Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jesse Burch's Back o' Birds

This week we're featuring tattoos on alumni from Occidental College, in honor of homecoming and family weekend, and we'll start with this amazing set of tattoos on the back of Jesse Burch, Class of 1992:

Jesse told me that the center shape was done about six years ago, but the birds were tattooed earlier this year. All of the work is by Jeremy Swan (@mister_swan) at Broken Art Tattoo (@broken_art_tattoo) in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

When I asked Jesse about the origins of the work, he replied:
"Well, the center thing is an old design by my friend Bill Dawson. Its meaning is secret. 
The birds each represent parts of me. The Western mockingbird on my right shoulder is perched on a palo verde branch. Both are native to the west, like me, and the mockingbird represents my interest in imitation and my chameleonic nature. The left shoulder has the skylark on English oak. That’s my anglophilia in a nutshell.
I bought both bird images on eBay. They’re from vintage bird prints — another thing I like: old shit.
I like them a ton, despite being somewhat atypical, I guess. But then, I reckon I am too. 
I will say that it was weird to go from being a person with a tattoo to being a 'tattooed person' overnight. Took some getting used to. And, of course, now I want more....
Also, I meant for the whole thing together to look kind of like a coat of arms. But I think the middle piece needs updating."
I've known Jesse since 1988, when he matriculated as a first year student at Occidental. I was one of his resident advisers. Jesse is a working actor in Los Angeles (see his credits here) and he also hosts a web show on YouTube called "You're Better Than Me." The episode below is his interview with Jeremy, his tattoo artist:

Thanks to Jesse for sharing his awesome tattoos with us here on Tattoosday's Occidental Week!

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