Dagmar Jacobs – with a little help from her four-year-old son
Simon – paints colorful pictures of penguins, busses,
lions, and other cheerful pieces. Yet only a few years
ago, she was a top radio show host in Slovakia, pursuing
her lifelong dream of a career in broadcast journalism.
Dagmar’s story of her transition from successful broadcast
journalist in Slovakia to mother and artist in Seattle
is a fascinating one that illustrates what can happen
when an inquisitive spirit takes advantage of the support
and opportunity offered in America.
Even as a child, Dagmar was a distinctively creative person.
She did things like woodwork and yarn art, and eventually
developed a deep interest in animated movies, which
ignited her current interest in the visual arts. Yet,
as a broadcast journalist in a country where people
are more or less restricted to the professions they
choose, she never practiced her interests as anything
more than a hobby.
Feeling the pressure of being restricted to pursuing only one
option at a time, Dagmar came to Seattle to take advantage
of the wide range of classes available to students in
America. Although she had only intended to come temporarily,
Dagmar decided to stay after meeting and marrying American
Michael Jacobs. As she settled in America, Dagmar began
to miss her friends and family in Slovakia. That was
when she started painting.
At first, Dagmar says, she just painted to help the pain of
missing people back home. After her son was born, however,
she started to take painting classes, learning techniques
that she had never really thought about before. She
was surprised by her teacher’s approval and encouragement,
and the positive feedback helped her to gain confidence
in what she was doing. As she continued, one of her
teachers suggested children’s art, and Dagmar found
something she loved.
Since first coming to America, Dagmar has taken on various
jobs she has enjoyed, including one as a translator.
With one young child, and another on the way, however,
her first priority right now is being a mother. But
don’t think that means she won’t still pursue her art.
Rather, Dagmar has shared her artistic spirit with her
son, who loves to create, and who even helped her with
the paintings she is currently showing. By having the
“freedom to work around [Simon],” the role of mother
and the role of artist don’t have to come into conflict.
“I don’t see myself going back to work full-time,” Dagmar
says, “but I would love to incorporate my art into part-time
work, like writing and illustrating children’s books.”
When asked how being in America influenced her art, Jacobs
responded that “because of America, I had the guts to
start doing what I’m doing.” In Slovakia, she explains,
there is an established community of artists who all
have degrees. Basically, if you don’t have a degree
in Art, you’re not considered an artist. Thus, Jacobs
says she would have never even thought of showing her
paintings in Slovakia. Instead, she would have just
kept them at home.
Lucky for us, however, Dagmar was encouraged to share
her art, which is now showing at a coffeehouse in Greenlake.
With her collage-inspired pieces, through which you
can still see scraps like bus tickets, and paintings
in which her son has done some of the main work, Dagmar’s
art is truly unique, and pleasing to the child in all
For more information
on Dagmar Jacob's current exhibition please refer to
our events page.