I initially approached Tim Pangburn about doing an Art Machine Productions feature over a year ago, when the shop was just Tim and two other artists. Actually, it might have been just Tim and one other artist. It was such a long time ago, I don’t even remember. Art Machine Productions now has a new location,  six full time artists, and the 2011 Philly HotList award as the #1 shop in Philadelphia. Oh, how times have changed.

Click below to learn more about Tim and his motley crew of tattoo artists, and check out some of the killer work their putting out.


Tattoo by Kristel Oreto at Art Machine Productions in Philadelphia, PA

Tattoo Snob: Let’s start off some basic info about the shop. Where is the shop located, and can you give us a quick roll call of artists?

Tim Pangburn: Art Machine Productions is at 1345 Frankford Ave in Philadelphia. It’s in a 150 year old converted warehouse that used to be a whiskey distillery. Our current lineup is Gia Rose, Resp, Benji Harris, Kristel Oreto, Joey Knuckles,and myself. Evan Lovett also comes up for about a week every month. Oh, and shop bitch/apprentice Nick Panzer. Keep an eye out for that kid.

TS: With that many artists, how do you not trip over each other? Does each artist have their own room or booth?

TP: The shop is huge. It’s around 2700sf. We all have our individual 10×9 stall, so we’re never in each other’s way.

TS: What’s the balance of walk-in’s and schedule appointments?

TP: We mostly work by appointment, but we’re more than happy to do walk ins, too. We can almost always squeeze in a walk in tattoo. I’ve been toying with the idea of blocking out one day a week for myself to do walk ins. Just classic flash, nothing custom.

TS: How far out are artists typically booked?

TP: We all book differently. I’m booked into next year and not taking new clients. The other guys are anywhere from a week to a month, typically. But we all work different schedules, and do our best to take care of every client.

TS: I know the shop has hosted a couple art shows. How do those come about? What’s in the pipeline?

TP: Philly does a monthly event called First Friday. (I hear some other cities do this.) All of the local galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, etc. have their opening receptions for shows on those days. It’s a great way to promote and be part of the neighborhood. We’ve been doing shows monthly since February. We constantly brainstorm new ideas, and new ways to work with other businesses in the community.

For September, Joey is curating a unique skate deck show called Once Ridden. It’s going to have a who’s who of tattooers involved. Durb, Dave Fox, Krooked Ken, it’s going to be great. We run the shows right into each other, with the work from one show coming down a couple of days before the new one goes up.

TS: Tell me about this statue. Where in the world did that come from?

TP: Ah, the Buddha! This was a great find. There’s this amazing antique store in Northeast Philly that specializes in Asian imports. I’ve gotten slightly conflicted reports on its origin, but it’s agreed that it was hand carved in Guangdong province China. One report said it’s a replica made in the 50′s for a temple, the other report says it’s over 100 years old and was in front of a temple in India. Either way, it’s old and it’s really cool.

TS: You have an interesting phrase posted at the bottom of the Art Machine Productions website: “We support learning from the work of others but don’t be a punk! Your clients deserve YOUR best work, not just a carbon copy of another artist’s efforts. We reserve the right to humiliate you if we find out you jacked our artwork or tattoos!” Can you tell us how that phrase came about?

TP: Actually, my web developer (also tattoo artist and all around swell guy) Nick Rivera put it at the bottom in the mock up for our website. I liked it, so we kept it.

TS: Let’s talk about shop pranks. Does everyone participate? Who’s the instigator?

TP: Kristel and I probably participate the least. She’s way too nice to mess with anybody that hard, and I worry about retaliation haha! Resp is definitely the biggest prankster in the shop, but Joey and Ben get their jabs in, too.

TS: Any guest artists coming to the shop in the near future?

TP: Aside from Evan Lovett’s monthly spots, we’ve had extended spots from Casey Olejniczak (O for short) and Gia Rose. I’m planning on securing spots with Timmy B, LT Woods, Mike Riina, Jeff Paetzold, and Tony Mancia. If you want to get tattooed by them, email them and get on their shit about setting dates! They’re busy guys, and I bust their balls about it.

TS: Any shout outs or last words?

TP: Come get tattooed! Art Machine has monthly art shows, all styles of tattooing, we’re active in our community, and this has only been in the first year. Keep an eye out for us, there’s big things in the works for 2013. That is if we aren’t destroyed by a cataclysmic Mayan disaster this December.

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