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Meet Jeremy and Vanessa Swan of Broken Art Tattoo/Mi Corazon in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeremy and Vanessa Swan.

Jeremy and Vanessa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My wife and I moved to Los Angeles from the central coast of California in 2005 and by September of that year, I had opened up Broken Art Tattoo in Silver Lake. In 2007, Vanessa had also opened up her third boutique (This or Die Boutique) in Atwater Village and was unfortunately not recession proof. My industrious wife decided to go back to her roots and flip her flopping boutique into a hair salon and voila, This or Die Salon was born in 2008 and proved to be recession proof. We were both running our respective businesses when again my over ambitious wife kept threatening to open a Mexican restaurant that focused on organic proteins and non-GMO ingredients as they were not to be found anywhere.

Vanessa raised our beautiful two daughters, ran her salon and honed her cooking skills while I turned out tattoos and built up my shop by apprenticing new talent to work under me. By 2011, we spotted a for lease sign in our neighborhood of Glendale’s Kenneth Village. I made the call and by that week, I was signing the lease and starting a complete buildout on a restaurant. I had built boutiques, salons and tattoo shops but this was a first. It was a %100 percent remodel torn down to the studs. After what seemed to be the most difficult time of our lives we finally opened our humble little “mom and pop’ cantina apply named from Vanessa’s abuela who called her “Mi Corazon.” Our little restaurant with a lot of heart opened up in June of 2012.

We were as busy as can be with children, hair, fashion, art, employees, payroll taxes, tattoos, tacos and margaritas! My tattoo career I was beginning to gain more notoriety as then asked to be on TLC’s new show “America’s Worst Tattoos” where I did cover-ups of, well, the worst tattoos in America. I continued my work at my shop and did two seasons with TLC.

Vanessa and I ultimately wanted to expand our restaurant brand of Neo-traditional Mexican cuisine and I had searched for a second location over the past few years. When a failing restaurant location across from my tattoo studio became available, I started negotiating with the owners and by November of 2017 we officially opened up our Silver Lake location of Mi Corazon which included a full bar boasting craft cocktails and an expansive tequila and mezcal program.

My wife and I are working hard to keep our passion for food, tattoo art and hair is our top priority so we can provide jobs for our employees and an amazing experience for our customers! I know it seems like a crazy life but it’s my crazy life! Mi Vida Loca!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Thoughts of imminent failure… near bankruptcy… disagreements over everything… sleepless nights… and that was just last month! Being a serial entrepreneur has nothing short of pitfall after pitfall. From dealing with landlords down to employee relations and paying Uncle Sam his cut! And that’s before even dealing with customer relations… which are the lifeblood of our operation. Without them, we are useless organs that have no blood to flow through us! But the questions remain each day… is there enough salt in our vegan beans? Can I give a Christmas bonus to my employees this year? I need to draw out a back piece tattoo by 2 pm today but I need to meet with my bar director and my CPA after I get my daughter to school! Running at this level requires a lot of notebooks and time management. We never stop questioning our products and challenging our selves to improve our customer experience.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Broken Art Tattoo/Mi Corazon – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Broken Art Tattoo is a custom tattoo studio that’s been open in Silver Lake since 2005 although, I have been tattooing since 1995. The four resident artist all have their own unique style which can cover a multitude of customer requests. We are known for our classic tattoo style that is visually compelling and stands the test of time. I personally have developed a style that is based on the traditional elements of tattooing i.e. solid lines, smooth shading and saturated colors and have elevated those techniques with more detail and character to create what I call hyper-traditional tattooing. Our main emphasis at Broken Art is to create a comfortable environment for our clients to get their work at. Having discussions about art and what their motivation is for the piece is key… as it feeds my creativity to draw a unique tattoo for them. I am proud that we are now one of the oldest shops in Silverlake and all of East LA. Our hard work and dedication to our craft will keep us busy for years to come.

Mi Corazon is a combination of tradition and modern cuisine. We are offering an elevated take on classic dishes and newer plates you would not find in a typical Mexican restaurant. Our style is Nuevo-Traditional! Our two locations share similar foundations while we adapt to what the particular neighborhoods of Kenneth Village and Silver Lake desire. We are very proud that we are able to provide jobs for many hard working people that we are blessed to have work for us and that they share our passion to provide a great product and experience for our customers. What sets us apart is our healthier take on our food. Vegan rice, beans and foundational sauces will be the staple to our menu. House-made everything! Our commitment to organic, grass-fed, wild-caught proteins and always non-GMO, BGH free. We started on this journey saying: “If we can’t feed it to our kids we’re not feeding it to our customers.” And finally our tequila and mezcal bar which boasts lesser know non-corporate tequilas. We support the smaller, family farms that are truly producing some of Mexico’s finest spirits.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
We just want to stay on the same trajectory of providing an exceptional product and service in a great environment while doing it with lots of heart! In the future, we are always open to expanding the Mi
Corazon brand.

Pricing:

  • Happy Hour drinks and eats from $6 up
  • Bottomless Mimosas $17 on Weekend Brunch

Contact Info:

  • Address: Mi Corazon Mexican Cuisine 2609 Hyperion ave Los Angeles, CA 90027
    Mi Corazon Cantina 1402 W. Kenneth Rd. Glendale, CA 91202
    Broken Art Tattoo 2400 Hyperion Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027
    This or Die Salon 3205 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90039
  • Website: www.mi-corazon.net, www.brokenarttattoo.com, thisordiesalon.com
  • Phone: MC 323-522-3320, BAT 323-661-4777, TOD 323-668-2777
  • Email: questions@mi-corazon.net, swan@brokenarttatto.com, vanessa@thisordiesalon.com
  • Instagram: @micorazon_silverlake, @mister_swan, @thisordie
  • Facebook: @MiCorazonSilverlake @jeremyswantattoos @thisordiesalon
  • Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/mi-corazon-los-angeles?sort_by=rating_desc

Image Credit:
Benedicte Castillo

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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