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SPIDER WEBB and PAUL IVANKO'S NEW TATTOO MACHINE
161 Essex Street btwn Houston & Stanton | New York | opening December 3, 1996
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About Paul Ivanko
I first should say it was an honor to work with such a legendary person who has done a great many things to advance tattooing and art in general. However, we dissolved the company over production differences and I haven't made a machine since. But I feel the knowledge that I've gathered about making a good machine shouldn't stay in my head. I have talked machines with many of you and enjoy teaching when can. I believe us tattoo artists, who care for this trade, know how important it is for the future to pass down information and to honor those that came before us. Tattooing is something that I respect.
My first tattoo was of a cross on my upper arm that was done with a sewing needle and string, I was about 15. After that I took a sewing needle, x-acto blade handle and some string, then made it a bit larger by adding flames and even some color. By age 17, I was done with my apprenticeship. The Tattoo machine is wonderfully simple when you say it's just a doorbell with a needle attached to it , to NASA, who I'm sure could fill a book with all the physics associated in it and with it. I'm getting older and can't tattoo anymore despite really trying to get back into it for my family. For a short time I was working with a real blacksmith. While I was taking a break, sitting there smoking a cigarette and looking at his shop, I thought "Wow! It would be easy to make machines here." Then I thought to myself, "F@%K! What's wrong with me? Why don't I make machines? Duhh."
So now, I can make 50 of these machines every two weeks if I want. When I went to a local tattoo shop with my first batch of 7, this nice gentleman says "ohh...no offense but...I don't know who you are." Then he says to ask $500 for a machine was difficult because I wasn't a well known (then he started listing names of famous tattoo machine makers I'd never heard of). After walking back to my car I started thinking, the last time I made a machine it ended up in the Museum of Natural History in NYC as part of their collection, but that was because of Spider...
But I ALSO know that it ended up in a painting that was done by a famous demonic tattoo artist where the machine is featured with a portrait of this artist. So, I guess he liked it, and THAT was all me. In time I know you kids will include my name when listing machine makers in your conversations. Why do I know that? Because my machines run great. The carbon content in my cores are .015 carbon max. (Yes, that decimal is in the right place(ASTM A-848). The frame is made from Drop and hand-forged 1018 from raw bar stock with attention paid to magnet flow, and I hope you like the twist for the clip cord (I think it's cool). And F@%K that serial number stuff. I put a born on date because after it made you a million dollars, your offspring can give a thumbs up to tattooing on that day. The first time I designed a machine, it was a Thanks to the Tattoo Gods. This is for you to get to work. Paul'