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Living in the Art of Life

Updated on April 13, 2017

As children, we are encouraged to grow up to become doctors and lawyers. As teenagers, we are encouraged to think about more specific careers; careers that still come with a lot of wealth. Everyone is going to want to live their life differently. If you want to grow up and attend college and get a degree in something you are passionate about, do it. If you want to graduate high school and go straight into the work force, do it. With whatever decision you make, there are thousands of other people following in your exact chosen path. Whichever path you choose; achieve greatness and happiness. Do not let opinions or negativity get in your way of life.

Kerstan Panzau, a regular teenager with wonderful friends, family, and acquaintances. In high school, he was the well-known football player. Towards the end of his Senior year it was a hard decision between going to college to continue his football career, or joining the military. Little did anyone know that his passion with drawing would lead him in a completely different path than what he once thought. Instead of being the customer and getting his first tattoo at age 16, he is now the artist himself. Kerstan Panzau, mostly known as "KP" is now trying to become a popular tattoo artist in the St. Louis area. He is achieving his goals one day at a time.

It all started in 2015, the year he bought his first tattoo machine. From starting off to tattooing his friends in his basement, to now being in a shop and tattooing customers every day, he is a true example of someone willing to keep going.

I've been drawing my whole life, I love it.

— Kerstan Panzau

Drawing has been something he has been passionate about as long as he could remember. Putting that artwork permanently on bodies, now that is a life changer. Throughout time, most professional artists start out of their homes or even try getting an apprenticeship at shops. Looking at those people now, they are making thousands of dollars and putting their drawings to work. A few more steps and KP will be the next guy who can say, "I made it."

When someone is passionate about something, they will be willing to go through every obstacle possible to get to where they want.

Everyone kept telling me I couldn't do it, but I just kept going.

— Kerstan Panzau

The secret to success: aim high, start small, and keep going. People kept telling him he would not be able to go far or do anything. Look at him now. Never focus on what other people say, but embrace it and do everything in your power to prove them wrong. That is exactly what he is doing to this day. He is going. He is moving. Throughout success, people are worried about how it can affect their loved ones around them. Luckily for Kerstan, he was blessed with wonderful support from his family and friends. His relationship with his family is one of the most important aspects in his life. Having your loved ones or friends who have been there with you from the beginning is one of the biggest blessings to have.

When you are trying to achieve your goals, the one thing you always do is dedicate time. Tattooing is one of the biggest time consuming tasks to accomplish. To wake up every morning and look forward to go to work is a wonderful feeling. People each and every day wake up dreading going to their jobs. You can't always choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to it. Waking up with a motivational sensation to do something you love, tattooing in Kerstan's case, will make the days in your life go so much easier. You are the only one who can change the situation you are in. As for him, his motivation is his life. Between the late nights of drawing or the long days of tattooing, Kerstan is the example of greatness.

Tattooing clearly requires great motivation. Awhile back, his father became very sick.

If he can get up every day and go to work then I can too. That is my motivation to get up and go to work every single day.

— Kerstan Panzau

Loving what you do makes going to work that much easier, especially for Kerstan. What is his inspiration? Looking at the work of other artists. If other artists can make it, he can too. The tattoo is no longer quite the symbol of rebellion and subculture it once was. It is a way to express life and feeling. Tattoos simply are not objects that can be put in a glass case or inside a frame. Drawings come alive to the skin. Kerstan is covered head-to-toe in tattoos and expresses it every chance he gets. It is the new way of life in society today, a fascinating expression of life. More than just beautiful designs, tattoos are reminders of the unique stories that can be told on human skin.

To be known for traditional work and style is his goal. After growing up and putting his work on paper, he is now doing it on actual skin. After buying his first tattoo machine and having to work in his basement, he is now in a shop expressing his art. After beginning on his friends and family, including myself, he is now tattooing random strangers and customers. You might hear him as the small town guy who is slowly growing, but he is much more than that. He is a young man of courage and motivation. Between the good and bad times, Kerstan never gave up. With negativity that came from people, he brushed it off and kept going. He is a remarkable person who shows to be that there are wonderful role models in the world. Where will he be ten years from now?

I hope to see myself in a different state, being happy, and owning my own shop. I want to show other people I belong here.

— Kerstan Panzau

He is truly the definition of someone living in the art of life.

A huge thank you to Kerstan for giving me the opportunity to tell his story. You are a remarkable young man. I can't wait to see what the future holds for you!

- Alicia

© 2017 Alicia Gutierrez

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