By Danielle Wunder
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Oxford Stories
Mary Kelleher has always been creative. Thanks to Instagram, her uniquely painted jean jackets may soon result in profit.
The Ohio native, who has also lived in Michigan and Arkansas, is a senior studying integrated marketing communication at Ole Miss. She has also studied abroad with the IMC program in Dublin.
Kelleher makes personalized jean jackets for girls in the Oxford area and herself. Last year around Mardi Gras, Kelleher painted a personalized jean jacket featuring Colonel Rebel, the former University of Mississippi’s mascot, to wear on the New Orleans streets, but she never wore it because of rain and humid weather.
She later wore the painted jacket to baseball games at Swayze field and shared photos on Instagram. That’s when her Instagram account blew up with responses.
“It literally brought tears to my eyes,” Kelleher said.
Many reached out asking her to paint a jacket for them. She was also recently contacted by a Tupelo-area boutique owner who asked to carry her painted jean jackets in her store.
“I still can not believe it,” Kelleher said. “This is all new to me. I originally made the jacket for myself. Who knew it would become this popular?”
Kelleher, who has never taken art lessons, enjoys painting things for herself at her own pace and on her own schedule. She said she gets excited when someone asks her to paint for them.
“Ever since I was younger, I could always be found sketching up dresses, scrapbooking, or making random recipes in the kitchen with my mom,” she said.
In her free time, Kelleher loves throwing parties for friends. Friend Alyssa Balletto said Kelleher is always upbeat.
“Mary is the type of woman who lives to spread positivity, which is exactly what she is doing through her art,” she said. “(She is) one of the sweetest girls I have met at Ole Miss, and she really knows how to lift someone’s spirit and make them feel welcomed. Mary has always been such an outgoing girl with tons of talent.”
Kelleher also enjoys making birthday cards, painting 21st birthday signs, and scrapbooking like she did when she was younger.
Step inside her bedroom, and you will see that all her pillows and curtains are handmade. Her walls also feature her artwork.
Kelleher is also involved in Greek life and is an Arbonne Independent Consultant. She hopes to open her own store in the future selling her creations.