Tattoo Stories: Director of Bands Brett Paschal shows off his love of body art

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By Noah Foster-Koth///Senior Staff Writer

Brett Paschal, the Director of Bands and Percussion at Lewis & Clark College, has tattoos all over his body, including places that can’t be photographed by the Pioneer Log. Paschal has been in love with tattoos ever since he was eighteen years old.

“I started with one on my ankle, which is a little colonial drum. It has the letters I-W-J-F on it, which stand for “I Will Jam Forever,” Paschal said, explaining that over the years, his body shape has changed so that his drum “looks more like a garbage can.”

Paschal’s most prominent tattoos are the three sea turtles on his left arm. The sea turtle has cultural significance to the Blackfoot Native American tribe, which Paschal’s ancestors belonged to (Paschal himself is not enrolled in the tribe).

The turtle lowest on his arm has sand tracks underneath its flippers; Paschal chose sand tracks because he wanted an image that would suggest the ocean without using bubbles or water. Paschal has another turtle higher up on his left arm that bears a pink handprint on its shell. The little handprint is modeled after his daughter’s hand when she was one week old.

Paschal has a third turtle tattooed onto his left shoulder, with a tree sprouting from its back. He said the tree is a reference to a Native American folktale that explains the creation of the Earth.

“Before there was an Earth, it was just all water. Then the great Sky Mother fell from the clouds, and all the creatures of the ocean wanted to save her, so they piled dirt from the ocean floor on top of the sea turtle.” Paschal doesn’t believe that this story is true, but he “enjoys the folklore” nevertheless.

Not all of Paschal’s tattoos relate to his Blackfoot heritage — he also has a cartoon on his hindquarters. In college, Paschal was a percussionist for many of his school’s  musical productions. Paschal would have to wait underneath the stage for long stretches of time before drumming on cue. To pass the time between his cues, Paschal began reading Bill Watterson’s comic strip series Calvin & Hobbes.

“I got into reading Calvin & Hobbes, because you could read a comic strip, put it down, play your part, and pick it back up and look at the next one.” To commemorate these experiences, Paschal had the cartoon’s human protagonist tattooed on his posterior.

“Calvin’s holding a pair of drumsticks and he’s turning sideways and he doesn’t have pants on. So it’s his butt on my butt.” Paschal remembers being in a lot of pain when he drove his stick-shift car home after having Calvin tattooed on his rear.

Paschal admits that getting tattooed “definitely gets painful… I can handle three hours of tattooing, but after six or seven minutes we have to take a two-minute break.” However, the pain doesn’t affect his love of body art. “I’ve always wanted to get more tattoos,” Paschal enthused, “Just more and more.”

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