JD Burdge: Mural master
If you’ve enjoyed the murals on the Beach, chances are you’ve seen the work of JD Burdge.
A Beach resident since the late ’90s, his mural art is everywhere from downtown, to the library, to Parrot Key and just about anyone you can run into on the Beach knows him.
At a recent art showing at the library, which he hosts every so often, we got to catch up with him and ask about his time on the beach and his body of work in general.
When and how did you end up in Fort Myers Beach?
1998. My life had come to a dead end in Dallas Texas, I had family, a job, and stability down here, so I showed up and that was that.
Were you a musician or an artist first?
Artist, easily. I had boxes of crayons. Even my kindergarten teacher pointed out how much talent I had to my mother, which was pretty impressive. I was 5. I went to school for a little bit, but I’m almost entirely self developed and taught with a little technical guiding through high school and college. One of my college professors told me to work on my portfolio first so I dropped out.
What brought you into music?
Music runs in my family. Members of my family have always played, professionally or otherwise. Rock and pop music of the mid 1960s caught me on fire. My first instrument was vocals, but I picked up the guitar first. The Beatles and The Beach Boys were my biggest, but the Beach Boys really got me because I grew up in the Southern California surf culture.
What got you into doing the murals?
My first mural was on Times Square on Wahoo Willies. The editor for The Observer, your paper, actually came out to ask me if she could photograph the mural and I was all about it. The Observer’s exposure in my early days on the Beach really made my career take off. Parrot Key has my largest body of work. I’ve been putting up murals there for years and I’m working on a piece for the Pirate Ship Logo now.
So how long did the Library mural take you?
A month and a half. Dr. Leroy had a three-story scaffolding put in and I worked that entire elevator shaft by myself. And it took a lot of concentration and effort, because if I dripped a little bit on the third floor, it’d run all the way down.
What’s your favorite part of the beach life?
I’m an ex-patriated Californian, I have to have the ocean nearby. The Fort Myers Beach reminds me of San Diego in its own way.
What do you think of the beach currently?
I think it was a little more funky and loose when I first got here.
What do you think about the future of the beach?
I just want things to not get too expensive for regular people to come vacation here. Fort Myers Beach has always been free and friendly and open and I don’t want the beach to lose that.
JD is currently working on a graphic novel. The stories are supposed to be a little outrageous in a long form story vignettes. You can also find him playing at various venues, including Fishtale Marina and Liki Tiki.
You can check out his work at jdburdgemuralartist.shutterfly.com