We had the good fortune of connecting with Peter Foltz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peter, what do you want people to remember about you?
I think when I started in animation, I really wanted to be remembered for bringing something phenomenal into the world. Most aspiring animators want that; To be admired for something that you conceived that now has life and lives in the minds of others. Now, having only really just entered in the workforce, I think that to simply be a part of a vision I believe in would be enough. It’s a stark realization when you are surrounded by such talented working artists to see that your voice isn’t particularly unique or groundbreaking. You are a small fish in an otherwise enormous pond of people who are far more committed and have a much stronger vision for the future of animation than you do. For me, to become one of those people might be too great a cost to the other things that are important to me. That isn’t to say that I don’t care whether my ideas are heard, rather, I’m learning that there is a beauty in simply being a part of something bigger than yourself. I hope this doesn’t appear fatalistic or cynical, but I find that contentment is often a harder skill to acquire than the skills needed for great career success. So for my legacy, I want more than anything to be remembered for being kind and generous with my time. I’d also want people to see my ability to accept success as it comes my way and my ability hold it loosely so that when the time comes, I can release it with grace. Of course, being remembered for having at least a little bit of talent would be nice too!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I’ve continued my career in animation, I find that I like to work on projects that aren’t related to drawing more and more. I started working on cigar box dioramas, large felt pennants, and paper mache sculptures. On top of that, I’m working on a puppet musical! These things really excite me and provide a much needed respite from the day-to-day work I do at Netflix. Contrary to what a lot of people will tell you about assembling a portfolio, exploring artistic interests adjacent to animation is important and will give people a good idea of who you are and what you have to offer, creatively speaking. I’m pretty proud of that in my own work. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned through being in school and moving into the workplace is to relish the time you have to discover yourself. It seems corny, I know. But, I think it’s honestly the shortest path to success. Once you abandon ideas of being “as good” as another artist, or trying to adjust your style to what you think the industry wants, you’ll have a much easier go of it. Pressure doesn’t always make diamonds.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
It’s such a shame that I didn’t get to do as much in LA as I wanted to before the pandemic! Some of my best memories involve doing karaoke at Max Karaoke (although they are temporarily closed) with friends and getting Korean food at the market next door. I also really enjoy going to speakeasy bars wherever I go like Lock and Key, Break Room 86, and The Other Door. It’s a fun adventure wherever you go because each place has their own unique cocktails! Make sure to wear shoes, most places have a dress code! This was all of course before the pandemic, but I can’t wait to go back and discover more. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
None of what I have now would be possible without my parents. I was very fortunate to have a great support system that allowed me to go to school and pursue my dream. My Dad in particular really pushed for me to move to California when I was hesitant. That decision brought some struggle and conflict, but ultimately, it made me into the person I am today and I’m grateful for that. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention those who I went to school with who know what it’s like to leave home to pursue something you want so badly. It’s a kind of kinship you can’t share with people who’ve never left home with the possibility of never returning. Despite the difficulty caused by COVID, I still make an effort to talk to those people online and am always refreshed by our conversations and games. Lastly, I need to thank my sweet girlfriend, who has been with me through this whole endeavor and has been very patient with me while I run around the country getting into all sorts of trouble. She’d be a little pissed if I didn’t mention her.