Tim Pangburn Sketchbook Assignments

Tim Pangburn

Booking Information

Tim is not currently accepting any new clients. Please keep an eye on both his and our social media channels and websites for updates on when he will be reopening his wait list. Thanks!

Clients are called no more than twice to book, and if they don’t respond, they get removed from the list. Tim receives many inquiries about booking, and it’s not fair to potential clients if someone is taking up a spot and not scheduling an appointment. Tim thanks everyone for their support, and is looking forward to working on new projects in 2015.


I started tattooing in 1998 in a small town in South Jersey. I did an old fashioned apprenticeship, with plenty of solder fumes, bleach stained pants, and clown costumes.

One thing I was taught early on was that you should be able to do any tattoo that walks in the door. Because of this, I consider myself a very well rounded artist. I can shift from style to style based on client preference. My preferred style is new school; however, I feel equally comfortable with traditional, realism, portraiture, black and grey, biomechanical, and above all else, cover ups. My love for cover ups is based on the very things that most artists find most frustrating about them. They are challenging, unpredictable, and often can’t be planned for in the same way you would with any other tattoo.

Every step in my career has been part of a much larger picture, and has led me to open my own studio. Art Machine Productions is located in the Fishtown neighborhood of Philadelphia. It is a 2700sf gallery and tattoo studio, with lots of open space and high ceilings. The decor is relaxed, very zen, and inspired by the dichotomy of modern industrial and Eastern religion.

In 2012, I began filming with Magilla Entertainment for TLC’s newest tattoo show, “America’s Worst Tattoos”. On the show, I was one of three artists that covers up a client’s unwanted tattoo with something they would [hopefuly] love for years to come. The show was a wonderful experience and I am humbled to have been chosen to participate alongside two incredibly talented artists such as Megan Massacre and Jeremy Swan.

When I’m not in the studio, I can normally be found in the kitchen or the backyard, hanging out with my family or pets, and making various items of pure deliciousness.

My Life is an Experiment

There’s no instruction manual

None of us know what the hell we’re doing. The swirling chaos of existence doesn’t have a map, or instructions, no cheat codes, batteries not included. Our mothers’ wombs spit us out and it’s “good luck kid! You’re gonna need it.”

The only real hope you have is that you’re fortunate enough to be born into a family that has figured it out a bit, and can pass on the basics of how to function as a reasonable human. Even then, once you get to those interesting adolescent years, you’re probably going to say fuck all those things, I’m gonna do it my way. Then it’s just a question of whether you fuck up a little or a lot. Because you WILL fuck up.

Shit, man, I’m 38 years old and I’m just figuring out a lot of this stuff. There’s no rules. Who said anything about rules? It’s easy enough to navigate the outside world, once you figure out how to do your taxes and follow traffic laws. But the real head part? The real hard part is navigating what’s going on in your head.

Game On

Life is basically some fucked up backwards video game where you don’t do better by gathering items, and you’re going to die regardless of how you play. You get extra points for holding doors for old ladies and children. If you manage to NOT kill the other players, you’re doing pretty good. But that’s playing through on easy mode, and that’s where I ditch this shitty analogy in favor of another shitty analogy.

Everything is trial and error. Chances are, there’s going to be a lot of error. I bumbled through my teens and early 20's making a mess of things, trying to navigate extremely complex emotions and societal biases. I happily rejected norms and tried to pave my own way, but hot damn there was a lot of overgrowth on that trail. I’m in my late 30's and just beginning to understand a lot of things.

Tim’s Labyrinth

One of the things I’ve come to understand is that while my emotions don’t dictate who I am, they impact it heavily. It’s up to me to decide how to act when I feel certain ways. For the past several years, I’ve been quietly mapping my moods and the ebb and flow of my depression and mania. What I’ve found is that there’s absolutely no way to maintain my drive and productivity during major shifts in mood.

That is to say that I can’t maintain the SAME drive and productivity. When I’m in a bout of mania, I am on fire. I’m drawing, I’m working on merch projects, I’m painting, I’m making videos and podcasts. My ideas flow fast and free, and my physical self can’t keep up with my own ambition.

Then there’s the crash.

Eventually, all those explosions of creativity and all of the genius plans I create to outwork and outproduce everyone come crashing in on me. I’m only a normal man, and I can’t bear the world on my back. Then comes the guilt. Then comes the onslaught of failure smashing me in the jaw every time I look in the mirror.

I used to just dwell in that self loathing until I snapped out of it. After all, it’s chemical, and regardless of my actions, it will EVENTUALLY subside. The problem with that is the less I try to manage and direct those feelings, the longer they’re liable to stick around. I wasted years just marinating in misery and whiskey.

A couple of years ago, I decided to take a different approach. Instead of trying to maintain my drive, I just dropped everything when my moods changed. I’d sit and play video games and eat Doritos, and eventually it would pass. The problem with THAT was I still didn’t get anything done.

The next major shift I experienced, I took an even different approach. I dropped all of my manic ambitions, and instead of sitting on my ass, I picked up a different set of projects. It turns out that while my depression makes it near impossible to mass produce consumer friendly art and video content, it gives me an edge in a different arena. My fine art.

I can pour that sadness out into my art. I can create with no desire to please others, or no hopes or intent to sell it and make money. It’s a selfish endeavor of exorcism, purging my own thoughts of failure and inadequacy. Libera Te Ex Inferis.

Tables Turn

Even our uncomfortable emotional states can have a benefit if we thoroughly examine them. When you find the benefit, when you find the strength in the discomfort or pain or sadness, you can latch onto that and create. We’re all artists in our own way, our lives a canvas, our decisions a rich palette. We can either choose to paint the picture we desire, or we can allow circumstance to do it for us.

None of us really know what we’re doing. We do our best from day to day, and if we take the time to care, we can learn a little. Just be aware of what your mind is doing. Learn to navigate the twists and turns, and always live to your potential.

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