November Artist Spotlight: Animator Maret Polzine

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Hey Maret, thank you so much for taking the time to tell us a little bit more about yourself and your work! Can you tell us about your background and what art form you teach?

I come from a music background originally— I studied classical flute for fourteen years before the film bug bit me. Then I studied experimental film at San Francisco Art Institute, and animation at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. These days, you can find me teaching film and animation.

When did you first become interested in animation and the arts in general?

I’ve always had a deep love for animated movies, but I didn’t start shooting my own movies until I was seventeen. My first film was a stop motion animation featuring a little round puppet with no arms, no legs, and a fully articulated mustache.

Who were some of your influences?

Henry Selick’s work, like Nightmare Before Christmas and James and the Giant Peach, was the first to really spark my own imagination as a child. During school I became fascinated by the history of cinema, and seeking answers in the very early days of film and animation, before it became a business. Artists like Viking Eggeling, Fernand Leger, and Lotte Reiniger are all rock stars in my eyes.

Do you have a favorite animated film? What do you love about it?

One of my favorite movies is The Triplets of Belleville. There is almost no dialogue, and the film relies on visual storytelling to communicate the narrative. This limitation creates for the artists who made the movie an absolute necessity to be thoughtful, intentional, and thorough filmmakers. This extreme attention to detail really shows.

What do you think is the most valuable thing animation can teach a student?

Animation has a wide range of applications— while it can be very slow and “tedious”, it can also be fast and loose and fun! Both approaches offer opportunities for students to practice focus, spontaneity, planning, and imagination. I have also found animation to be a very social practice! The best part of planning any sequence is acting it out for your friends to see if it “looks right”.

Have you been working on any new projects lately?

I’ve always had a deep love for animated movies, but I didn’t start shooting my own movies until I was seventeen. My first film was a stop motion animation featuring a little round puppet with no arms, no legs, and a fully articulated mustache.

You just joined the COMPAS roster this past June. Why did you want to part of the COMPAS community?

I have seen firsthand how the COMPAS artists engage with the community, and it seemed to me to be a supremely dreamy life.