The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 40

Healing Art

A paramedical tattoo artist restores women's sense of self with
needles and pigment - and a dose of compassion.
written by CHRISTINA NIFONG

JENEEN WILSON had no tattoos. Nor
had she ever wanted a tattoo.
But eight years ago, as her two teens
moved out of the house, Wilson searched
for something to give her days meaning. She
had mothered her girls through dozens of
moves and a dizzying list of deployments for
her career-Army husband. She'd held jobs
wherever they'd landed - as a property
manager, an emergency medical technician,
a medical coder. And she had painted since
childhood. She was an artist at her core.
So when she heard of paramedical
tattooing, the idea that she could use her
gifts to bring cancer survivors, trauma

40

JULY/AUGUST 2020

victims and others a sense of beauty and
positivity, she just couldn't let it go.
She sought a top cosmetic tattoo artist in
Florida and asked to apprentice with him. In
2017, she moved home to Christiansburg and
opened her clinic, Primped 365.
Since then, paramedical tattooing - the
use of needles and pigment to restore color
to scarred tissue, to create a hyper-realistic
image of a nipple on a reconstructed breast,
to configure brows and lashes on a face that
has lost all hair to disease-has soared in
popularity and practice.
Wilson has grown along with the trend,
updating her expertise and trying her hand

LOOKING BACK, it's as if Wilson's whole
life led to this career.
She was born in Virginia but grew up in
Northern California in the '60s, her days
unspooling in a series of encounters with local
artists and the great outdoors.
At 13, her parents split, the little financial
security her family had disintegrated, and she
and her older brother coped as best they could.
Wilson leaned in to her art to make sense of
an imperfect world.
When she graduated high school, there was
no money for college so she took the only path
forward she could find: she joined the Army.
" For somebody who is a born creative, the
Army is like being in prison. It'll really shut
you down, " Wilson remembers. " I just made
the best of it. "
After basic and advanced training, she
prepared to be sent to Italy. But her estranged
father was diagnosed with terminal cancer in
Shreveport, Louisiana. The Army stationed
her there instead and she spent six months
watching her father die.
" He never came out of the hospital, " she
says. She spent months getting to know the
disease and its victims. " That had an impact on
me. Seeing cancer and death so closely. "
When it was time to ship out, she landed in
Berlin. There, she met her husband, witnessed
the fall of the Berlin Wall, and headed back
to the States to start a family and the life of a
military spouse.
Through North Carolina, Georgia, Texas,
Washington, DC, Iowa, and finally Virginia,
she and her family bounced. She was their
anchor.
And then, her girls were grown. Her
husband had entered the private sector. It was
Wilson's turn to follow her dreams. She threw
herself into her painting. But the canvas didn't
smile back.

TheRoanoker.com

COURTESY OF JENEEN WILSON

at new challenges. She remains one of only
dozens of permanent cosmetic tattoo artists
in Virginia. Clients seek her from hours away,
hearing of her artistry and her compassion by
word of mouth and online.
" Anything I can do to make a woman
feel better about herself and boost her selfconfidence, I'm going to do it, " says Wilson, her
no-nonsense manner softened by her soothing
Southern lilt.


http://www.TheRoanoker.com

The Roanoker - July/August 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2020

The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 3
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 4
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 5
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 6
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 7
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 8
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 9
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 10
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 11
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 12
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 13
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 14
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 15
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 16
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 17
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 18
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 19
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 20
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 21
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 22
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 23
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 24
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 25
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 26
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 27
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 28
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 29
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 30
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 31
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 32
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 33
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 34
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 35
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 36
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 37
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 38
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 39
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 40
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 41
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 42
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 43
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 44
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 45
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 46
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 47
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 48
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 49
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 50
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 51
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 52
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 53
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 54
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 55
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 56
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 57
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 58
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 59
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 60
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 61
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 62
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 63
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 64
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 65
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 66
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 67
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 68
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 69
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 70
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 71
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 72
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 73
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 74
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20210506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20210304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20210102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_2020_1112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20200102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20191112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20190102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20181112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20180102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20171112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_JulyAugust2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/TheRoanoker_MayJune2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20170102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20161112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20160102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20151112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20150102
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20141112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_20140506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/leisure/roanoker_201402
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com