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How did I get here?

As this is the beginning of my blogging experience, I should probably make an introductory post.

I was born to be a creative. My toddler age watercolor "abstracts" are still hanging somewhere on my mother's farmhouse walls. I kind of miss my carefree two-year-old self who drew in permanent marker all over my mothers NEW wallpaper. Later in my teens, I remember coming home after school to find my mom standing on the stove WRITING ON THE WALL WITH PERMANENT MARKER:

"She cans the pickles, sweet & dill She cans the songs of the whippoorwill And the morning dew and the evening moon 'N' I really got to go see her pretty soon"

I wanted to cry when she painted over that quote 15 years later.

I grew up immersed in dance, figure skating, 2D and 3D art lessons. The artists life was for me, no matter how I have tried to run from that fact.

I graduated from college with a degree in studio arts, and for three years was a full time freelance studio painter before going back to school for post-grad work.

Those were some tough years... I realized now it was during that time I taught myself so many of the skills I rely on today. The pig painting is one I will never sell, it hangs in my office behind my desk. It was one of the first paintings I did after returning to art after college and in one I learned so much.

"Who Gives an Oink?" Louisa Kleinert 2012

About a month into my first year of post-grad school at The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, my father passed away.

That's when my life changed.

I never realized how much of my identity was tied to my dad, a giant in his field. I finished my year at school, soaking much in, but putting minimal work out as I mourned my father.

When visiting for my graduation, my mom told me she had found lump in her breast she was concerned about. My mother is the definition of what a steel magnolia is, sharp of wit and a backbone made of steel. When the call came that it was breast cancer, I was so confident that my fierce mother would kick cancer to the curb, my calm response was "Okay, whats the next step?". I think the universe gave me this experience with the person dearest to me so I would be able to understand the ongoing cancer struggle.

My beautiful mama after ending treatment.

Pre-cancer diagnosis, while grieving my dad, I had planned to go to Makeup School in NYC, and my mom insisted I still go. The time spent in school in NYC was one of the best times of my life. I needed to spend time in a world of beauty away from my grief and fear. I will never give up my proffessional makeup career, it simply makes me happy. It is also what put me on track for tattooing.

I guess I should tell you, my parents have always been extremely against tattoos. So when my mom suggested I should look into doing permanent makeup to add to my makeup services my reaction was " You realize that is like being a glorified tattoo artist, right? ", but like to every good southern woman, makeup OF ANY TYPE is an untouchable category of its own.

Despite being horrified of needles, I did my research and realized, if I was good at permanent makeup, I could learn to do areola restorative tattoos for cancer survivors like my mom. So I gave it a shot, after two intensive weeks in Permanent Makeup (PMU) school, I fell in love... and I still am.

4 years later, I look back and am proud of my fortitude to establish my career and despite being scared every step of the way. I expanded to other forms of tattooing, (paramedical, areola, and body art) as my experience and skills consistently grew. The closed-down-artist in me returned as I began pursuing the body art practice. I studied with leaders in the industry, some great mentors, and others I learned from what I DO NOT want to be.

To this day, although supportive of my career, my mom still threatens to take me out of her will if I ever get a tattoo "that she can see." (Her word choice has changed with time). Lol. She is now almost 5 years cancer free (woohoo!).

I almost collapsed the day she told me she wanted a little bluebird on a branch over her chemo port scar.

Do I have tattoos? I'll let you make up your own mind. Maybe I will be just like my mom and start writing on my walls instead.

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