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Catching Up with 2014 Arts Innovator Award Recipient Clyde Petersen

Megan Gallagher

Content Contributor

Clyde Petersen, Boating with Clyde Installation (detail), cardboard, wooden boat, cellophane, 60 ft x 60 ft, 2014.

Clyde Petersen is a Seattle-based filmmaker and musician whose work has been featured at SIFF, SXSW, Bumbershoot, the British Film Institute, and more. He is the creative force behind the band Your Heart Breaks and has made animated music videos for bands including the Thermals, Quasi, Thao and the Get Down, and Kimya Dawson.

Clyde’s most recent endeavor, Torrey Pines, is a full-length animated film recounting his experiences from a cross-country road trip his mother took him on when he was 12 years old. The film premiered at TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival in October 2016 and is set to begin touring in Europe within the next couple weeks.

In 2014, Clyde received an Arts Innovator Award recognizing his impressive body of work and adventures in music and filmmaking. I recently caught up with him to learn more about the award and his current projects.

How did the Arts Innovator Award impact your career as an artist?
I really needed the money. I was majorly in debt from producing a feature film on my own, in my bedroom. I made it possible to hire the studio for 3 weeks to record the film soundtrack and pay the band and the choir to perform.

What did the funding from the award allow you to do and/or pursue?
Here is a video to answer this question: vimeo.com/225481596.

What project(s) are you currently working on?
My film Torrey Pines is still touring with the live score. We’re headed to Europe in a few weeks to perform at a few film festivals. I’m also making a new film called Even Hell has its Heroes, a documentary about the Seattle band Earth. I’m scheming on a few large scale art installations and hoping a local institution will host one of them in the future. I have a solo show at Mouth Analogue in August 2017. In other words, I’m scrapping by trying to make it all happen. I’m currently looking for some generous wealthy patrons with deep coffers to fund my exploits, if you know of any….preferably in the style of a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool of gold.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Be vigilant and seek revenge on all who doubted you in your life by striving for artistic success, whatever that looks like to you.

What advice do you have for artists applying for the 2018 Arts Innovator Award?
While you are waiting for your interview, read a John Waters book. It will remind you to be yourself.


To learn more about Clyde’s work and current adventures, check out his website here.
Applications for the 2018 Arts Innovator Awards are open until November 13, 2017. Learn more about the application process and download the application guidelines here.

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Megan Gallagher is a writer from Redmond, Washington. She’s obsessed with libraries, art and radio, and aspires toward a future career in nonprofit communications and/or arts administration.