Kyle J. Krueger long wanted to be a professional voice actor, and art was a passive hobby of his.
That hobby, though, has since flourished. "I was lucky enough to have a talent for [art]," he said. "I really truly fell into this role [as a self-employed freelance artist] and couldn't be happier."
While in college, Krueger started doing makeup for shows he was in, and then was roped into doing makeup and set design for the haunted attraction industry. "I was also an educator and assistant art director at a children's museum, where I often worked in illustration and marketing endeavors," he said. "I then shifted focus to pursue the visual arts more seriously and had my hands in many disciplines."
He is classically trained in the fine arts, and began to curate exhibitions and collaborate with other artist of different fields. "My role in the art community became focused in photography, special-effects makeup, body painting, and costume design," he said.
Krueger has worked with designers and companies such as Timothy Westbrook, Silversark, Epic Creative, Inside The Haunt Industry and Neverland ( NVRLND ).
"I am very involved in many facets [of] the arts," he said. "Recently I have founded an awareness campaign on sexual violence the LGBTQ community, featuring my surreal and macabre photography work. I also get commissions for paintings, murals, sculptural work, and high-fashion, special effects makeup design. I get to travel throughout the Midwest and work with all different kinds of people."
Krueger is planning to relocate to Chicago in 2016.
"I'd like to eventually freelance full time, and/or for a studio continuing to work in a variety of mediums," he said.
So what's the best part of your job?
"Telling people why my fingers are constantly stained questionable colors," he said, laughing. "[Seriously, it is] creative problem solving. No matter the commission, task, or job, I work in a field that requires constant problem-solving, collaboration, and learning on the fly. I often dive into areas I'm not failure with and rapidly develop my artistic skill set to achieve the end result."
The worst part of his job is "knowing that I can always be better, and that there is always someone better skilled than you in something," he said.
His work certainly puts him in some … interesting situations. "I've seen more porn stars, drag queens, club kids, go-go boys and the like in various stages of dress and undress, and it's funny to be reminded that I'm being paid to be in this environment," he said.
So what's it like "working" with countless sexy, scantily-clad men?
"It's really just a job," Krueger said. "A lot of these guys have become my good friends, so I'm quite used to seeing the guys and getting up in their business to paint them. To me it's just a 3D canvass. It's hard to think of anything else in the moment when getting them painted and dressed in short amounts of time.
"I've also dated a professional drag queen and have several talented professional queens who are friends, so I've seen, heard, and smelled it all. Little phases me now."
Krueger has adopted a serious matter within the LGBT community: In Arms reaches and teaches the community about sexual violence and abuse, including those in the community who have survived serious experiences.
"In Arms is dedicated to bringing awareness issues surrounding sexual violence in our community, highlighting resources available to survivors, generating conversation, and creating a community for services to develop a voice, be heard, share and be welcomed in open arms," he said. "I am so passionate [about] the arts because it has always been an escape and a type [of] therapy for many experiences in my life. Particularly, In Arms is a project that stems from my own survivor story as I am intimately aware of the effects of sexual assaults and domestic abuse has on a person.
"These are not seen as obstacles in my mind. Rather, they are unscripted opportunities for me to learn from and help others. No matter how hard life can get, someone somewhere has had a similar struggle or worse. I treat these experiences as a tool, and although my tool belt is quite full of negative and hard struggles, it is balanced by positive and fortunate experiences."
For more information about In Arms, go to www.inarms.us .
-City of residence: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
-Relationship status: Single
-Job title: Self-employed freelance artist and part-time visual merchandising/sales specialist at Apple
-Favorite drink: Whiskey and Coke
-Favorite TV shows: Bob's Burgers, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Law & Order: SVU
-Favorite movies: Drop Dead Gorgeous
-Little-known fact: "[A] great grandpa was one of the original Ringling Brothers."