Inked Mag Staff
June 29th, 2022
Matt Vanasse and Dan Brenndorfer on motorcycles, traditional tattoos and the punk ethos.
by Jonny Watson
Indestructible MFG was founded in 2018 by Matt Vanasse and Dan Brenndorfer. The two bonded over their love of motorcycles, tattoos and punk rock upon first meeting, then built a brand around their passions. We spoke with Brenndorfer about how the brand got off the ground, how his punk background influences Indestructible, and the best ride he’s ever been on.
Can you tell us the origin story behind Indestructible MFG? Matt and I met around 2015 when I was working as a barber. Matt came in for a haircut, I asked him what he did for work, and he said he was a tattooer. By the end of the cut we ended up working out a deal that I’d trade haircuts for tattoos. We ended up hanging out outside of the shop, riding motorcycles together and going to shows. Indestructible started in 2018 as a passion project based on the love and appreciation for traditional tattooing, motorcycles and outsider culture. I asked Matt to design a few things for me when I was a barber to use as a logo, then one day pitched the idea of starting a brand. We did a pop-up event at the barbershop we met at, people seemed to really like the designs, and that drove us to keep pushing the brand until it became what it is today.
How do tattoos and motorcycles influence the direction of the brand? We’ve always looked at Indestructible as just an extension of our lives and what we are into. We’ve been riding motorcycles for years and met a lot of our best friends through motorcycle culture. Growing up in the punk/hardcore scene, tattoos were everywhere and we both started getting tattooed at a young age.
Why do you think traditional tattoo art is so timeless? Traditional tattoo art doesn’t try to overcomplicate itself. It doesn’t try to trick you. It can be bold with a lot of color, or it can be fine with less or no color at all. What it always has in common is the strong imagery. You can see an eagle on someone’s arm that they had tattooed 50 years ago and it still looks like an eagle to this day.
How has a DIY/punk ethos helped guide the brand?
As kids in the punk/hardcore scene I think that DIY ethos was instilled in us at an early age. We would put patches on our clothing, print our own shirts, and I think at one point I even set up a table at shows selling homemade patches. Matt and I printed the first few runs of Indestructible shirts ourselves at our friend’s screen printing shop. As things got busier we couldn’t handle the demand. I think growing up the way we did helps us with a lot of the decisions we make as a brand. We always want to stay true to what we are about and not just try to make a quick buck.
Tell us about the best ride you’ve ever been on. We decided at the last minute to ride from Toronto to Cleveland, Ohio, with only 48 hours to make it there and back. Normally it wouldn’t be too bad, but we decided to take all back roads. We literally rode there and rode home the next day. We took our time to make the best of what little time we had. We even stopped and went swimming in Lake Erie—not sure it’s the safest lake to swim in.
The next day we had some breakfast and jumped back on our bikes to head home. We saw that there was a massive storm rolling in, so we spent a couple hours waiting it out at a gas station. Once it cleared we were excited to get back on the road, then 20 minutes in I noticed my bike felt kind of sluggish. My rear tire was flat. We were on a backcountry road, which felt like the middle of nowhere. In a panic I checked Google Maps for a motorcycle repair shop and saw we had broken down only minutes away from a Harley dealer. They came and picked up the bike and we hit the road again a few hours later. Another bad storm hit, but we decided to just push through and keep riding, making it back around 1 a.m., soaking wet. In those moments we were in hell, but looking back it was an adventure we’re glad we did and will remember forever.
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