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European-American Topics - Art - Dagmar Jacobs

Jacobs’ art pleases the child in all of us 
By Amanda Schuster 
Posted July 7, 2006

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 of us.

For more information on Dagmar Jacob's current exhibition please refer to our events page.



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