I had the pleasure of meeting makeup artist and hairstylist Jon Lieckfelt on the last photoshoot of the late Anne Heche. Standing 6′ 4, the moment he walked into my door, I felt like he was from another world. Dressed in a beige suit, a Victorian necktie and leather newscap, he had a curly mustache with piercing blue eyes. From that point on, I knew we would be good friends. Since then, we have collaborated on many projects and many further in the pipeline. He literally can transform a person’s face and let their inner beauty shine.
Tell us about your background:
I grew up as the middle child of 3 raised by a single mother struggling to make a better life for herself and her kids. It’s a story of the American dream where if you work hard and stay focused your circumstances will change for the better. Eventually, ours did but it would take being of middle school age before we moved off the farm I was raised went onto an upper-middle class experience.
I was raised in community that was pretty equally black and white and was quickly singled out as being quite different from other kids for my incessant need to make my own clothes and wear jewelry and strange hairstyles. I had an inner need to curate and art direct my life from an early age, something that was not taught to me. I believe this innate desire comes from a past life I lived.
How did you find your passion for hair and makeup?
I found my passion for hair and makeup at an early age when I would watch my mother paint on her blue eyeshadow and pink frosted lips. I would be mesmerized watching what I believed to be a transformation of the most beautiful woman in the world. I knew in those moments that one day I could help women change the way they viewed themselves through the art of hair and makeup and that was an extremely powerful way to make a difference in the world.
How did you get into the business? Where did you learn how to do hair and makeup?
I never had the confidence to get my training straight out of high school when I should have so I went to university to study marketing and business. It was oppressively boring and I looked for any opportunities to take creative courses, like photography, as my electives. After business school, I went to beauty school immediately as I was ready at that point to make it a career. Within a few years I opened Detroit’s first apothecary where I would mentor and train and build the careers of many local artists and provide a one of a kind experience for clients within makeup, hair and wardrobe styling.
How would you describe your hair and makeup style?
I would describe my hair and makeup style as always looking at the individual person and getting honest with myself and them as to the strongest options available to them that would be believable and stunning and fit their individual lifestyle. For shoots, I create a character and build a world for that character that tells a story through lighting, costuming, environment, and glam.
How would you describe your fashion sense?
My fashion sense is always loosely based on the periods between the 1900s and the 1920s with a sprinkle of modernity to keep things fresh and relevant.
We shot in your apartment and it is absolutely gorgeous. How did you design it?
I have always fantasized about moody spaces that are designed with deeper tones and lit really strategically and really beautifully. I do a lot of thrifting and repurposing items I find on a dime and in many instances you will find me reimagining them in my show @lieckminded on YouTube. It my DIY show where “nothing is off limits when you’re LIECKminded “.
Tell us about some of your personal projects:
Some of the personal passion projects that take up my time when not working in my profession are my show @lieckminded on YouTube and volunteering in my community to pick up trash and help the environment in and around where I live ( MacArthur Park). I do this to help the birds, fish, turtles, bees and other wildlife in my area stay vibrant and healthy. We can all find ways to feel purposeful within our own communities and we can all make a huge difference. We know that thinking it’s other people’s problem never works. It is all of our problems, and it’s important to volunteer as much as we can.
Who are some people that you enjoy following on Instagram?
I love to follow my many incredible clients such as @garbage, @wildbelle, @gregoryarlt, @officialfrandrescher, there are so many to list.
How do you achieve higher consciousness?
I achieve higher consciousness by starting each day with a gratitude that I get to live and breathe another day. I manifest all that I desire for my life before I answer emails or text or even turn on the tv. I end my days in the same way.
Do you have any advice for a young person on how to get into the beauty industry?
The world is always moving and shifting. Move with it! Don’t stay the same because it feels safe and comfortable. Keep pushing yourself to learn. Know your references and don’t rely on the internet to come up with the answers for you! To be inspired by something is to truly know the story behind it and to know the contributions of the people that paved the way for generations to come.
Why is gratitude so important?
We can never feel satisfied in life if we don’t root ourselves in gratitude. Gratitude for the simplest of things like oxygen and healthcare so key!
One’s reality is achieved through the thoughts one believes in their head. How do you take a thought and manifest it into your dreams?
The biggest way that I manifest my thoughts into my dreams coming true is to be very careful what I expose my subconscious mind to. I don’t love violence in films and tv and i try to keep my mind exposed to inspirational and aspirational things. It makes a huge difference on one’s mental health.
Everyone has a past…sometimes, it can be quite dark. How would you suggest letting go of your past so that you can achieve great results for the future?
I don’t believe it is every a good idea to let go of any part of our past as it is a component of who we are today. It’s important to honor who we have been and also where we aspire to go and who we aspire to be. There is no shame in the lessons we have to learn to get to our present day. It’s all growth! What’s important is to not dwell on the past( nothing productive can happen from this and it causes depression)and do not obsess over the future ( we cannot control what has yet to come, this only causes anxiety). Focus on your present movement. It’s like a muscle you work at to be stronger. It’s work worth spending the time on as you will see your entire life change for the better for having done the work!
What is the best way of connecting with someone?
The best way of connecting with someone is always in person for this reason alone, ENERGY! We all speak an unspoken language in unison with our spoken language. Energy is our ability to hear what people aren’t saying as much as we hear what they are saying. It allows us to decide if we trust a person or not. It gives the ability to invite them into our circle or not.
What other projects are you working on now?
I’m always working on a number of creative projects. Keeping several plates spinning is what keeps my creative mind engaged at all times. I have been doing a lot of music videos lately for artists like Carly Rae Jepsen, Rufus Wainwright, Joanne Shaw Taylor, etc.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me is confidence, sensuality, resilience, optimism, joy, and generosity. The word beauty is such a big word, and it means something different to every person you would ask, but to me, it starts from the inside.
How would you describe success?
Success to me is to try at life and never to give up. There is no finite marker that tells you that you have succeeded. The marker is always being moved as we go along in our lives.
Where can we find you?
You can always find me at flea markets but if somehow you miss me there, you can find me at @jonlieckfeltbeauty on Instagram
@lieckminded on YouTube
And my website @jonlieckfeltbeauty