ClydePetersen (1)

Fabulous People: Clyde Petersen

Clyde Petersen is an transgender Northwest-based artist working in film, animation, music, large-scale installation and fabulous spectacle. Petersen’s work can currently be viewed at Local Sightings Film Festival, taking place virtually and in-person now through Sept. 24 in Seattle. Learn about Clyde Petersen…

Follow at: @clyde_petersen_studios

Hometown: Northwest Washington     

First job: The Slide Company in Seattle. I worked after school, putting labels on photographic slides for $5 an hour. It was like the analog version of Shutterstock. Tulips, tulips, tulips, tulips, tulips. Just putting those little sticker labels on slides for hours. I worked with two older rockers, and they taught me all about local music and where to go to shows. 

Favorite ways to spend your free time in WA: Floating, swimming and laying on the beach. 

Your biggest accomplishment and why: Completing my first feature film, Torrey Pines, was a major accomplishment for me. We took it on a two-year tour around the world with a live score and live foley. Being invited to Japan to present the film at the animation festival in Tokyo was perhaps my greatest honor. I loved every moment of it. 

The biggest obstacle you overcame: Repeatedly paying out of pocket to make feature films is a huge obstacle. Like most filmmakers, I work multiple jobs to make my films in my off-hours. I don’t love it but I make it work. 

Someone who inspires you and why: I like the way Wayne White talks about art. How he examines an idea from every medium he can. And I love the way John Lurie follows his interests, with seemingly little care for what others think. 

Advice to someone pursuing a career path in what you do: If a bunch of white dudes can do it, you surely can too! I’m 100 percent serious right now. Movies are just a bunch of stuff strung together in a row. So is music. It only has to make sense to you. It does not matter what anyone else thinks about your art. Make art for yourself, and you will find community that resonates with your vision. And read any contract you sign. Go slow, take your time. Have a friend read it. Everything is negotiable. Some of your peers come from generational wealth but never say this out loud. If you are feeling confused about how someone achieved something you have been trying to do, ask them! Often the answer is undisclosed generational wealth. 

Favorite quote: “NO.” -Tariqa Waters

Something someone would be surprised to learn about you: I am a deep introvert. I would prefer to be extremely wealthy and sitting at home all night making art. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 

What makes someone fabulous: Their endless dreams, coupled with a persistence of vision. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *