This Friday we're kicking off InkAddict's convention season, and what better way than the DC Tattoo Expo! We had the pleasure of getting to know lead coordinator, Greg Piper, over the years and we're excited to be able to share with you our conversation with Greg.
My name is Greg Piper, I was born and Raised in Pittsburgh Pa. I started my apprenticeship in Tattooing at age 17. I served 8 years in the Army which introduced me to the DC area, the economy here was good so I stayed. I have been a photographer since as long as I can remember, so these days I spend 8 months a year tattooing and 4 months on the road doing my photography. I specialize in shooting underwater so my travels take me around the world. I work for Sportdiver and Scuba Diving magazines as a regular photo contributor and writer. I just signed my first book deal and am working on a coffee table book entitled "Welcome To The Silence" about the world reefs systems and our planets oceans. You can check out my work at www.gregpiperart.com The tattoo convention came about 6 years ago and I do this one as well as an Anchorage, Alaska show starting in May! I share all of this with the loves of my life, my two daughters. They both love art and they both travel with me and dive. Being a father is no doubt my greatest achievement and success!!
Well my first dive was in the Army so my first thought was..this sucks! Diving in the Military is not so much fun...fast forward to 2008, my wife is Pregnant, we are in Cancun, I am bored so I decide to go do a dive. Boom changed my life, since then I have logged 2600 plus dives and have spent 2,172 hours of my life beneath the waves. No I'm never nervous, in fact the moment I m rolling off the boat is in fact the most incredible moment of life. You roll back you feel the water rush around you and everything is quiet, you are suspended in a euphoria of beauty and wonder that never gets old. It is where I am most at peace with myself and the world. Under there the world is a perfect place and everything makes sense. The oceans are the great equalizer and I am at its mercy. She never disappoints me and at every turn she shows me new and wonderful things.
One dive that stands out was in Lanai, Hawaii, my daughter and I were finishing a dive and about 500-700 spinner dolphins showed up. It was amazing. There are so many good ones, its hard to pick!! I love Mantas and there was this time in Raja Ampat, Indonesia where I spent an entire hour with a pregnant Manta Ray, she just hovered there in the water column and let me just stay with her. She kept looking at me, she was about to give birth and somehow I guess she just knew I was no threat to her. I sat there and looked into her eyes gently running my hand under her, she was huge, probably 16 feet wide and she was just amazing. I have never spent that long with an animal like that, it was an amazing experience. I am always lucky when it comes to that, animals seem to know I mean them no harm and I am always approached by them.
Well, tattooing, my convention and diving give me the perfect balance of things I love! The convention is three hectic crazy days.
[After the convention] Diving. I will part for Palau Micronesia the day after my show for a month, it's relaxing and refreshes my soul.
More of the same great things we have built on for the last 6 years. The worlds best tattoo artist, great vendors, great contest and of course the ever popular DC Tattoo Pin Up contest. Every year it grows and every year it just keeps getting better.
The days before are crazy, dealing with 425 artist who all think they are they should be catered to and listening to the whining about their booth placement, who they are next too, what they want and need...artist are a rare, a pain in the ass breed, I know, I am one of them!! The day after is like a breath of fresh air, kind of like that moment right after great sex...thats the feeling!!!
Tattooing has always been my life. Way before the BS reality shows and the mainstream popularity it was just tattooing. It was outlaw and it was not mainstream. It was bikers, real bikers, not hipsters and douche canoe corporate bozos with bikes. It was lifestyle. It was riding to Sturgis with $200 bucks in your pocket and no plan. Now its a business and I love it still today, It has changed but so have I, its just what I do and always will do, it will always be my career and my life!!
Yes, I love black and Gray Realism and traditional Japanese. You have to wait 12-15 month sot get tattooed by me, so I like to give my customers the best and I feel I can do any style of tattoos perfectly, but those two are my favorites!!! Especially really big traditional Japanese!!!
Yes a lot of big future plans. My Anchorage tattoo Show, my new book, some new dive destinations and finishing my commercial pilots training. I love airplanes and I love to fly!! Who knows what new thing might grab my attention!!!
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Here at InkAddict, we love our Vets and Military Service Men & Women. This week, we pay special homage to tattooed members of the military, both Veteran, and Active Duty.