New spaces, new faces?

11 Mar

So those of you that frequent Classic Electric have probably noticed us making several changes inside the shop. Putting up new walls, doors, painting, new flash going up etc… here are some pictures of my mostly finished workstation. For anyone that remembers what this room used to be, knows that it has undergone quite the transformation. It had previously been the shop break room, crash couch, and after hours smokers lounge, complete with chalkboard paint walls! IMG_4320






In addition to that we have decided to move the entire shop forward in the building to create a more communal environment and we started construction this week on the major part of this project!! The art gallery that was upstairs has been transformed into new workstations to replace the rooms that were in the far back of the shop. Walls are going to come down as well to make the space feel more open and bring all of us closer together which should result in much more yelling to one another, goofing off, and an all around decrease in productivity! Haha!! But hopefully it will create an environment much more similar to Classic Electric’s original location, which many of our long term customers have expressed a fondness for. It will most definitely allow for more communication amongst the tattooers and clients, while still allowing for privacy when that is required. I will be posting before and after photos here very soon. Progress shots will be on instagram if you are interested @johngivitis.

In other news: Our part time counter help Ben has decided to leave and we are actively in search of a replacement. If interested please email your qualifications to to be considered for an interview. So for those of you who havent been to visit us in a while. You should be in for a new look all around the shop!!

Catching up

21 Feb

So its been a little while… I suppose thats a good sign as it indicates that I have been preoccupied with life outside of the computer.

We have finally moved into our own place!!  It feels good to have a real home of our own again, especially as we prepare to welcome another baby into our lives!  He or She will be here by this September.  Jack will be a big brother, which is insane for us to comprehend, but very exciting!IMG_4043IMG_4067


Back to work at Classic, and really into the swing of things now.  Keeping a steady flow of work going, and a good deal of it is subjects I am personally excited about, which is always a plus. In addition to tattooing I have been making an effort to keep up with projects at home as well. Painting and drawing is very important, especially to grow and improve as a serious tattooer.  I owe that to myself and my clients I believe, and most importantly, I currently enjoy it and have the motivation that is required. Here are some examples of my workspace, tattoos, and paintings I have made since I last updated.

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Last month I was lucky enough to head down to Austin Texas for my 5th consecutive year to participate with 11th annual The Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival  along with my new friend Jon Sanford of Iron Works Tattoo in Portsmouth NH.  Great time as usual, and one of my only opportunities to reunite with friends all around the country I only see at this event every year.



I will be at a few other shows this year, including Baltimore April 5th-7th, and Cleveland July 12th-14th which should also include a few days at Good Life before or after for all of you in Akron who want me to come visit!!  If you are interested in being tattooed at any of these places please email me at

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I am honored to be a part of this amazing collection of tattoo art!!  Please purchase a copy of the Eleven-Fourteen book that Sean Baltzell of Tower Classic Tattoo in St. Louis MO and Jesse Gordon of Inksmith & Rogers in Jacksonville FL have put together!!  367 Pages!!  If you enjoy any of the tattoos or paintings I make, then I can only hope you will show support to the tattooers in this book, as they are the ones I look to regularly for inspiration and motivation.  I am humbled to be included amongst such an impressive roster of tattooers.



Above are 3 paintings you have probably seen before, 2 of the originals have already found new homes, but now, all 3 are available as high quality giclee reproductions from my dude Jay Foran of Alpha-Reprographics and Tattoo Elite International.  They are 16×20 watercolor paper for $65 + S&H.  Even if you arent interested in any of my paintings please have a look through the artists on TEI.  Great art for the tattoo shop or the home. And when you purchase you can know you are supporting US, the craftspeople!!


Thank you all for having a look!!!  

“There has always bee a sort of hypnotic fascination with Tattooing but until now nobody has been able to get artistic work, so I think we are on the upgrade as far as the profession is concerned although there are a hundred bums all around trying to tear it down with their stupidity and greed… its the old story we build up the demand and the bums cash in on it, and the hell of it is that most people are so aesthetically blind that they dont know the difference and go back to the choppers again and again…”

(letter from Sailor Jerry Collins to Ed Hardy Dec. 28th 1971)




Starting to feel at home… again

18 Oct

So its been a couple weeks and it is sinking in that this is certainly not a vacation.  Colleen and I agree that we felt like it was a trip that should be ending and we will be going home, but we are already there… Strange. Anyways, strangeness aside, I am getting into new habits and routines both at home and at Classic Electric.  I am working Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 8pm and Friday and Saturday from noon to 10pm. In true Frederick form I have been busy right from the start which is good. I have already seen some old friends and previous clients! Here are a few of the tattoos I have made and a couple other pictures from our fresh start here in Maryland.

I am still anxiously awaiting the coming time here at Classic Electric. We have some exciting ideas brewing for the future and it will be great to watch it unfold. I am thankful to be here working with my best friends in the shop I came up in and honored to have this opportunity. Please drop by and see me Wednesday through Saturday, I would love to get some bigger custom pieces started, I have plenty of ideas and ambition right now, so if theres anything you are thinking on maybe we can collaborate. Thanks for checking in. I will be updating again soon with travel plans for the coming months into the new year. Nothing elaborate. A trip up to Good Life in Akron to work with my clientele and my dudes up there, and my annual trip to Austin Texas for the Star of Texas Tattoo Art Revival. Dates for these trips are coming soon!

Get At Your Boy!!!

29 Aug

11×17 poster “John Rippey @ Classic Electric Tattoo”

Down to the wire…

26 Aug

As my last few weeks here at Good Life and in Akron Ohio are ticking away, Im feeling more and more sad about this whole chapter in my life coming to a close.  Of course it is accompanied by a feeling of excitement knowing that this will begin a whole new phase in my life, and more importantly for my Wife and Son. But my friends and clients arent making saying “goodbye” so easy!

Recently I have been staying quite busy tattooing, which is a phenomenon I experienced when I was wrapping things up with clients in Maryland to head up here!  What happens is people begin to pour in keeping my schedule full, asking for great tattoos they know I would enjoy (sometimes even letting me pick them out??) then happily paying full price, and expressing sincere generosity with well-wishes and gratuities!!  In other words, just before I leave a shop, the whole community shows me so much love I have to wonder what in the world Im thinking to walk away from it! But in all honesty I appreciate it so much. Im am flattered by the response I have gotten, and I can say that Akron and Good Life have really begun to feel like home. Or at least my home away from home! Here are a few pieces I have been doing since my last update. Some are in progress but should be finished by the time I leave.

Before plans for this move were set in motion I had a family vacation planned to Niagara Falls.  My parents, Jackson, Colleen, and myself went and stayed in Grand Island, New York situated literally in the middle of the Niagara River just between Buffalo and Ontario, Canada. This was our first time ever seeing this natural wonder, and it is even more impressive than I had ever imagined. A beautiful part of our country and something I have wanted to do all my life.  Being able to share it with my Wife, Son, and my parents was amazing! Before going I renewed my passport and obtained one for Jackson so we could all cross into Canada and see the Falls from both sides. This decision proved to result in an interesting turn of events…

So we were all loaded into the car, Mom, Dad, Colleen, Jackson, myself, and crossed the river to reach the Canadian border. I gathered everyones passports and hand them to the woman in the booth.  She hits us with a few simple questions; “how long will you be in Canada? How are you related? Where do you live?” etc…. After we answer her she fills out a small slip, and says pull to the left… (not the direction I wanted to be going because the road to proceed towards the falls was to the right!!!) I was instructed to turn off  my vehicle and hand the slip to the man through the double doors.  So, by now I am a bit nervous…  For no reason, I suppose, except I just get anxious around cops.  I hand the man inside all of our papers and asked what the problem was.  He said he would run our info and let me know in a moment and to go have a seat while we wait.  Colleen suggested we were being profiled based on the way we look  (tattooed and such). I quickly dismissed that theory thinking there is no way, in this day and age, the Canadian border officials could really be suspicious of us simply because we were “driving while tattooed.” After 5-10 minutes or so the man asks me to approach the counter and informs me we are all good to go! So once again I asked what the issue had been.  He replied, “I think you know….”  Still confused, I informed him that in fact, I did not understand. “You know? The way you look, with all the tattoos…” He said.

Wow!!! What a shame… It is quite unfortunate that tattoos are enough to detain anyone, even if only for 10 minutes!! However, despite the minor snag and insult, the rest of our time in Canada that afternoon was a blast!  If you have never been to visit Niagara, I highly recommend it. And If you have a passport be sure to visit both the American and Canadian sides (wear long sleeves if you’re tattooed)… The views are very different but equally impressive.

Once I got home from the trip I began to get my schedule organized for the months ahead.  We have decided on a specific date to pack up the moving truck, arrange for a storage unit back in Frederick, and most importantly for those of you reading this, I have confirmed a work schedule at Classic Electric Tattoo.  I will be working Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday starting Wednesday October 3rd. Beginning in November I will be adding a 5th day to my work week as well.  So for anyone wishing to get tattooed in Frederick, Maryland please go ahead and start scheduling.  Email me with any ideas or reference material and stop by the shop to leave a deposit and get on the Calendar!! I am ready to get busy as soon as I am back, so lets start filling up my schedule Maryland! I am looking forward to a fun and productive year ahead.

Email me at: or call Classic Electric at: 301-668-1003 stop by to leave a deposit if you are in town.  If you are traveling from out of town email me first and I will help you make a deposit over the phone or via PayPal.

And lastly…  If you are here in Akron or NE Ohio I have about 20 more days left at Good Life and some of those are already booked.  Most of September is available still but the days are filling up fast!  So get in now while you still fit in!

Thank you, I am looking forward to the months ahead!

Onward and Upward…

6 Aug

So this post brings some big news. We have decided to move back to Maryland.  This decision was made officially this past weekend after much careful consideration for my family, both immediate, and extended, and for the future of my tattooing.  I will no longer be taking any appointments at Good Life Tattoo as of September 22nd. I apologize to all of my clients in Akron if this seems sudden, and I intend to finish all projects you wish to have me complete.  Contact the shop as soon as possible to reserve an appointment!  I will do my best to accommodate all schedules, but don’t wait as availability will be limited! If for some reason you cannot make it in by then please stay in touch as I will be making trips back to tattoo as a guest artist in the future. Any client of mine who would like to be notified of these trips or any future plans of mine keep following this blog and feel free to email me with your name, phone #, email, and any project/idea we have worked on.

This brings me to the future… I will be returning to the roots of my tattoo career with the crew at Classic Electric Tattoo in Frederick, Maryland. My schedule there is currently undecided but I should be moved in and available by the first week of October. As the dates gets closer I will post a definite start date and open my appointment book to anyone interested! If you are a client in the Maryland/DC area please feel free to email me your info as well.  Contact Classic Electric to schedule appointments as soon as I release an official start date and days of the week I will be available!! I look forward to returning to the shop 2 years older (and hopefully wiser! haha!) and with more experience and practice. I cant wait to start working alongside my old friends in Frederick and reconnecting with my clients in the area. Keep checking back for updates!

In other news, I just got back from an awesome trip to NYC to take a seminar on Japanese back piece tattoo design with Horitomo and Horitaka at Kings Avenue Tattoo Manhattan. Super fun and informative, the seminar included a copy of Horitomo’s new book “Immovable”. Click the link to visit the State of Grace store and purchase a copy. Well worth it if you are interested in designing Japanese style tattoos!!

Pictured above, is a painting I just completed as well. This piece is 16″x20″ in watercolor and liquid acrylic. Prints will be available through Tattoo Elite International soon!  This was done as a commissioned piece for a trade with my friend Landon Lewis of Black Thorn Gallery in Mechanicsburg, PA.  He made me an awesome tattoo machine in exchange for this painting.  Visit his website and email him to learn more about getting a machine or a great Tattoo from him!!

Thanks for stopping by everyone! Check back soon for more info on my whereabouts and whatnots…

Let’s get this party started….

2 Jul

So…. Only 4 months after buying the domain name and having my friend design a beautiful header for me I have decided to attempt to actually use this blog! I have a few new things happening right now and thought it would be a good way to start this off. It’s the same problems I have always had when I have tried to start a journal or sketchbook, I put so much emphasis on what the first page or installment will be that I just wind up procrastinating and wait and wait and wait to begin… Not sure why I do that, but having overcome that hurdle for now, I feel ready to embark on my very first blog post!

I was recently contacted by Jay Foran of Alpha Reprographics and asked to participate with his project, Tattoo Elite International.  Jay is an amazing printer who creates high quality reproductions of artwork from tattooers all around the world. He makes these reproductions available for sale at I have started to send some paintings his way and you can now purchase prints directly through his website!! All art prints are made on high quality watercolor paper with lightfast archival pigments. Good stuff in other words!

Also Good Life will be at the Cleveland Tattoo Expo happening the 13th 14th and 15th of July, that is a Friday Saturday and Sunday.  This is the first year for this specific event and it has generated a good buzz in tattoo land so far.  Many great artists will be in attendance along with quality vendors, seminars for tattooers, contests, and entertainment.  Jesse Strother, Brian McFadden, Brent Vann and myself will be at the Good Life booth along with some of our good friends coming from Chicago, Frederick, Waashington D.C., and more! It should make for a super fun weekend.

Then as soon as we get back to work on Monday my good friend Terry Morgan from Classic Electric Tattoo will be working a couple days at the shop with us before he heads up to New Hampshire for the Live Free or Die Tattoo Convention the following weekend.  Terry will be taking appointments or walk-ins on Tuesday the 16th and Wednesday the 17th, contact Terry,myself, or the shop for info. Email Terry at ,and follow him on instagram @temdog99.

I will keep updating this blog from here on out with any other updates, exciting news, or maybe just tattoo photos and painting/print updates.  Thanks for looking!!


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