These Slick Sneakers Fuse Tattooed Skin, Ink and Chinese Art

tattoo temple
House of Future x Tattoo Temple collaborate on a shoe collection.
Courtesy of House of Future.

At Hong Kong’s Tattoo Temple, the waiting list for a session of body ink is booked through 2018. In fact, the designs are so coveted that clients can opt to have their full-body or half-body tattooed skin removed upon death and preserved — possibly in the studio’s forthcoming museum.

But for those who want to rock the ink on their feet, perhaps over socks, its first collaborative shoe with Los Angeles-based label House of Future is now available for $120 online.

tattoo temple joey pang House of Future x Tattoo Temple’s “Black Dragon” sneaker; $120. Courtesy of House of Future.

The limited-run collection features three high-top sneakers that incorporate original artwork by Tattoo Temple’s founder and art director Joey Pang. The styles nod traditional Chinese paintings and include symbols such as the lotus and dragon emblazoned on a micro-leather upper and Tyvek — a durable, paper-like spunbonded olefin sheet.

Pang told Footwear News that the collection has been in development for more than a year, and the high-top silhouette eased the transition from designing for a human body onto a sneaker. The Tyvek material helped to “sharply re-create” the fine details of the art.

tattoo temple joey pang House of Future x Tattoo Temple’s “White Lotus” sneaker; $120. Courtesy of House of Future.

“In many ways, we create art for three-dimensional surfaces and there are similarities between skin and other dynamic canvases,” Pang said. “The most complex portion comes from structure. We are so familiar with creating artwork for — or with — the human figure that when reimagining compositions for products there are completely new considerations around how the artwork ties together and influences the whole.”

Pang established her tattoo studio in 2006 and is known for her use of Chinese calligraphy and striking abstract designs.

tattoo temple joey pang House of Future x Tattoo Temple’s “Black Lotus” sneaker; $120. Courtesy of House of Future.

The Black Lotus and White Lotus sneakers were created using watercolor-ink brush, she said, explaining that it implements “the Chinese design philosophy of the negative spaces valued as much as the primary focal points.” The Black Dragon shoe was created using pens and a fine-tipped ink brush, Pang added.

“This is an exciting collaboration not only for Tattoo Temple’s dedicated cult of fans, but also for people wanting to experience and own a part of Joey Pang’s artistic vision,” House of Future’s creative director Stuart Ahlum said.

The minimalist West Coast brand released on Friday two new styles of its core Original Hi Top ($120) and Original Low Top ($110) in white with maroon accents.