I recently took a ride up to Dutchess County in upstate New York to check out Graceland Tattoo on a tip that I received through an email. Graceland Tattoo is located in Wappingers Falls to be exact, and is owned by artist Adam Lauricella, whom I got to sit down with between appointments and talk to. Adam, who is booked solid through February, seemed pretty busy, so I have to thank him for making time for me. Besides being extremely cool, he was very insightful and he seemed to have a good head for marketing his brand and his shop.
Adam Lauricella opened Graceland Tattoo back in February of 2003. He has been tattooing only since 2001, which I find hard to believe after looking at some of his artwork. Adam surrounds himself with a staff of five including three artists (Diego, Keavan Rivers, and himself) and two body piercers (Jesse Madre and Allison Lahikainen). All have a vast knowledge of skin and blood for their client’s protection and safety. Most customers like to hear this when they’re looking for a shop to get tattooed at. When I asked Adam what sets his place apart from other shops in the area he responded, “The atmosphere! We have an earthy art tattoo studio that is clean! We try to stay on top of everything. And we really work close with our clients to make sure their experience here at Graceland Tattoo is a satisfactory one!” Adam also told me that it’s very important to him that each customer is treated fairly and with respect. He makes it a point to make sure that the customer knows that what they’re asking for is never too demanding. Adam feels that it is important that the client knows that they are important to them. Most of all, he wanted his shop’s atmosphere to be welcoming.
Adam says that the machines used in the shop are fully autoclaved, which means that they are surgically sterilized and cleaned nightly, while every needle used is brand new, and taken right out of the wrapper. In fact, Graceland Tattoo has their autoclave machines spore tested on a weekly basis. Again, it’s peace of mind for most paranoid customers who think that they are going to be diseased if they get tattooed. Graceland Tattoo is committed to running a safe and sanitary studio.
The shop is mainly a custom one. Adam says that 80-90 percent of the artwork is drawn from scratch, and that a lot of times he and Diego will draw right on the body. Keavan usually handles the majority of the walk-ins and flash artwork, just so the shop can offer and cater to everybody’s needs. When I asked Adam if there is even a market for flash art these days with clients going online and grabbing their own art to customize he said, “Many times clients come in for a quick fix and just want something tattooed, so they’ll choose some flash artwork. There will always be a market for it because it’s been around for as long as tattooing has been around. You pick it off the wall or you pick it out of a book, that’s what you’ll get! There’s something to be said for high quality flash or traditional flash, it is what it is, and people want it!”
Graceland Tattoo, like all shops, has their policies. You must be 18 to get tattooed there, no doubt about it! Adam told me that parental consent does not apply in New York State. This was something new that I learned. For piercings, excluding nipples and genitals, you only need to be 16 with a valid ID. For piercings on your nipples and genitals, you must be 18 with a valid ID. Again, parental consent does not apply. As for prices, the shop minimum is $50, but they do charge by the piece on stuff they can bang out in one session. For larger scale pieces, they charge $150 an hour. Adam feels that logically, it doesn’t make sense to charge by the hour because it’s not fair for either party. There is a deposit required with an appointment, and a 24-hour notice is required to reschedule or you lose your full deposit! One cool thing that Graceland Tattoo does that I’ve never seen before is that they’ve set up a text message program, where texts will go out to customers regarding cancellations and weekly specials. This was something new and what I felt was genius marketing on Adam’s part. The text number for Graceland Tattoo is 41045.
The shop is open six days a week, Monday through Thursday from 12 p.m. till 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. till 9 p.m. and is closed on Sundays. Adam told me that his wife also has handmade handbags that he’s selling at the shop to help promote her Keely Lou line of handbags for the female customers. Like I said before Adam is booked through February and Diego is booked throgh October, but Keavan is always available for walk-in work. If you would like to see what Graceland Tattoo has to offer, you can log onto gracelandtattoo.com to check it out for yourself. If you’re in the Wappingers Falls, NY, area you can stop at the shop and take a look also. They’re located at 2663 East Main Street in Wappingers Falls, NY. For questions, call (845) 297-3001.