It’s been said that my art is fractured. I don’t know if I see it that way. I see it more as looking at something through a broken mirror, revealing something you’ve been looking at without seeing. Perhaps that’s because of my desire to look into myself and others that way, to understand what’s happening on the surface and underneath all at the same time.
Perhaps that’s the inspiration of my hypnotherapist mom, who taught me to look into the unconscious to find the truth. Perhaps that’s because my own heart was split open young, and in that chaos of pain and inspiration, something beautiful climbed out. Like everyone else, I have worn many faces and been many things, some of which are the me I want to be, some the me I want to leave behind, and some the me I have not yet experienced. It’s possible that my art is about disentangling or healing those parts. It's possible it’s about weaving them together. It’s possible it’s just about examining them. If I knew exactly what it meant, I wouldn’t need to make it. Or at least I wouldn’t need to make it this way.
But I know that what matters for me in art, and in life, is the process. And for me, that process begins with simply looking,
closely, closely, closely at what is, reacting honestly, honestly, honestly to what is in front of you, letting go of preciousness and the desire to make something be a certain way, making bold choices, out of love and daring rather than safety and preservation, and trusting that the picture that is meant to be will emerge.
Jacob Krueger is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright, director, teacher and painter. He stumbled inadvertently into visual arts as an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, through (of all things) a distributive requirement in science that left him convinced that he was meant to be a product designer. Finding out that product design firms had little interest in interns with… well let’s just say a total lack of knowledge or skill in Engineering… unless they had some serious drawing skills, Jacob (who at that time was convinced he couldn’t draw a stick figure), began a quest to learn those skills.
After striking out with a series of frustrated teachers who couldn’t see past his lack of craft, and didn’t quite know what to do with a student who couldn’t draw at all, but who was trying so hard, Jacob decided to try one last time in Esmé Thompson’s drawing class. And that’s how he learned what a real art teacher was-- someone who could see past the lack of craft, and teach her students how to see like artists, and find the talent in themselves. Jacob broke Esmé’s heart by not pursuing art school, but his work with her led him on a path at Dartmouth and beyond that would bring him some of the greatest mentors of his life, and grow a part of him he did not know existed. He learned to think like a set designer from Georgi Alexi-Meskhishvili, how to think like a writer from Peter Parnell, how to think like a director from Jerry Zaks, and how to think like a painter from Joe Blaustein.
Today, Jacob teaches the process of writing to a new generation of artists at his screenwriting school, Jacob Krueger Studio, and through his popular Write Your Screenplay Podcast. But in his own art, he enjoys being a perpetual student. You can learn more about his art at JacobKrueger.com.