Connoisseur: Mike Ski’s Favorite Things

A peek into the life of a design firm and tattoo studio owner.

mike ski true hand society

Mike Ski, owner of True Hand Society | Photography by Jauhien Sasnou

As owner of sought-after design firm and tattoo studio True Hand Society, Ski has dreamed up the branding for some of Philly’s best shops, restaurants, and hotels. Here, the stuff he can’t live without:

Favorite Things

mike ski true hand society vans wwii propaganda

Left: Vans Era Classics | Right: WWII Propaganda poster

On my feet: Black Vans Era Classic shoes. “I order them two at a time so I always have a fresh pair.” 
I collect: Vintage WWII propaganda posters.

mike ski true hand society leather wallet

Hand-tattooed leather wallet

Accessory: “A leather wallet I hand-tattooed for True Hand’s two-year anniversary show at Art in the Age in Old City.”
Musicians: Chuck D of Public Enemy, Alison Mosshart of the Kills, Dennis Lyxzén.
On my desk: “A book of vintage matchbook covers from Japan, at least three notebooks of doodles, and a partially unfinished iced coffee.”

At Home

mike ski true hand society pets

Ski’s Italian greyhounds: Indy, Aero, and Picco

Pets: “I have three totally weird Italian greyhounds: Indy, Aero, and Picco.”
Currently binge-watching: The Hand-maid’s Tale, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
Favorite hobby: “I’m one of those jerks who do their hobby for a living, which I’m very thankful for. I’d call it luck, but it’s been the culmination of a lot of hard work. I joke that my job is ‘drawing skulls on my friends.’”
Hair salon: Barnet Fair in Old City. “My fiancée, Josie Dicarlo, and her partner, Erin Porsia, opened this salon. You can bring a record to play and enjoy a cocktail while you get your hair fixed.”

Out And About

mike ski true hand society denim jacketFavorite shop: Franklin & Poe in Fishtown. “It’s run by passionate people who take the time to engage. I recently had a denim jacket chain-stitched while I hung out and ate pizza.”
Cocktail order: Iced Coffee Negroni from Martha in Kensington.
Next project: “Me and my design partner, Jessie Jay, are working on the new Lokal Hotel in Fishtown, the return of Bridget Foy’s, Cafe Lift’s new location in Narberth, and a secret project. Hint: ‘It was all a dream.’”

mike ski true hand society pancakes cafe lift

Lemon ricotta pancakes at Cafe Lift

Go-to breakfast: Lemon ricotta pancakes at Cafe Lift.
Trip I take every year: Asbury Park. “Start off at Cafe Volan, go to antique shops, hang on the beach, lunch at Cardinal Provisions.”

mike ski true hand society havana cuba

Havana, Cuba | Photograph by Augustin de Montesquiou

Last vacation: Havana, Cuba. “The classic cars and crumbling Deco architecture aren’t as romantic as people think. It’s trapped in time … but not by choice.”
Upcoming event: Opening a new studio in the Church of the Living Word in Fishtown. “This 150-year-old building was close to being knocked down to make room for more hideous condos—I call them Tyvek mansions.”

Published as “Mike Ski” in the August 2018 issue of Philadelphia magazine.