It was for Gregg Adam. When it comes to getting tattoos, Gregg considers himself a late bloomer. A Florida native now living in St. Louis Gregg didn’t get his first tattoo until he was in his late 30s. But quickly made up for lost time.
I've never had any tattoos until October of last year. Since then, it's been non-stop. I got sucked into the culture.
No one in Gregg’s family has ink, but he's wanted a tattoo since he was 18.
My family is a little bit country, and I'm a little bit rock and roll.
But Gregg's tattoos aren't born from rebellion or a midlife crisis.
I waited until now because I know so many people who got tattoos at a young age, and regret them. Then they want their tattoos covered up, removed, or redone. I thought about what tattoos I’d get for years, and now, everything I have I love. And these tattoos will look really good for the rest of my life.
Gregg got the first tattoo at Hart & Huntington Orlando's tattoo shop in Universal CityWalk.
My grandma passed away, and she collected parrots and exotic birds. My daughter and I do the same now, so I got our favorite bird—a scarlet macaw—tattooed on my arm.
Gregg knew he wanted the piece to be bold and super colorful. Unhappy with the quality of work he found in St. Louis, Gregg set out to find a reputable tattoo shop in Orlando.
I like the Neotraditional style and knew I wanted this tattoo to be vivid, loud, and full of bright colors.
Gregg went all in.
It's huge. The macaw goes from my elbow all the way to the top of my shoulder. I did it all in one sitting. We're talking line work and color work. It was an experience, that's for sure!
Up until that point, I'd never even stepped foot in a tattoo shop.
But his experience at Hart & Huntington Orlando—the welcoming vibe and artists' talent—made Gregg feel right at home. So much so that going "all in" with a bold statement-making piece was a breeze.
It's safe to say that Gregg’s first tattoo—and experience at Hart & Huntington tattoo shop in Orlando—has made a huge impact.
I immediately booked my next appointment while still in the chair. The bug hit me right then.
Gregg went back two weeks later. He’s since traveled all the way from St. Louis to Orlando every two to four weeks to get inked at Hart & Huntington—finding inspiration for his next tattoo anywhere he can.
I was looking through Instagram and saw this cool X-ray hammerhead shark. I'm a Florida boy, so I love sharks. My little girl and I also love the movie Jaws, so I decided to get a great white like the one on the movie poster.
Gregg now has an epic X-ray shark on the outside of his forearm. After that, he set out to get a chameleon from his wrist to his elbow. Next up, a praying mantis on his elbow. But, he didn’t debut his impressive tattoo collection to his family until his grandma’s birthday on Easter years later.
Gregg knew he would be adding to his collection, but he was quickly running out of real estate. So he had to move onto his right arm and chest. He knew he wanted a piece that captured the aesthetic of Dia de los Muertos, with its colorful sugar skulls and Black-and-Grey accents.
We decided to do something massive, but I didn't see the big picture until it was laid out on me in stencil. And it's totally unique. I ended up with this girl wearing a traditional headdress with roses, but her hair is octopus tentacles that reach over the top of my shoulder. Next to it is a huge sugar skull with tentacles wrapped through its eyes. It's a really nice, big, full-color piece, except when it gets to her neck, where it fades to a blackish gray.
Gregg also has a tattoo of a plane, with gauges and a compass, flying over a map of Florida on his chest—a tribute to his heritage and being a pilot.
I told the artist what I wanted, and he brought it to life. It looks awesome.
Now he's inked all the way down to his knuckles.
Next up for Gregg?
A Florida alligator crawling up the left side of my body. Its legs are bound with rope, and its head is crushing a giant skull. I'm planning an all-day appointment for that one!
Gregg still lives in Missouri. And that makes for a long commute to get a tattoo. But that doesn't stop him from making the trek for out-of-this-world ink at Hart & Huntington Orlando.
It's a long commute from Missouri to Florida, but one that's worth it. I travel all over the world for business, and people always ask me where I get my work done. No color artist can nail the lines and bold colors like the artists at H&H. I've sent so many people to Hart & Huntington.
It's true. When it comes to tattoos, you get what you pay for.
You can see the quality of Hart & Huntington tattoo artists compared to other places. Hart & Huntington hires the best of the best. I've gotten to know everybody, and they create some of the sickest work I've ever seen.
And that includes his own. In fact, he’s so happy with all of his tattoos that he can’t pick a favorite.
It's hard for me to choose a favorite. The most memorable is the macaw for my grandma since it was my first tattoo. I also love the gorilla on my neck. It's right out there; you can see it no matter what I wear. But wow. It's hard to pick just one.
At one point, Gregg met a guy who also had an octopus tattoo.
It looked like a child drew it. I mean, it wasn't good. He came up to me and was in awe of mine. The work that Hart & Huntington tattoo artists put out is so impressive. Damn, it's ridiculous.
I see all these tattoo TV shows, and let me tell you, these guys can blow them out of the water. Zero competition. This is art.