Myke Chambers is one of the most positive voices in tattooing right now, which is kinda paradoxical in a way because behind all Myke’s openness, generosity and hard-earned skill is a guy who had it pretty rough growing up. Virtually abandoned in childhood to an institution, he’s gone from time in a home to time on the streets, (and even some time behind bars); through all this it’s Tattooing that’s given Myke the maturity and stability of mind required to make positive and intentional changes in his life and, along the way, in his work.
His story, like all the stories we feature in TAM & TCM, is about celebrating the transformative power inherent in the art & craft of tattooing to leave more than just a physical “mark” on our lives.
At a young age, Myke left home with a backpack and his dog to wander the countryside by freight train in search of something he never found. Living a vagabond life he began his tattoo apprenticeship in the early 90′s…along with his schooling of hard-knocks and plenty of tough life lessons learned, he’s emerged into a well rounded tattooer and overall better person that is always there to help his fellow man when in need.
Myke’s style has strong roots in Traditional Americana, though he likes to put his own spin on the basic concepts of Old School, his style is clearly his own. Today, he’s trying to focus on painting and growing with every new endeavor he undertakes. Myke hasn’t yet shaken the wanderlust and you might find him roaming anywhere in the world, honing his craft.
By Russ Abbott
Russ Abbott: Myke Chambers, how would you describe your tattoo style?
Myke Chambers: My tattoo style? I definitely have a traditional influence but I don’t really call it traditional, some people would. I don’t really. I just call it a tattoo.
What are some of the basic elements that you try to include in your work?
Basic elements I try to include are just a solid, bold outline, I like to whip-shade a lot of stuff, heavily saturate stuff… I usually try to keep mostly primary colors, minimum blending type of stuff.
And do you like to do big tattoos?
I’d prefer big tattoos. I like tattoos that I can finish in one shot like three to five hours but I do like big projects. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of fun taking a design that should be maybe hand size and blowing it up to a full back piece, keeping it just as simple.
I just do tattoos. I don’t really even care to put my tattoos in any kind of category of realism or if I can do new school, or traditional. People say it’s traditional but I’d rather just not even be categorized in it. I just do tattoos. I like my tattoos to standout. I like people to know that I did it, make it unique, and true to myself.
What do you think makes a great tattoo as far as the structural elements?
That’s very suggestive. Having a good amount of black in a tattoo? It’s going to hold it up but then again, all the inks today; we don’t really know how they’re going to hold up. They could hold up just as well as any black ever did. With my tattoos, I like bold outlines, solid color, heavy black, but that’s all preference. I like realism tattoos. I like illustrative tattoos. I like all those types of tattoos.
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