By Chris Mellides
A brown bandana emblazoned with a sinister skull design is draped over the face of a Native American tribal chief statue. The figure has an arm lopped off at the elbow, stands near 6 feet tall and greets customers of Station 1 Tattoo parlor on East Jericho Turnpike in Huntington Station.
The walls of the shop are covered with tattoo flash art depicting colorful designs of coy fish, devils, skulls and Chinese dragons. Behind the counter, 23-year-old tattoo artist Jordan Galluccio scrolls through the notifications on his cell phone while waiting patiently for his 4 p.m. appointment.
“He’s getting a lighthouse tattoo on the inside of his arm,” Galluccio says of his client. “It’s going to be the second piece I’ve done for him.”
An East Northport resident, Galluccio studied art throughout high school and wanted to become a comic book illustrator. When he was unable to land any scholarships, his art teacher recommended that he go into tattooing.
“I’d heard of Chuck, the owner of the shop I’m working at now, and brought him what was part of my college portfolio,” Galluccio said. “It had been turned down and deemed not good enough for schools, and Chuck looked at it and said, ‘Yeah, you can do it.’”
Galluccio says that he was amazed at how well received his drawings were and was glad that he got the offer to tattoo professionally. In the five years since then, the young artist shows no signs of slowing down.
Before becoming a licensed artist, Galluccio apprenticed under the shop’s owner, Chuck Brady, who established the business 15 years ago. Brady is also an assistant chief at the Huntington Manor Fire Department and has been a volunteer firefighter for 13 years.
“When I was a kid getting tattooed, there were only four shops on Long Island that I knew of,” Brady said. “And as you can see, there’s probably about 167 in Suffolk County alone currently.”
Brady said because the areas of Huntington and Northport have rich art histories, an interest in local tattoo parlors and body art in general seems natural.
“Long Island’s always had a rich history of art and now that tattoos are more openly accepted in the community and in the public’s eyes. It’s just been flourishing.”
With the high demand for quality body art, and the desire shop artists have for repeat business, establishing a positive relationship with clients is not only important, but absolutely necessary, Galluccio said.
“When you buy a piece of art from somebody, you’re not buying some service they offer, you’re buying the countless hours it took for them to learn how to do that,” he said. “You’re buying the struggle over the years just for them to know how to do that for you and be able to give you something worth having. You want people to really invest in you.”
In the spirit of collaboration between artist and collector, Lou Rubino Jr. of Tattoo Lou’s is presenting the United Ink Convention at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
This event is open to the public from Sept. 11-13 and will feature local, national and international tattoo artists and body piercers who will be honoring appointments and accepting walk-ins during the convention. The event will also feature music, games, seminars and art exhibits, according to the event’s official website.
Among the many shops asked to participate at the convention, Station 1 Tattoo finds itself on the list, and Brady and Galluccio say they are excited.
“Conventions, especially the United Ink one, is a great way for local businesses to really get a different variety of things,” Galluccio said. “There are plenty of people that would walk by our booth and tell us that they’re surprised we’re located 20 minutes away from their house, so there’s plenty of that word of mouth that goes on and it helps to drive traffic at the shop.”
Brady also agrees that local tattoo conventions help to drive small businesses like his and that they bring in fresh clientele that had not otherwise heard of Station 1 Tattoo.
“If you have a shop on Long Island you would really be a fool not to do a convention in your own backyard,” Brady said. “When you’re in your backyard, that’s where you’re going to get more people interested in your art work and more of the local people you didn’t have before will start to come to you.”