Meet the Tattoo Artist to the Stars - NBC Southern California

Meet the Tattoo Artist to the Stars

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Meet the Tattoo Artist to the Stars

    California Live’s Jessica Vilchis introduces us to Mark Mahoney who currently owns the Shamrock Social Club on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. (Published Wednesday, June 19, 2019)

    Superstar artists like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga have each left their mark on our culture. They have one other thing in common: One man has left his mark on them.

    Mark Mahoney is the owner of Shamrock Social Club, a gritty tattoo shop on Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, where an incredible list of actors, musicians and other celebrities have gotten their ink.

    Mahoney is one of those rare people who was blessed with a moment of inspiration early on that set the path for the rest of their lives.

    "I think the first time I walked into a shop at maybe 14 years old, it just hit me that that's what I wanted to do," he said.

    The only problem was, tattooing was seen as an unsavory career choice to many people back then. In fact, it was illegal in Massachusetts, where he lived at the time. People had to leave the state to get their tattoos. Eventually Mahoney found his way west, into the heart of star culture.

    "I wanted to go legit and every time I saw a great tattoo it was from California, so I knew this is where I needed to be," he said.

    The tattoo art from LA didn't just compel him to move, it also inspired his signature style. Mahoney is known for bringing the "black and grey" style of tattooing from the streets into the mainstream.

    "It comes out of the streets and neighborhoods of East LA mostly," he said. "When I saw it, it blew my mind and I knew that's what I needed to be doing."

    Mahoney's career has included many brushes with glamour - tattooing the back of Lady Gaga's head at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, for example - but he takes pride in making sure his shop is accessible to the average person as well.

    "I wanted it to be a real tattoo shop, not an art gallery," he said. "Once you get a tattoo you're a member of the gang."

    It's a philosophy encapsulated by the shop's slogan: "Where the elite and the underworld meet."

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