Artists: Myke Chambers
Art Machine Productions
1345 Frankford Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19125
What year did you start tattooing?
How did you get into tattooing?
As far back as I can remember I was drawn to tattoos and art. I grew up idolizing guys like Mike Ness. To
me, at that time, tattoos were punk, edgy, and totally not mainstream like they are today—I knew I wanted to grow up to be a tattooer someday.
Where did you apprentice?
I apprenticed under my late friend Weasel in New Orleans.
Do you have any special training?
No, not really … well, I take that back. I grew up on the streets and rough from a young age; I learned early that I had to fight for the things I wanted and never give up. That thinking helped with tattooing because it’s easy to beat yourself up and just throw in the towel when your skills aren’t where you’d like them to be. So yeah, I’ve got some special training—School of Hard Knocks.
What conventions have you worked at?
What conventions haven’t I worked. Ha ha ha! Well, I haven’t made it abroad yet, but I plan on it very soon. I work all of the major U.S. conventions every year.
Have you won any awards?
Yeah, I’ve won a few. I actually have a storage unit back in Texas full of awards. A few years back I was on this
big kick to win every contest I could at every convention I went to. Then one day my friend Keith Underwood asked me, “Do you really need an award to know you can tattoo?” That really made me think. So I kinda stopped entering contests, though it is kind of fun sometimes just to see what happens. Some of my clients
like to enter contests, and that’s totally cool.
How do you describe your style?
My style has strong roots in traditional Americana, but I like to keep it unique and completely my own. So when you see it, you know right away who did the tattoo. I feel there are a lot of tattooers out there that are trying to look just like the next guy because it’s “tradition.” Well, I’ve got news for you: The old-school guys back in the day were innovators. Most of them were trying to take it to the next level. I respect tradition and always try to keep to the tried-and-true approach to tattooing, with solid, heavy outlines and tons of black—then I build on that, all while trying to keep it simple.
What inspires you as an artist?
People. I travel a lot so I’m fortunate that I get to meet a ton of amazing people.
What other media do you work in?
I mostly work in watercolor, sometimes with acrylics.
What tattoo artists do you admire most?
That’s always a really hard question because I admire so many tattooers out there. Most of them are personal friends.
What kind of tattoos do you look forward to doing?
Big ones! Ha ha ha!
Is there anyone that you would like to tattoo?
Mike Ness—that could go without saying.
Before someone gets a tattoo what advice do you give them?
“I think we should do it bigger.”