Swallows&Daggers | Interviews | Adam Lauricella
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Interviews

Adam Lauricella

Other than maintaining what I consider to be a post-Civil War beard, Adam Lauricella owns and tattoos at Graceland Tattoo in Wappingers Falls, New York.

Interview by Shane Cashman – http://www.futureancestor.tumblr.com

Shane - How long have you been tattooing?

Adam - I started tattooing March of 2001.

Shane - When did you open Graceland Tattoo?

Adam - Graceland Tattoo opened on Valentines Day in 2003. Some would
say prematurely. Opening your own shop just 2 years after you
started tattooing is not necessarily the right way to do things; but it
didn’t seem like I had any other choice. There was no one willing to
take me on. There wasn’t as much work in tattooing like there is now.
The space I was working at was not a good environment and my stay
there had to come to an end. It was important to me to be able to
keep tattooing. I opened the shop.

Shane - How would you describe Graceland?

Adam - I think it’s a great environment. I have always approached my space
with the best intentions. Once my wife Keely came into the fold she
continued with that approach. The space is really multi-dimensional.
It’s comforting and eclectic. You know you’re in a tattoo shop but it’s
tasteful. There are a lot of little things to take in.
I think when it comes to the vibe, people enjoy being there. The guest artists always have a good time. There’s
a lot of tattooing going down. I’m thankful to say we are very busy.
And we’re tattoo nerds. We’re always looking at machines, or we’re
painting, or talking about artists and tattoos. It’s a workshop.

Shane - Before you tattooed full time, what caught your eye and made you
want to become a tattooer?

Adam - Honestly, I’ve had a fascination with tattoos for as long as I can
remember. I didn’t grow up in a house where anyone had tattoos, but
one of my friend’s dads did. He had a gnarly blue bed of roses right
on the top of his forearm. I thought it was one of the coolest things.
But I also grew up in a house full of music and I remember the crazy,
far out tattoos Johnny Winter had. Or Ozzy’s demon on his chest
that I now realize must have been done by Gregg James. I always
thought the black widow on Gregg Allman’s hand was badass and
that chest piece Stevie Ray Vaughan wore too. That type of stuff had
a major impact on me. That, and my parents taking me to get fake
tattoos.

Shane - What drew you to the traditional style of tattoo art?

Adam - Well, until years later, when I learned all the possibilities in tattoo art; I
always thought “traditional” tattoos were what a tattoo was suppose to
look like, ya know? So when I think of a tattoo it’s a nice solid outline that
will hold it all together, strong shading, a somewhat limited color palettes
and skin. That’s not to say traditional tattoos need to be limited to those
elements. It’s just what I like.

Shane - What’s your tattoo memorabilia collection look like?

Adam - We’ll I have some Acetates by Sailor Jerry and Owen Jensen. A few by Lee Roy Minugh and a few unknowns. A couple really cool Rollo stencils. I have an all-original Rollomatic, a brass Moskowitz
Black Beauty and a Rogers & Carafa tattoo machine too. I’ve been
collecting original paintings from some of my favorite tattooers out there.
I have a Gogue, an Aaron Caine skate deck. Some Mike Adams water
colors. I have an awesome body suite watercolor painted by Hunter Spanks
and a large Ty McEwen painting. Daniel Albrigio, Scott Harrison, Robert
Ryan. I also have two paintings by my friend and co-worker Diego. I try to
surround myself with cool things.

Shane - What are some of your favorite pieces of flash from your collection?

Adam - I think my favorite would be the flash set Seth and Adam Barton put
out in like 2003-ish. That is killer. That was
a game changer. I’m loving my Picture Machine pages. I have some
copies of flash my friend and co-worker Pepper Maher painted. I
love looking at it. One of my favorite sets right now. I wish there were
more than just 3 sheets.

Shane - What artists (tattoo or not) inspire you?

Adam - Stoney St. Clair is a real inspiration. I keep a photo of him at my
workstation. One of those nice photos from the book Durb (Morrison) put out. Stoney
is more about attitude for me. With all his physical problems he had a long
prolific career. If you saw “Stoney Knows How” you know he had a super
positive attitude. That inspires me. When my hands cramp up and my
neck is hurtin’ from a long week of tattooing I think to myself, if Stoney can do
it I got nothing to complain about.
When it comes to bodies of work I find a lot in Dan Higgs, Robert Ryan,
Nathan Kostecko. Ummmm, Mike Moses, really all the artists at Thicker
Than Water. Adam Barton…Ty McEwen, Hunter Spanks, Viginia Elwood.
I’ve always been a Warhol fan. Chuck Close’s work is so good. I could go
on and on, I’m inspired by Philip Seymour Hoffman for Chrissake! I get it
everywhere. A lot of Music too. The Black Crowes have always been a big
inspiration.
My wife, Keely, inspires me a lot. She makes art in all mediums. Her things
are functional. She has taught me a lot about what art can be.
But I have learned a lot from watching my daughter draw. She’s not yet
two so she does whatever she wants. I respect that the most. She just makes
art…she’s in the moment and isn’t concerned with anything else. That is
really inspiring.

Shane - Who are you looking to collect some tattoos from lately?

Adam - I would like to get tattooed by Krooked Ken, J.R. Tubbs. I want a piece
from D.J. Rose from HALO.
I gotta make the trip to Jersey to get tattooed by Robert Ryan and
Mike Schweigert.
And if I could I'd really like to go back in time and get tattooed by Dan Higgs.

Shane - Besides your newest tattoos, you post a lot of pictures of your
different tattoo machines on your website and Instagram. Any certain
builders you’re loyal to?

Adam - I’m a big fan of Seth’s (Ciferri) machines, a badass liner from Chris
Smith and I really like what Chris Quidgeon has been making.
My friend Chris Chisholm from HALO TATTOO in Syracuse, NY
makes some really good stuff too. He knows his shit.

Shane - What makes a good machine in your opinion?

Adam - Honestly, if it works for the artist It’s good…right?
I like machines that have a hand built feel. You can just tell when you
look at it. I like my liners hard and quick. But I usually have shaders
than run differently from one another.

Shane - It seems like sites such as Instagram, Tumblr, and Facebook have
become a great source for tattoo artists to share their work. What do
you enjoy about sharing a piece you just finished and instantly getting feedback?

Adam - Come on, it’s simple…It makes all of us feel good, right? If it didn’t
you wouldn’t install the fucking app. But when you post a photo it’s
nice to know that you’re on the right track. Especially when you get
positive feedback from an artist you really dig. I think it also helps to
have clients see what you like to do and what they can expect (or not
expect) from you. Honestly, I really like seeing what others are doing
more. Those things can be more of a distraction but it seems like a
necessary evil these days.

Shane - Besides tattooing do you work in any other mediums?

Adam - I watercolor and use some markers.

Shane - Is there a piece of flash or painting you’ve done yourself that you’d like to
tattoo that no one has asked for yet?

Adam - Yeah, all of them.(Laughs)

Shane - Do you regularly travel to conventions or other shops?

Adam - I’ve only done a couple guest spots. I did Liberty Tattoo in Atlanta and Off the
Map Tattoo in Easthampton, MA. It’s hard owning a shop and having a
family and trying to travel all at once. I’m trying to keep the conventions down to 3-4 a year. Last year I
did the Baltimore Show, Hell City, and The Paradise Tattoo Gathering.
This year it’s Roc City, Paradise Gathering and the Richmond Show.

Shane - What’s do you look forward to when attending different tattoo conventions?

Adam - Seeing people I know and meeting new friends. Picking up a few tips
or tricks. Maybe buying a book or a bottle of ink. (Laughs)

Shane - As a tattoo artist and shop owner what do you have your sights on for
future?

Adam - I’m hoping to paint more. I’d like to be a little more selective with the
projects I take on. I want to steer my body of work into the direction I
want it to go. I’d also like to get a few more guest artists in the shop.
I’m hoping to pay the bills. (laughs)

Shane - Is anything coming up soon at the shop or in your travels that
you’d like to promote?

Adam - Like I said earlier, I’m doing Roc City in Rochester, NY May 4-6.
Then in September I’ll be working the Paradise Tattoo Gathering in
Keystone, Colorado. Graceland Tattoo is one of the sponsors. Then I’ll
be doing Richmond in November.
We have Hunter Spanks coming back in June, Julian Lois in July
along with Mark Patrick. Ty McEwen will be back in August. And a
few other things.

Keep up to speed with Adam at http://www.AdamLauricella.com or http://www.GracelandTattoo.com
Find him on Instagram @ Gracelandtattoo
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