated and grinding to create the life you want to live. www.rickthorne.tv| www.merchmethod.com/thornsandgrind
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NEW PRODUCTS OCTOBER 2016
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NEW PRODUCTS OCTOBER 2016
PHOTO CREDIT: @MINITESHI
VO Tech is the sister company of Vape Organics, bringing the same high standards and radical innovation to vapor devices. Launching a year ago with the VO chipset, an American design featuring 80 watts of high-quality power and four modes of use, the industry took note. VO Tech has continued to imagine a line of revolutionary vape technology, offering the high-quality and unique eVOlve RDA, the Dagger Temperature Control Mod & other cutting-edge box mods powered by the VO chipset. The newly released VO200 mod and the Eaze Starter Kit promise to continue the tradition of bringing game-changing technology to the forefront. VO Tech is proud to collaborate with industry leaders like Cloud Kicker Society and Carlos Creation, among other valued partners. firstname.lastname@example.org| www.vo.technology | @vo.tech
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NEW PRODUCTS OCTOBER 2016
NAVIGATING THE WATERS WITH BRANDON LEIDEL
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WOR D S BY: R ENE G ALIN D O SN APS BY: ROBERT C AM AC H O WEB: WWW.VAPOR SH AR K.C OM
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The original prototype of what is now the DNA Series mod.
Innovation is the component that has driven the advancement of society since the beginning. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but every improvement on the design makes the journey a little easier. We sit down with the man who has essentially done the same to an industry that has brought about change to vaping Brandon Leidel.
often hear rumblings of how people that think technology today has negatively changed the way people interact with one another and how we live in general. While that statement is 100% true, we aren't talking about checking Facebook statuses, Instagram likes or trying to catch Pokémon. We are talking about disrupting the normalization of our society and elevating it. Our world has always been founded on innovation, creativity and technology are evolution at its core. Case in point, Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Paige, developed Google. While they aren't credited for creating the search engine, they improved on the functionality and literally changed the way the world searches for information. Another example would be Elon Musk. He founded PayPal in 2001, SpaceX in 2002 and Tesla Motors in 2003. Elon has changed how we pay for transactions online and commute. While none of these genius’ can take credit for the invention of the crafts they’ve improved on, nobody can deny they made a better end product. Brandon Leidel of Vapor Shark has changed the game
with his own innovation and contribution within an industry that has helped billions of people quit smoking cigarettes -- the vape industry. While Brandon did not invent e-cigs or vaping, he improved on the design and functionality of how people consume vapor products. As a result, you rarely see cig-alikes or mechanical mod devices anymore in the burgeoning vape industry. Although that’s where the parallels end between our entrepreneurs, Brandon has definitely elevated the vaping experience and changed the game industry wide. The best ideas are usually the ones that solve a problem or are developed out of necessity; which Brandon has covered with the Vapor Shark brand. It was out of desperation to find a working solution to quit smoking which resulted in him wanting to become part of this new industry. With a shortage of viable electronic devices, Brandon knew he needed to be involved in this industry. “They didn't work very well, but I thought it was a great idea. That’s really what sparked my interest in this new product. I stuck with those,
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"WE’VE ALWAYS TRIED TO INNOVATE WHEREVER POSSIBLE AND WE’RE CONTINUALLY TRYING TO DO THAT EVEN WITH PRINTING A DEVICE OR TECHNOLOGY LIKE AUGMENTED REALITY AND WHO KNOWS WHAT NEXT."
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even though it didn't get me off cigarettes, but they got me interested”, says Brandon when asked about vaping options in 2009. Although not the quick fix he had hoped for, it sparked an interest that grew into something more. Armed with years of experience in technology and marketing coupled with a desire to quit smoking and interest in a promising product, it just made sense. Brandon started putting together a business plan and in 2010 launched the eCommerce site VaporShark.com. Vapor Shark offered a wide variety of vape products and was well received among the growing vaping community. With the success of his online property and growing demand for his products, the only logical thing to do was to open a brick
and mortar store. In the spring of January 2012, Vaporshark opened the doors to its first location which is now; one of the largest vapor franchises in the world today. Fast forward to 2016 post-FDA regulation, Brandon’s business ventures continue to thrive and innovate through creativity and technology aimed to constantly provide the end-user an elevated experience. We sit with Brandon Leidel to talk about the current state of the union, his newfound interest in botanicals and how a 16-year-old drummer from Miami navigated Florida’s proverbial shark-invested waters and launched a vape empire that changed an industry forever.
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The top floor of the Vapor Shark headquarters.
Tell me how you got started vaping? I had an internet marketing company back in 2008, and then around 2010 after the birth of my first son I decided that I wanted to quit smoking. I was a pack-a-day smoker for many years and tried to quit countless times, but I couldnâ€™t do it. One day while I was at the mall (because back then you could only find them in the mall kiosks or the deep trenches of the Internet) I discovered e-cigs. It was funny because the kiosk workers would aggressively try to push them on you get you to try them, but they wouldnâ€™t even put a piece of rubber on the tip! So, everyone was basically sucking on the same one, it was kind of weird [laughs]. So, that was my first experience. I knew I
wanted to quit, I just didn't know how. What was your first impression of e-Cigs? The early models didn't work very well, but I thought it was a revolutionary idea. The concept, more than the execution of the product is what really sparked my interest. Even though they didn't get me off cigarettes, I stuck with cig-alikes because I believed there was potential for something great. After a while, I started getting into bigger and better devices that were being sold online. I graduated to an Ego, and after that I knew I really wanted to get into this business. I starting spending some time coming up with ideas and putting together a business plan. It was at
this time that we came up with the name Vapor Shark. Did you start off with a brick and mortar store right off the bat? No, we started off selling on Craigslist and then built a website in 2011. We were selling online for a little over a year before launching into retail. We opened the doors of our first store in January 2012.
Where science and technology merge
How was it received by the public? When we opened up, e-cigs were still fairly new; it was a tough sell in the beginning. People didn't understand what they were.
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The mods we had were big and looked similar to cigars. We chose not to carry the small cig-alikes (like the) ones youâ€™d see at convenience stores. Instead. we sold devices that we thought would help users quit smoking. Oftentimes, customers would walk through the door and walk right out because they thought they were too big. Over time that got easier and easier. What did you do to bring awareness to vaping and educate the public? Once we made enough money, we started doing TV advertising and that really helped to blow us up. We were the only guys in
South Florida doing that at the time, and it resulted in lines out the door every day. I mean we were doing about $20,000 a day in sales in one retail location. A year later, we opened another store in the next city over: Hallandale. After opening several more locations, we realized we needed to grow faster. We wanted to give other people the opportunity to own Vapor Shark stores, so we decided to franchise them in order to accelerate the business. It worked; within a few short years we had over 40 stores, including one in Shanghai and one in Guatemala. Currently the majority are here in South Florida, but we are still ex-
panding with a new store opening almost every month. You guys are legendary because of your DNA series mods. What prompted you to develop your own devices? We knew that in order to stick around and be successful we had to make our own devices. In the beginning, we were just slapping our name on existing products that were built over seas. Even though we had some control over making changes to products, they were never really our own. We made minor changes like adding a regulated battery and battery life indicator,
Geniuses' at work. "There are no shortcuts in evolution"
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but what we really wanted was to make our own products. So as soon as we were able to get the funds, we put together a team and started making our own mod. I actually made the first prototype and I still have it. It was a box mod made out of a 9 volt battery box which I sent out for improvements. The end result was our first release: the DNA 20 box mod. Each new mod we made was an evolution of the previous one with improvements constantly being made. We’ve always tried to innovate wherever possible. Like with ModFusion our customized device printing and implementing technology like augmented reality. Who knows what’s next? We’ll do whatever we can to innovate within the FDA regulations. Trying to be, and then becoming a tech company has always been at our core.
Another one of Brandon's business ventures - The Green Spot
Being as successful as you are, do you ever get backlash from the vape industry? Oh yeah definitely, like when we tested everyone's e-liquid. We weren’t saying what’s good and what’s bad, we just said here’s the results. I
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"I JUST ALWAYS ASSUMED PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS WERE WAY BETTER THAN A NATURAL PRODUCT AND THAT PROBABLY IS TRUE IN MANY CASES, BUT THERE IS STILL A LOT OF VALUE AND EFFICACY IN NATURAL PRODUCTS. " feel like if you buy something you should be able to see what’s in it, you know? You have the right to know what you’re vaping and if there’s anything potentially harmful in it. We were just trying to create transparency and we had to kickstart it. It had been 8 months since we removed potentially harmful ingredients from our liquids and people were lagging behind and weren't taking transparency seriously, so we thought the only way to get through to people would be to just do it. It kind of forced the issue because without pressure people weren’t going to take the initiative to be transparent. Yeah, so we kinda kick started that and it pissed off a lot
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of people. Now looking back, everyone is really appreciative and it’s become a standard thing. The TPD has banned Diacetyl and I assume the FDA will create limits on it as well. Self regulation, I've always believed in that. We don’t always have to wait for the FDA. We can do things that are reasonable on our own without being forced. Where do you see the vape industry in the next 3 years? Over the next couple of years, there’s going to be a lot of consolidation. Companies will join forces to become a stronger, single company. Obviously a lot of companies won’t
be able to make it, and unfortunately most of them are just going to fall off the radar. There are too many SKU’s at this point, so there is some good that will come out of this. I don't even know if we’ll make it. Who knows? It’s going to be tough for everyone. We’ve hired consultants and spent a lot of money on this, and will continue to do so. It’s just a little easier for us because we have an in-house scientist who can help with all the appropriate paperwork that’s needed for FDA submissions. We’re in the process of doing it with just our top ten e-liquid flavors right now, but we have over 40. That’s what’s going to happen to a lot of the companies that
Brandon Leidel CEO | Vapor Shark shot on location
do stick around. They’re going to pick the top sellers and not waste money on the others. This will improve the quality of SKU’s across the whole industry, but it will be costly. Back in 2008, did you ever think you’d be where you are now with Vapor Shark and having this success? Oh no way, not at all. This is really cool. Now I have the opportunity to focus more time on my band and make better recordings. It’s also allowed me to pursue ideas and follow my dreams, like with Green Spot for instance. It opened up a huge amount opportunity for me, my friends, my family, and everyone around me. I am very grateful.
A couple of years ago I discovered CBD through Cannavest. I ran into one of these guys at a trade show and he gave me a couple of samples to mess around with. I couldn’t believe how great it worked, so that kind of turned me on to botanicals overall. I’ve had substance abuse problems in my past, I mean I’ve tried everything including weed, but I’ve been sober
Let’s talk about your other business -Green Spot Botanicals.
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"SELF-REGULATION, I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED IN THAT. WE DON’T ALWAYS HAVE TO WAIT FOR THE FDA. WE CAN DO THINGS THAT ARE REASONABLE ON OUR OWN WITHOUT BEING FORCED TO DO IT." TOKEWELL MAGAZINE
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for about 10 years. So a couple of years ago, I liked the idea of trying CBD because it didn't have any THC and I felt that maybe I can get away with doing that [laughs] I tried that, and it made me think about what other plants are out there that we don’t know about, you know? Then I found Kava, and that led me down the path to a few other ones and now, I’ve just been really interested in botanical products. I always thought that they were ineffective snake oil until I tried them. I just assumed pharmaceutical products were way better than a natural product. That probably is true in many cases, but there is still a lot of value and efficacy in natural products. All of this newfound knowledge is what made me look into doing a business, not only for helping people medicinally but recreationally as well. Tell me about Moon Pigeon. Well I’ve been in bands since I was like 16. A couple of years ago some guys I used to play with started working with me and that’s what brought us back together. We started playing again and eventually formed a new band called “Moon Pigeon”. That was back in 2014 when we started, and in 2015 we recorded an EP that you can find
on most music services like iTunes. I mean I’ve always played and this is our newest band. We’re kind of getting old (laughs) but we’re out there doing it. We love music and love making music so hopefully we can do something with it. What are your thoughts on the looming legalization of cannabis? I think it’s great, personally I can’t use it for the real full spectrum [laughs] but I think it’s great. People should be able to use it, and I have no problem with that at all. Over time, I think it will be legal. Florida is going to vote on this pretty soon and I think it’s going to pass. It only lost by a few percent last time, so I think it’ll be for medicinal use at first and then it’ll go from there. Part of Green Spot’s plan is to hopefully become a dispensary if we can. We’re already selling all these other plants, so it only makes sense to be able to sell that too. Whether we can or not is in question, but it’s definitely something we’d want to do. From a business perspective, there’s money to be made, but I truly believe in it and want people to experience some of these natural plants including that one. So, I’m hopeful that it changes here and we can play a part in that to some degree.
The Green Spot's recreation area.
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ZIGGY MARLEY ONE PLANET. ONE HUMANITY. ONE LOVE. WOR D S BY: R IC H AR D C OYL E S N A PS BY: Z AC H WEINBERG Â© T U FF G ONG WORL DW IDE , L L C
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“FAMILY LIFE, IF YOU CAN GET IT RIGHT, IS LIKE INSPIRATION OR A REVELATION. IF YOU HAVE A GOOD FAMILY LIFE, IT HELPS EVERYTHING OUT IN LIFE. IT’S VERY IMPORTANT.”
He is transcendent — clearly, for his music, but in a broader sense, he has “transcended race, and pop culture.” With each strum of his guitar, his entire existence bridges the gap between mainstream America and the entire world. We sit with living legend Ziggy Marley to talk about his passion for humanity, what prompted him to publish a cookbook, and why imminent cannabis legalization is "waking up to the truth"
nless you’ve been living under a rock for the past quarter century, you're familiar with Ziggy Marley the son of music legend and icon Bob Marley. Ziggy is a seven-time Grammy and Emmy award winner, humanitarian, author, singer, songwriter and producer. Often times, picking up the proverbial baton and recommencing the legacies of megastar parents is more challenging than blazing your own trail, but unlike the offspring of influential icons like Michael Jordan and Bruce Lee, Ziggy Marley has extended and elevated the legacy of the Marley namesake with his own unequivocal success. Ziggy is certified reggae royalty as well as a committed humanitarian; some would even call him a living legend. He’s released six studio albums, been on Sesame Street and performed alongside Paul McCartney - not many artists can stake that claim. Most importantly, Ziggy preaches compassion, love and being good to your fellow man through his music and entrepreneurial endeavors. One thing that is clear: nothing Ziggy does is solely for monetary benefit, as evidenced when he talks about his many business projects.
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Old music used to mean something. There is none of that today.
Being philanthropic is embedded in his DNA. In early 2001, Ziggy shifted his focus and became more politically engaged, serving as a Goodwill Youth Ambassador for the U.N., and creating a label in Jamaica called Ghetto Youths to assist the children there. Having been active in the Bob Marley Foundationâ€™s causes, including Africa Unite, Ziggy would later expand his goals to benefit others by creating his own foundation, U.R.G.E., in 2007, designed to help underprivileged children and give them the opportunity to attend school. Marley would also continue his altruistic efforts for other organizations such as the Nancy Davis Foundation, Little Kids
Rock, and many others, which makes perfect sense - after all, when Bob Marley, Ziggy's father, passed, he parted these final words to his son, something weâ€™d all do well to remember: "Money can't buy life." We all know Ziggy Marley as one of the most influential musicians of our time, one whose message has always been to come together and make this world a better place. Ziggy takes time from his extensive touring schedule to sit with us and talk about balancing his career, family, and why the United States' legalization of cannabis will be an awakening for all of us.
Reggae music is not an easy music to like when it comes to the power in society. 'Cause it talks about changing society. You won't find it readily accepted.
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You're on the last leg of your 2016 Tour, how has that been? We’re getting ready to go there but what we have done so far is good. Were having a good time and people are getting the message. You’re very family focused. Tell us about your children's book “I Love You Too” I have seven kids, 4 younger ones who I spend a lot of time with. Family’s become a building block. Family life if you can get it right is like inspiration or revelation. If you have a good family life, it helps everything out in life. It’s very important. So I wrote I
love you which was based upon a song I wrote from my kid's album called Family Time. Tell us about your Ziggy Marley and Family cookbook? The cookbook was really fun to do. Not just with my relatives but friends too and extended friends. Everybody kind of had their input and gave recipes my sister, my wife, my mother-in-law. It was a big family endeavor and I'm glad to share that with everybody.
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What was the inspiration behind the cookbook? One day I was cooking some fish I was cooking, I didn't have my recipe and I was making it up as I was going and put in this ingredient here, what else do I have in the kitchen that I could use like coconut milk and I tasted it and was like wow! This is really good [laughs] I called my friend and said hey, I'm going to send you a picture so I took the picture and sent it and said, this is called the coconut dream fish let's make a recipe! I love cooking and creating and thought let's do a book! Is there an emphasis of healthy, organic cooking?
It's healthy but it's not about preaching to the people. It’s healthy. This is the recipe and it uses organic ingredients, come and join us. We don't preach about the food itself or the ingredients. Can you talk to us about your vape pen? It's a partnership. It's business yes, but there's a charitable aspect to it. There a reason why we do it. Not just a product. It’s reaching people and the more people we can reach, the better. Make people's lives better. Tell us a little about Ziggy Marley Organics? My own coconut lines, hemp seeds, coconut oil, lemon, ginger, curry, almond orange. In the medical world, they just found out that it's good for but in jamaica, we been using that year. We don't even have a lab. It’s non-GMO, we have hemp seeds. Again, it's a platform for us to share. As busy as you are, what other projects do you have going on right now? The only other project I have right now is going on in my head. That’s going to be something on the screen. I have some creative ideas I want to express on screen for the next year.
WE TALK ABOUT MARIJUANA FROM THE SMOKING SIDE OF THE PLANT OR THE MEDICINAL SIDE OF THE PLANT, AND THEN THERE'S ALSO THE INDUSTRIAL SIDE OF THE PLANT. WE NEED TO UTILIZE EVERY SIDE OF THE PLANT - IT HAS AN ENTIRE STORY THAT WE SHOULD BE LISTENING TO.”
My dream is to live a good life and be loving, be close to God and be a good human being and bring peace to people.
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“PHILANTHROPY IS A FANCY WORD FOR CHARACTER AND BEING GOOD HUMAN BEINGS.” Can you talk to us about your philanthropic organizations like URGE? Philanthropy is a fancy word for character and being good human beings. The URGE organization was set up for anybody who wants to get involved or donate to what we do. It’s not necessary to do what we do. We're going to what we do regardless even before we had the organization URGE. This is us. It keeps us informed about what's going on in the world. It’s unlimited resources giving enlightenment. We donate to schools. You know children are the key. What are your thoughts on the US looming legalization of cannabis?
It's good obviously because to demonize the plant and criminalize people who might what to use it in private. I think that the whole world knows that the argument for that is hypocritical. It's good that people are waking up. We can say Legalize it, but it's a waking up to the truth. Legal is terminology that they can decide what is legal or not, but that doesn't mean that it's right. It's a waking up to the truth. Call it more of a cause. Not even that it’s legal, but people can understand about the plant now and the benefits. That's the one thing happening for us that is good for the world. It's a natural resource we can make use of. We talk about marijuana from the smoking side of the plant. The medicinal
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side of the plant There's also the industrial side of the plant as well. To utilize every side of the plant. This plant has a whole story that we should be listening to.
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A Family Affair THE STANLEY BROTHERS WOR D S BY: LEILANI AN D ER SO N SNAPS BY: T H E STAN LEY BROT HE RS WEB: WWW.C WH EM P.C OM
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"Family farms and small businesses are the backbone of our communities" - Tom Allen
hen you think of innovations that changed the course of human history, whose names come to mind? Thomas Edison’s inventions lit up every home, Henry Ford put America on wheels, Alexander Fleming healed the masses with penicillin, and the Wright Brothers helped take people to the skies. Those whose names will remain forever immortal as society’s major innovators are far and few in between. Enter the Stanley brothers - siblings from an Evangelical Christian family of eleven in Colorado, who are changing the face of medical marijuana and setting the standard for the future of alternative medicine. Today, we sat with two of the brothers, Jesse and Joel, to talk about what made them take on the controversial field of medicinal cannabis.
Featured on Dr. Sanjay Gupta's CNN documentary Weed, which focused on a young girl named Charlotte Figi and her family, the Stanley brothers developed a strain of cannabis Sativa known as Charlotte's Web -- a low tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and high cannabidiol (CBD) strain designed to aid patients’ symptoms without getting them high. Following their initial success in treating Charlotte with tinctures made from this strain, the brothers teamed up with her mother, Paige Figi, as well as another patient’s parent, Heather Jackson, and set up the non-profit organization known as Realm of Caring. The ROC was designed to help other families in similar situations that are in need of help and information regarding what some would feel as an absolute last resort source of treatment. From here, the brothers
"ONCE YOU DO THE RESEARCH AND MEET SOMEBODY THAT REALLY NEEDS IT - THAT'S WHEN IT BECOMES REAL; THAT ITâ€™S A VIABLE TREATMENT AND THAT PEOPLE NEED THIS. THAT WAS WHEN WE REALLY STARTED THE EXPLORATION OF HOW WE COULD MAKE THIS BETTER."
have made a name for themselves amongst the epileptic and cancer patient communities, as well as the athletic community. Focusing on quality, safety, and consistency, this family of caregivers has set the bar high and they mean to keep it that way. With the help of people like Paige and Heather, the Stanley brothers are paving the way for the proper education and research into one of western medicine's most untamed frontiers - medicinal cannabis.
A setting for innovation Spending most of their formative years in Colorado Springs, the brothers were raised in a non-denominational Christian community, and consequently, many were taught that marijuana was bad without any scientific backing. As they got older, they turned
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"IT'S HUMBLING TO BE A PART OF, RIGHT PLACE AND RIGHT TIME TYPE THING. PAIGE AND MATT FIGI DEFINITELY PIONEERED A LOT OF THIS FOR US, AND SINCE THEN WE'VE KINDA JUST BEEN STEWARDS OF IT."
The cultivation farm in Wray, Colorado. The farmers from CW Hemp harvesting the hemp plants and preparing them to be dried
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to the oil and gas industry, and when the recession hit, business took a turn for the worst. Being entrepreneurial, big brother Joel Stanley suggested they take a shot at running a dispensary back home. “Colorado was going through its changes and regulatory framework back then and was just screaming business opportunity. But what really sold us is that you could help people," says Jesse Stanley, VP and head of product development. "If God created it, there must be a reason. 2008 hailed a back pain and stubbed toe epidemic in Colorado,” he laughs, “but once you do the research and meet somebody that really needs it - that's when it becomes real; that it’s a viable treatment and that people need this. That was when we really started the exploration of how we could make this better."
Getting into the CBD game After a seeing a study that showed CBD helping slow down cancer development, the brothers began seeking high CBD strains and started their own breeding projects. After numerous strains, they finally came across something they could give to patients who could be treated without getting high. In certain circumstances, they've even given away their medicine to patients - about 200 recipients since 2009."We knew we had something there because a lot of older patients aren't looking (to get high), especially back when marijuana and THC had this huge stigma surrounding it. There still is, but our older patients are I more open to it now, whereas five years ago, they still feared THC and the high and what it might do to people," Jesse says. "Our main goal was to find a
The CW Hemp team hard at work growing, cultivating and farming
high CBD strain, turn it into an oil, and bring an entourage effect of THC and CBD to these patients without getting them high."
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When their cousin was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and given a month to live, the brothers began treatment. He lived another eight months, gaining back much of the weight he'd lost and his quality of life improving significantly. "That's really important, and a lot of people don't understand that," says Jesse. "Just because it doesn't cure you doesn't mean that it doesn't work (in other ways)." Chemotherapy, a more common course of action in treating cancer, doesn't always cure the tumors and more often than not inhibits the quality of life for the patients undergoing treatment. When news of the treatment the brothers were offering got out and what it could do to improve the lives of its recipients, their patient list grew exponentially. "Unfortunately, in our society, everyone knows someone with cancer,â€? Jesse tells us. â€œOnce our story got out, people were bringing their families and introducing us to people."
Meet Charlotte Figi Along came Paige and Charlotte Figi. A friend connected Paige and the brothers, and she told them the story of her five-year-old daughter - a little girl suffering from 300 grand mal seizures a week and unresponsive to medication. With a do-not-resuscitate order signed and all but ready to say their goodbyes, Paige and her husband decided to try one last thing - medical marijuana. After tons of research on Paigeâ€™s part, the brothers agreed to help Paige and her family, whom they credit much of their success to today. "It's humbling to be a part of, right place and right time type thing. Paige and Matt Figi definitely pioneered a lot of this for us, and since then we've kinda just been stewards of it. Paige had done tons of research on CBD. People call us pioneers but she is truly instrumental in all of this. She did tons of research on CBD and all this stuff is out there, there's 20,000 + peer reviewed studies on cannabis, many of which are on CBD," says Jesse. "We were growing medical marijuana
because hemp is illegal, so for us to not only grow it under medical marijuana regulation but to give it to a 5-year-old? We had a joke that we wouldn't look good in orange, but we were aware that she wouldn't get high off of it and this was Paige's last ditch effort, so we gave it a shot. One of the things we pioneered was testing, so Paige her mom was aware of what we and she were giving her which is important." The brothers developed the oral tincture and prescribed it in carefully measured doses, a very different approach from the more common practice of the day - concentrating cannabis and giving it out with a 'take two and call me in the morning attitude. After she started treatment, Charlotte went a week free without a seizure for the first time since her diagnosis. "We were so excited because she's doing better," says Jesse. Under the medical marijuana framework in the state, the brothers are only allowed to grow a certain number of plants per patient under their care. There's almost no money in this, and the brothers had to make a choice following Charlotte's recovery - continue as they were and only produce a tiny bit of this life changing tincture, or give up their THC plants and grow more Charlotte's Web plants. "My brother Joel made the call," Jesse recalls, "because if this was the real deal and news got out, people would need it. He had the foresight to see the medical refugee situation that we would soon be dealing with."
Within the Realm of Caring & Bright Lights Fade With word of Charlotte's Web treatment making its way through the epilepsy community, the brothers knew it was time to make an official treatment program - some way to get industry players involved and to not only spread the word but to provide support both for the cause and for the patients and their families. Heather Jackson, mother of the second responder to Charlotte's Web treatment, volunteered to help these families and help set up the organization and get it running. "Its focus is to collect the families, to provide
resources for these families and their doctors, to help people understand cannabis dosing, and even cannabis in general, not just Charlotte's Web," says Joel Stanley, CEO of the company. "We collect this data so that people have a tool. Imagine being a family turning to cannabis as a last option - maybe you'd like some direction, and there really isn't a whole ton of direction out there. We collect the data back from these families so that we can share what has worked and what dosing protocols may look like based on the experiences of others." The Stanley brothers also decided to take to
the world of athletics following a study that showed the majority of former NFL players would suffer from a condition known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a result of traumatic brain injury suffered during their time in the NFL. Through the ROC organization, the brothers have been able to reach out and discuss research opportunities for the players with John Hopkins University. Bright Lights Fade is a fundraiser set up to raise money for the studies now that they've been approved. "When you find that CBD is particular has a safety profile that looks better than sugar
Scientists at work processing and extracting at the CW Hemp lab in Boulder, Colorado
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"WHEN YOU FIND THAT CBD IS PARTICULAR HAS A SAFETY PROFILE THAT LOOKS BETTER THAN SUGAR AND MORE LIKE VITAMIN C, YOU START TO REALIZE YOU MIGHT HAVE A TOOL IN CBD AND OTHER CANNABINOIDS THAT COULD HELP PREVENT NEURAL DAMAGE DUE TO TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY,"
and more like Vitamin C, you start to realize you might have a tool in CBD and other cannabinoids that could help prevent neural damage due to traumatic brain injury," says Joel. "Some comments we heard were things like, 'Boo-hoo, suck it up.â€™ I've met a lot of these guys, guys who came out with great contracts, and some don't have the income and are dealing with so many medical problems. People don't understand what these guys live with when they give up their bodies for our entertainment. To see these guys get dropped by the league and see that addictive opiates is all they're offered? It's an absolute shame that they're denied this.â€?
asked anyone five years ago whether or not recreational marijuana would get legalized in any state, most wouldn't have believed it. Yet here we are, with more and more proponents pushing for legalization every day. "It's obvious that society sees the hypocrisy and wants it to be legal," says Jesse.
Raising the Bar on Education
That doesn't mean they don't still hit a few bumps along the way, though. "Everyone dodges you, " says Joel. "You don't have the conventional banking options, so it can get really difficult. Another challenge is the public opinion obstacles, which is set by the people out there who are changing the industry due to more exposure. It sucks being a competitor with less exposure. We're lucky, but there are lots of folks in the industry that hold everyone back, and that holds groups like ourselves back. What we need is a consistency of product - the industry needs to step up its game in quality control. It needs to operate at a higher level."
While medical marijuana is becoming more and more accepted, legalization still has a long way to go, and the brothers strongly believe that education is the key to seeing progress in legislation. Cannabidiol is a naturally occurring chemical compound in cannabis, as is tetrahydrocannabinol, and what makes hemp different from medical marijuana is purely the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol in the plant. Charlotte's Web is called medical marijuana, but that simply is not what it is. It is indeed hemp, and to call it by any other name is to do the plant itself a disservice, as well as the community by creating more confusion as to what constitutes hemp versus what constitutes medical marijuana. "Getting people to understand that hemp is not marijuana is difficult to get across because the media lumps them together," suggests Jesse. "And I get it - hemp isn't sexy and medical marijuana is. But what it does and what it can do for our world? Hemp IS sexy. The impact it could have is through the roof - people just need to be properly educated about what it is, and I think we're doing that nowâ€ŚIt's important that the people who are for it to fully understand it and be educated on it, so that they can have the right conversations with people who are against it."
Bumps Along the Way It's an exciting time in the industry. If you
As far as hardships along the way, Joel says things are getting better all the time. "We now have the federal registration that says we're legal and compliant. Our friends and mentors have gone from judgmental pats on the back to understanding what we're doing because they follow the documentaries."
The Future is Brighter than Ever With business ventures being launched in California and Colorado as well as other states as they come along, the Stanley Brothers are definitely expanding their web of social enterprise. Something the brothers have started delving back into is their THC roots. "We're looking to change minds on what people think when they see cannabis or CBD," says Jesse. "We're just looking to give people more options." The brothers believe very strongly in what THC can do and are planning to start a medical marijuana line of products under the Stanley Brothers brand. They will bring the same high-quality products as they do to Charlotte's Web line of treatments, ensuring that they will continue to push for consis-
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"GETTING PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND THAT HEMP IS NOT MARIJUANA IS DIFFICULT TO GET ACROSS BECAUSE THE MEDIA LUMPS THEM TOGETHER." tency in quality. "People really want quality tested, well-packaged goods," according to Jesse. Joel tells us that they will be looking to launch things like everyday wellness beverages, a sports recovery line, and high dosed CBD capsules designed for people in high impact situations. "That's the big one socio-economic changes," according to Jesse. "What this stuff's doing to change peopleâ€™s lives, their health? It's really the full gambit. There's not a lot of products that do that."
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Not many people can make an impact the way this band of brothers has. They're at the forefront of a movement that's already begun to change the political landscape and economics as witnessed in their own home state, and they're a big part of the reason as to why it's changing so quickly nationwide. Cannabis is in the political foreground, and people need to know the difference between weed and CBD. Many still lump it all together, and that's really not what it is, it's very black and white. These guys are the perfect way of introducing the world to the difference. "We need a strong united voice to continue to push this on," says Jesse, who strongly believes that legalization is in the near future. Few who engineer life changing innovations become household names, but the ones that do are the ones who changed the world for the better in big ways. Somewhere in the not so distant future when we think of innovations in medicine and wellness, the world will remember the name Stanley and the family of brothers who helped aid the quality of life for so many. Their names will live forever in the hearts of those whose lives they've not only touched but made better.
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STUDENT OF THE GAME WOR D S BY: LEILANI AN D E RS ON SNAPS BY: TAAD OW6 9K
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espect. Everyone wants it, no one wants to give it, and you can’t simply buy it. It takes commitment, skill, and perseverance to earn respect, and world renown tattoo artist, “Horiyen” Jess Yen has undoubtedly earned it. With his dedication to the Japanese tradition of Tebori (‘hand carved’ tattooing) as well as his family of students, the Taiwan native has breathed life back into a lost generation of tattooing by mastering authentic tools and traditional techniques to preserve an ancient artform that has in recent years become a celebrity-riddled trend rather than a mark of tradition or affiliation.
take on the ‘Hori’ title that is typically passed along to an artist by his or her mentor. “In those days, many people called themselves Hori, including myself before I understood what it meant. I thought it was a cool name and named myself “Horiyen” - ‘Hori’ means ‘to tattoo’ or ‘to carve’, ‘Yen’ being the English pronunciation of my last name. I was training my students and wanted the respect of a teacher.” Realizing that he could not officially take the name without a master’s blessing, Horiyen turned to his mentor and asked him to recognize his name, wanting to properly gain the title he had worked so hard to earn. “I am very honored (that he did).”
Although he officially began his tattooing apprenticeship in 1989, Horiyen has been fascinated with tattoos since his early teens. Starting with nothing more than calligraphy ink and brushes, he and his classmates would draw on each other in class, eventually entertaining the idea of making the ink stick rather than washing it off. “It wasn’t my real start, but that was my first time - just messing around, having fun and drawing on each other.” He’d always had a knack for drawing, but not quite the same ability to design and create from his mind. “I was blessed with these skills to draw or copy what I saw in front of me, that has never been difficult. But the real challenge was to draw something from my mind.”
Beyond being a master of this ancient byhand technique, the title is also a testament to his character, for it is not given based on skill alone. Opening his first shop in the early ‘90s amidst the height of gang violence, Horiyen worked hard to build the shops he has today. When he took over one of the first tattoo shops in the San Gabriel Valley, tensions were high amongst the artists. Unlike today, where people from all walks of life have a little ink here and there, the ‘90s takes us back to an era where tattoos were still very gang related, as were the artists.“Everyone was of different races and cultures,” he recalls. “And most of the guys there liked my style and I liked theirs, so we had a mutual respect for each other. But running a business can be a difficult job sometimes, and the number one difficulty was people. When I took over, I was a Taiwanese F.O.B. whose English wasn't all that great, and there were artists still working there (from previous ownership), and everyone had a history. These were artists with gang backgrounds, and sometimes things got heated with all that pride and ego. The hardest part of the job was keeping the peace.”
Horiyen has come a long way since his childhood years. He has since expertly crafted his own style - an illustrative Oriental Realism that has been recognized the world over. With over 500 awards and recognized in at least 30 different countries worldwide, this master of ink wants nothing more than to do the best job he can by the people that count most - his students and his clients. His trophy case may be full but it can’t match the amount of love he has for his students and the dedication he has to be the best artist he can be. Inspired by the works of artists like Filip Leu and Jack Mosher, Horiyen was most influenced by Horiyoshi III, a big name in the traditional art of Tebori. He even looked to
Realizing he couldn’t continue to run his shop with his own artists continuing to butt heads, Horiyen developed a philosophy and attempted to unify the staff, however, he could, even if it meant rebuilding from the ground up. “This company, like our country, is made up of different kinds of people with their own race, their own pride. For me to
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ACTUALLY, THERE ARE SO MANY ARTISTS THAT HAVE INFLUENCED ME, BUT HONESTLY, THE BIGGEST INFLUENCE COMES FROM MY OWN STUDENTS. ALL THOSE GREAT ARTISTS THAT CONTRIBUTE AND SHARE THEIR TALENTS AND LIFE EXPERIENCES, I CAN LEARN FROM AND THEYâ€™RE AMAZING! BUT MY OWN STUDENTS HAVE THE STRONGEST EFFECT.
run a shop with all these different personalities was difficult because we didn’t all operate under a similar belief. To make an artist set pride aside and talk straight art or collective identity can be difficult - artists don’t always want to listen to someone else. Sometimes it’s hard to talk to them because they all want to do their own thing, and I’m an artist too, so I understand that...I can’t make everyone in the shop agree with my philosophy, so the best way was to break it down and start with a brand new team. My coworkers were very understanding and respectful when I suggested they might find a better future elsewhere.”
One of Horiyen's many impeccable hand-drawn works of art.
Horiyen’s mentoring may remind some of a drill instructor rather than a teacher He hosts his students with strict regimens that most aspiring artists will never experience - guidelines such as no dating, dietary restrictions, long work days and a uniform are the norm. While it may seem extreme, this living
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legend insists that it is only because these are the same disciplines he himself has learned and still uses today. You’ll find him right alongside his students at his My Tattoo studios in Alhambra and Huntington Beach, where his current family of apprentices are striving in their own pursuit of impeccable excellence. Jess Yen, above all else, exudes appreciation for where his life as well as his love of ink has taken him. Never once did he seek fame nor fortune, just enough to keep the shop running. Having arrived in this country with two suitcases and some petty
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cash to becoming one of the world’s most famous artists, Horiyen has come so far and considers himself blessed. “Sometimes, you don’t really have a purpose, and just want to make sure you do your job right. I like doing tattoos, and I just want to make people happy. I didn’t plan on doing beautiful work to become famous, I just wanted to make sure that whoever comes to me gets the best quality work...I am a student of karma, I feel that everything you do will come back to you.” Adhering to this principle, it’s safe to say that many more blessings will come the way of this talented artist.Horiyen took a day out of his busy schedule (appointments
are booked nearly four years in advance!) to educate us on the finer points of art, life, the industry, inspiration, and the future. What made you decide to move to the States? Was it to become an artist? It’s easier to gain opportunities for yourself in the United States than it is in Asia, so initially, I came here to get my Master’s Degree in Interior Design. I trained in interior design as a Fine Arts Major with Emphasis in Realism back in Taiwan, but I was accepted to several schools in the U.S. I was also accepted into OTIS for their Master’s Degree program but it was very expensive.
A trophy collection that the Lakers and Celtics collectively would be envious of.
The trifecta of Horiyen's full body suits.
[$35,000 per year.] I tried to get a job and do whatever I could, and my family did all they could to support me, but we simply ran out of money. I couldn’t go back to Taiwan or I would ‘lose face.’ I was basically stuck here and I was determined to be a success for myself and for my family. I wanted to do interior design but all I could do to survive was custom drawings and tattooing. I did portraits every weekend on the 3rd street promenade and the pier in Santa Monica.
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Were you able to find tattoo work? I had a studio apartment in the San Gabriel Valley, and the only car I had was broken down. I had no money to fix it and at the time, I could barely speak English, so I began thinking of ways to survive. One trick I learned was to get a membership to a gym. People at gyms care about their bodies and how they look, and it’s an ideal place to try and get tattoo clients. More importantly, I figured that if I got evicted because I couldn’t pay rent, I could always take a shower at the gym! [laughs] I had met an Irish guy named Eric, who much later on would do piercings at my shop, and he hung out at a bar named Kelly’s and invited me to hang out, too. Had you begun using a regular needle at this time, or were you still doing Tebori? I was still doing Tebori, I didn’t get a needle until 1999. My girlfriend, who is now my wife, had gone to Venice beach to get a tattoo of my name, and when I watched the tattoo machine, I thought it was amazing how fast it allowed the artist to work. I asked my girlfriend, Donna, to buy the machine online for me. The strangest thing was that when the machine came in the mail, I assembled it right away with no instructions, it was like déjà vu or that I had somehow done it before in a past life. You expect a lot out of your students, and it's said that you can be pretty rough on them. How come? There’s a right way to treat people and while I can be tough on my family, it is only because I want to make them stronger. They make me who I am and I think
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your family is the most important thing. The one thing I always tell my family is that you never leave your family behind, ever. You don’t want to step on someone’s head going to the top; you want to hold their hands on the way up! Tell us more about the philosophy you and your students work by. I always say that tattoos are a two man show. Customers pay you, they are your boss. They’re paying you, they appreciate your art and actively sought you out in order to trust their skin to your skill. We’re not just artists; we’re designers.
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Speaking of artists, besides Horiyoshi III, who’s your biggest influence? Actually, there are so many artists that have influenced me, but honestly, the biggest influence comes from my own students. All those great artists that contribute and share their talents and life experiences, I can learn from and they’re amazing! But my own students have the strongest effect. When you teach your own students, you watch them use your influence to create their own pieces. You’ll see shadows of your style, but what they develop becomes better than yours, and you learn from them - it starts a good type of competition. You teach them and they learn, then they show you how they’ve grown from what you’ve taught them, and they want you to be proud of their creations. Then you learn from that they’ve created, and as a teacher you take what you learned from them and show them something better, and the cycle just keeps going. Tebori is a lost art these days, but you recognized the beauty in this tradition. How did Horiyoshi III come to recognize you? I have the utmost respect for not only the discipline but for the tradition and for Horiyoshi III. I wanted to be traditional, rather than have a name that meant nothing. ‘Hori’ doesn’t only mean ‘carving’, it is a mark of pride, and before I could ask other people to respect it, I had to respect myself enough to earn it (the right way).
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PREMIUM WHOLESALE BRANDS
So I went to Yokohama, Japan to see him. He invited me to dinner and at the end of it, I asked him kindly to recognize my family and he said, ‘Yes, no problem. I give it to you. From now on, if anyone has a question, I will tell them that I recognize your name as a family in the United States and that you are a Taiwanese man who practices Tebori.’ I am honored by this as I have been close to Horiyoshi’s godson for years, and Horiyoshi’s son stays with me when he comes to the States.
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Tell us more about your personal style, this Illustrative Oriental Realism. I like my work to be textured and dimensional and I like to merge that with the Asian influence. In tattooing there are different disciplines, Black and Gray with guys like Jose Lopez, Steve Soto, Bob Tyrell, Color with guys like Nikko and Jesse Smith, Dark Images as well, and I choose to try and bring all of the disciplines together, Black and gray realism, color, traditional Oriental and Realism Oriental. I do all things because I like the challenge, even though I still practice Tebori.
What can we expect from you in the near future? What’s next for Jess Yen? I want to open a shop in the west side, close to Hollywood. Tons of people, great opportunity to grow. I also have some big name sponsors that I’m collaborating with, such as CAM Tattoo Supplies, H2Ocean Aftercare, and Internal Ink. We’re have Jess Yen Tattoo Machines and are working on Jess Yen Needles, as well as rotary machines, coil machines, color sets, stuff like that. I’m trying to bring the experience I’ve gained over the last 20 years in the industry to the products and make them better. As an artist, if you want to do good work, you need the right tools first.
THERE’S A RIGHT WAY TO TREAT PEOPLE AND WHILE I CAN BE TOUGH ON MY FAMILY, IT IS ONLY BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE THEM STRONGER. THEY MAKE ME WHO I AM AND I THINK YOUR FAMILY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING.
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Classic Man WITH DANIEL K. NELSON WOR D S BY: C H AR N PR EM YOD HIN SN APS BY: LEAH M OR IYAM A
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The man himself, Daniel K. Nelson
ot that he needs an introduction, Frank Sinatra was a singer, actor, and producer who was one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Sinatraâ€™s name has been firmly implanted in pop culture and is synonymous with fashion, hustling, talent and most notably, doing things His way. Sinatra's style and music are transcended genres and his influences are ubiquitous as evidenced in today's fashion and swagger (just in case you wondered why fedoras are so chic). The New York, New York crooner was at the top of his game and made a point to do things his way despite strong opposition from his pundits and naysayers. The beauty lies in the fact that nobody could ever take that away from him. His regrets, failures, and triumphs are all a testament on how he
believed in himself. Consequently, that unwavering belief in himself made him legend and icon he became. We met with a young entrepreneur from New York with the swagger of a young Sinatra and a very similar narrative -- Daniel K. Nelson. Like ol' Blue Eyes, Daniel hails from the east coast and migrated west to pursue his passion of food culture. As a result of his hustle and talent, Daniel had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with arguably the two best restaurants in California's gastronomic hierarchy - Providence and Spago. Under the tutelage of Michael Cimarusti and Donato Poto, Daniel gained invaluable experience along with real-world application on what it took to achieve Michelin Star status. â€œHe and Do-
A few taste tantalizing options from Daniel's menu from The Black Cat.
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nato Poto taught me that in order to operate at that level, everything must work in unison in the entire restaurant whether it's the service, the music, the uniforms, how well the Sommeliers are trained, how pretty the food is, to how nice the china is. Everything has to be on that level - including the cocktailsâ€?, says Nelson. Daniel also worked at one of Cedd Moses' most exclusive Hollywood ultra-lounges - Doheny. Being surrounded by greatness; thus becoming a product of his environment,
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Daniel soon came to the realization that he didn't want to continue to work for somebody else and desired to possess the keys to his own destiny. Just like Frank Sinatra leaving Capitol records to start his own label, Daniel opted to take his act solo and opened up a wildly successful bar called the Writers Room on the famed Hollywood Boulevard. Today, Daniel doesn't answer to anybody but himself and keeps busy with television hosting gigs, managing the famed Black Cat, and many
other projects he has going on simultaneously. When Daniel isn't on tour for Hot Rod racing his sub-10 second Henry J drag car, he’s tending to several of his entrepreneurial ventures from coast-to-coast. Having said that, there appears to be no end to his genius and he’s clearly enjoying the fruits of his success. "I'm a classic man. You can be mean when you look this clean. I'm a classic man. Calling on me like a young OG, I'm a classic man."
You can literally hear Jidenna’s jam blaring from loudspeakers like a personalized soundtrack as we watched Daniel K, Nelson pull up in his 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Coupe (which ironically sort of happened) during our shoot with this impeccably sharped dressed entrepreneur from Hollywood, California at the famous Black Cat off the famed Sunset Blvd. We sit with this contemporary throwback to the days of the Rat Pack and talk about his affinity for fashion, gastronomy, The genius of his mixology on full display
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Daniel in his 1929 Mercedes SSK coupe. The epitome of Hollywood swag
cannabis-infused craft cocktails and why he has an obsession with orphan automobiles. You seem well traveled. Are you from California? I’ve been here in Southern California for about 12 years. I’m originally from New York. I spent a great deal of my childhood in Europe. My dad had a company in both Ireland and New York, so; I spent my childhood going back and forth from Ireland and the USA. Being a restaurateur, what are the keys to running a successful business? Hospitality. Service is one small portion of the whole machine. It’s really hospitality which encompasses all of those things. It's the food, it’s the service, the art displayed,
and even the music we play. The lighting of the whole space. How we treat our staff. Everything does come from the top. Failed establishments are usually poorly managed which creates bad servers. Anyones boss sucks Nobody wants to work or clock into a job, but you gotta do it, and it should be fun. Be mature enough to leave whatever problems you have at the door. Then again, if you leave it at the door and walk into an environment that's already fucked up then, it just amplifies things. You can see that in any restaurant. It's the little things. That's hospitality. How did you get into the bar side of the business? To be totally honest, I was a drunk. Basically, I was going out all the time and a lot
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of my friends were in hospitality - creative types. I was at a bar at closing every night and I thought I might as well get paid for it [laughs] My friends in NY were opening bars at the time and I knew I was handy because I liked to restore cars, and all sorts of things, Most of the bars and hospitality projects I get involved,with have a history to it. I mean the Black Cat has tons of history. Some of them their refrigeration wasn't working so, Iâ€™d be working on them and the next thing you know, they're opening the bar and they're like fuck it, just stay behind the bar [laughs] What prompted you to take a craft cocktail type of approach to the bar scene? When I moved to LA I was looking for a job and about 12 years ago, there really wasn't
"THE FASHION THING IS THE SAME AS EATING OR DRINKING. THESE ARE THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO EVERY DAY. YOU HAVE TO GET UP AND GET DRESSED, YOU HAVE TO GET SOMEWHERE, SO YOU GOTTA DRIVE. YOU HAVE TO EAT. THESE ARE THINGS WE HAVE TO DO. SO, IF YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, YOU MIGHT AS WELL MAKE IT REALLY FUN AND TASTY."
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Relaxing in his penthouse view overlooking the city he runs
a craft cocktail movement. My first job in LA was at Providence (Michael Cimarusti is like a sensei to me) I learned so much from him. He taught me what it took to achieve Michelin star status. He and Donato Poto taught me that in order to operate at that level, everything must work in unison from the entire restaurant whether it's the service, the music, the uniforms, how well the Sommeliers are trained, to how pretty the food is, to how nice the china is. Everything has to be on that level - including the cocktails. If youâ€™re having this first growth Bordeaux and fish flown in from wherever, then you're serving gin and tonics (and not in the really cool Spanish way) but gin and tonic from a gun, it just doesn't compute. The point of being a Michelin style restaurant is to elevate everything. How did the Black Cat come into fruition? I really started working heavily in the nightlife bar scene and met Cedd Moses. I worked for Cedd at his ultra-private club called the Doheny across from Staples Center. Then I just got sick of working for some-
body else and I started doing consulting gigs and worked for pretty much all the brands behind a bar. I was educating bartenders and consumers all over the country. But I really wanted to work for myself. Then I had an opportunity in Hollywood with some people I had known for a long time to open up a nightclub with a speakeasy component called the Writers Room I never referenced it as a speakeasy, I always called it a speak loudly [laughs] It wasn't a bar you were going to get shhh'd in. You were dancing and drinking. I spent a few years in the Hollywood bar scene and I realized I wanted to get back into restaurants. I do love cocktails, but it's because I love food and I was eating at all these fancy restaurants and going out and that's what introduced me to cocktails. Youâ€™re the virtuoso of canna-infused cocktails. It seems like there would be a lot of opportunity in that space. After spending over a decade in the liquor industry is. There are quite a few hurdles to overcome from the county, the mayor, the liquor control boards and different things,
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"THE POINT OF BEING A MICHELIN STYLE RESTAURANT IS TO ELEVATE EVERYTHING." Alchohol is unbelievably regulated. Marijuana will hopefully be legal this November and it’s going to be interesting to see who controls the regulation of marijuana. What I have to go through to open a restaurant in a residential neighborhood it’s a herculean task. That's what it feels like working with the city. Yes, it will be legalized, but it will be heavily regulated. Will establishments be able to serve both? Will serving marijuana affect my liquor license? Will marijuana be more heavily taxed? That's what happens with these omnibus laws. So yes, let's get the recreational passed, but about regulation. That’s the interesting part.
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You’re an incredibly sharp-dressed man. Give us an insight to your fashion sense? The fashion thing is the same as eating or drinking. These are things you have to do every day. You have to get up and get dressed, you have to get somewhere, so you gotta drive. You have to eat. These are things we have to do. So, if you have to do something, you might as well make it really fun and tasty, and an experience and really enjoy it. That's how I approach everything. You’re a well-known certified gearhead. How did you become so passionate about cars? My dad would always have a Sunday car. So we'd fix up a T-Bird and play with it for a couple years, go to shows and then get a new project. Find a Volkswagen, screw around with that for a few years and then on to the next and get something different. When I moved out to LA, at the time, you could get a 65 Mustang coupe for a couple grand which was the price of a used Camry. So, do I get a used Camry or get the 65 and have some real fun. That really started the most intense bug of my automotive passion. I really started getting into it. When my dad and I were restoring cars, we always kept them stock. About 10 years ago, I found that it was possible apply modern technology to vintage cars like the
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full suspension, motor swaps, AC, power steering, and disc brakes and there were kits for all of this. So, now I have this old car that drives new and it's bitchin! That's when I really got excited about the industry. I've always been a collector and I always liked fixing things like my bar projects being in historical buildings.
Pearse posted up. The Robin to his Batman
Talk to us about your latest passion project - the Henry J. The Henry-J is really cool. Some people see a stray dog on the side of the street with bitten ears and they just have to rescue it. That's how I am with rusty old cars. I see a car that needs a little love on the side of the street, I take it home [laughs] The Henry J, we found in a backyard here in SoCal and it's been just sitting there for 60 years. I just saw the potential in it. Dave and I had this idea of a mixed breed of a gasser-meets-pro
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street drag car. I’ll be driving at Hot Rod's Drag week (7 cities and 7 drag tracks) One of the rules is none of the cars can be trailered there. It actually has to drive from track to track. No support vehicles or trailers and you always have to pull a trailer full of your equipment. That’s what the Henry J is being built for. It has to pull the trailer and hit sub 10 secs in the ¼ mile. What is it about orphan makes that attract you? I have a car bucket list, but cars, they seem to find me at swap meets or auctions and if it's a good deal, I just have to get it. I love orphan makes. I like things that disappear. I really believe in working with artists and specialists as like a producer or director. Everybody has their specialty I can bring all these different crafts together, My passion is really finding the projects.
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Published on May 18, 2017