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Tattoo Stories: Jesse Shotland

For this week’s installment of Tattoo Stories, we highlight BKB member & freelance wedding and events photographer Jesse Shotland. He talks to us about his ‘bizarre adolescence’ and alien-inspired tattoos.

jesse shotland

I got that tattoo when I was 18. It was right after (but during another!) major internal growth spurt. I had a bizarre adolescence and I didn’t really start to grow up and understand the world until after this period. While I was in this weird time of my life, I had found this show called Roswell from the late 90s. Long story short, it’s about a few high school kids who are aliens, but don’t know where they’re from or even who they are. So the whole show goes through them figuring that all out. I really took to it and I’m convinced it was a major contributor to who I am today. Anyway, the tattoo itself happens to be the symbol of the Galaxy that they discover is where they’re from.

jesse shotland

They can really mean anything to me. I have friends who just got a tattoo because they thought it looked cool, or because they represent friends who have died. They can mean anything to anyone and I’m pretty much down with it. All of my tattoos I’ve gotten back in my hometown Northampton, MA.

Say hi to Jesse next time you see him at BKB – and check out his work here.


Tattoos are intimately personal, and stereotypical of Brooklynites. Walking through Brooklyn Boulders, it’s more often than not you’ll see some adorned bodies climbing our walls. Each inked piece tells a story, whether it’s silly, inspirational, nostalgic, funny or just a fond memory.

BKB Tattoo Stories showcase various tattoos around our space, and the stories behind them. Get to know your community of climbers a little more than skin-deep. All photos by Koji Ishibashi. 

If you have a particular story you’d like to share – get in touch with