Myke Chambers Seven Swords Tattoo Company
In keeping with our promise to bring you the best artists from around the globe we our proud to bring you this week’s Artist Spotlight. Our Artist Spotlight is on Myke Chambers of Seven Swords Tattoo Company in Philadelphia, PA. Myke Chambers is truly a master of the craft of tattooing, making his mark in the style of traditional tattoos with a side of Japanese. Myke’s bold, bright and saturated tattoos will surely stand out in a crowd.
We caught up with Myke in between appointments and before heading out to his next convention.
I remember briefly meeting you by Philadelphia Eddie’s booth at the 2nd Annual Asheville Tattoo Fest and remember you saying that you started to tattoo in the early/mid 90’s; how did you decide that tattooing was your life’s calling?
Well, to be honest I just thought tattooing was cool as hell back then. Ha ha I still do.
How old were you when you got your first tattoo? An story behind it?
I got my first tattoo when I was 12, it was a little cross in the web of my hand. I knew my mom was going to kill me when she found out I got a tattoo so I figured if I got a cross she might just beat me and not kill me so I got a cross. That was a long time ago.
Any tattoo that you regret getting or giving to someone?
Around 18 years ago I went to prison for four years and while I was there, there was a kid that kept begging me to tattoo 666 on his chin. I refused to. He begged me to do it for months and eventually I walked in and I saw him tattooing it on his own face. He was really fucking his face up so I had to fix it for him and finish it. I still regret that tattoo even though I was kind of forced into doing it.
Other than that there are actually a lot of tattoos I regret doing. Tattoos that I wasn’t ready to tattoo, I wasn’t good enough at that point but I still did them anyway. I would see these amazing tattoos and I would think “I can do that” but I couldn’t. I wasn’t there yet, I just really wanted to be. It was a mistake. I shouldn’t have jumped the gun like that. Now a lot of people are walking around with really bad tattoos I did 15 to 20 years ago.
Did you do a traditional apprenticeship?
I didn’t at first, I just taught myself. I knew I wanted to do tattoos. I couldn’t get anybody to teach me because I was too young so I decided to learn myself. I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing that. It was definitely the harder route. My life would’ve been so much easier if I would’ve just been patient and tried to get an apprenticeship through the proper channels from the start. After about a year I did end up doing a proper apprenticeship. At least for a little while… it’s been a long road.
How do you feel apprenticeships have changed over the years? For the better or worse?
For worse for sure. What I see happening is people learning to tattoo from someone that shouldn’t be teaching anyone to tattoo and they’re teaching people to tattoo after only tattooing for maybe six months themselves and then that person apprentices for maybe six months to a year and then they tattoo for maybe a year and start apprenticing two or three other people then on and on. There is a flood of horrible horrible tattooers out there that should not be tattooing let alone getting paid to do tattoos. The problem is that people go into a tattoo shop and expect a person working there to be able to do a good tattoo and that’s just not the case it’s really really sad. Now I don’t think I’m the best tattooer but I definitely feel that people are happy with the tattoo that I give them, and it’s clean, solid, drawing well and will heal very well.
Your online portfolio has a mix of Traditional and Japanese style tattoos; what is your favorite style to do?
Honestly, I have fun with both. I actually like to mix the two more than anything.
Do you work on any other mediums?
Other than tattooing mostly just watercolor painting.
With the popularity of tattoos and going from taboo to mainstream; how do you feel that has affected you as an artist? Do you see an increase in people seeking you out for tattoos or has your clientele stayed steady?
My clientele has been pretty steady for the last eight years or so, but I’ve definitely seen an increase. I’m not complaining. ha ha ha
You said once in an interview that Mike Ness was an “idol” of yours; how do you feel the punk rock scene shaped your love of tattoos?
Well I guess it was just a lot of teenage angst. I was very angry kid and finding a way to express myself through whether it was the music that I listen to or the clothes I wore, the way I cut my hair it was all just self-expression. It was the outlet and punk rock really just encapsulated all of those feelings. And tattoos did the same thing for me. I was mine.
What upcoming tattoo shows or conventions are you planning to attend?
Well next up I have a tattoo convention in Washington DC and then I will be flying over the pond to Milan Italy for the tattoo convention there I’m pretty excited about both of those actually and then I have Philadelphia convention here in my hometown.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Well I actually am about to be opening up my own shop here in Philly. The name of the shop is Seven Swords Tattoo Company and you should definitely check it out on the Web or look up Seven Swords Tattoo on Facebook.
I’m also about to be releasing a watercolor DVD where I go through all of the basics of watercolor painting in relation to the way I paint. So I walk through every single step. It’s great for Beginners or people that just maybe want to pick up a few new tricks. You’ll be able to order that at my website www.mykechambers.com
Make sure to scroll down and view even more tattoos from artist Myke Chambers; his tattoo style is timeless and will never be “out dated”. Make sure not only to follow Myke’s new shop, Seven Swords Tattoo but also follow him at Facebook, Instagram and on Twitter @mykechambers.~ ☠ AnoTat2 ∴