Gerard (George) Folz
BFA in Graphic Design
Freelance Cartoonist and Illustrator

What was your major and how did you choose it? Was it the right choice?

While my BFA reads graphic design, I ended up doing a lot more comic work, having gone back and forth between three (yow) and four (the saddest) different times. The rational (or, at least, less costly) decision would have involved me sticking it out and doing comics all the way through, but that wasn't the decision I made at the time. In all seriousness, I'm really happy with the choice that I made, as I think I came about as close to double majoring as you could without actually doing so. Comics and graphic design have a lot more in common than some people would be led to believe and having the opportunity to dig into both disciplines to the degree that I did made me a better artist at the end of the day. 

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

It's not possible to pick just one—I appreciate Erik Brandt and Kelly English for helping to open the creative floodgates, Kindra Murphy for pushing PROCESS, Zak Sally for showing me a side of comics that I'd not seen, and that I'm better for knowing, Mr. Beatty for being both strict and the utmost professional, and Barbara Schulz for being in possession of saintly patience, understanding, and the most supportive of encouragements.

Tell us about the internships you had while at MCAD.

I had two internships, one with an inker in Chicago, and one with a cartoonist's collective called Helioscope out in Portland, Oregon. Both were tremendous and eye-opening experiences that provided me with an excellent look at the day-to-day life of working cartoonists. They allowed me the opportunity to work alongside a great variety of people, and to learn a lot of the professional side of the business.

Has your work evolved since leaving MCAD?

Yes, it's gotten better. I can communicate more with less.

How do you network yourself and your art?

Social media plays into it a lot, but finding ways to meet people at conventions or gatherings is equally (if not more) important. 

How did you get your job?

I began freelancing part-time since graduation in 2010, but as of June 2017, I'm freelancing full-time, working on a couple of different comic projects. I suppose you stand out by continuing to make work and making work that's good to boot.

What advice do you have for current MCAD students?

I had a teacher during my first year of college who once said something to the effect of, “if you're doing art school right, you will have time for your work, and that's about it." I took him far too literally, and as a result, my college experience lacked some of the things that most people encountered. To be clear, I really enjoyed my time at MCAD, but I know that my time there wasn't necessarily the same as that of my peers. You will indeed need to "work" and likely, work very, very, hard, creating your art, but don't make a habit of pushing the other things in your life out of the way. Part of your work is nourishing the parts of your life that don't have to do with making art. Should you neglect this part of your life, your friendships will taper off, the people who could bring a lot of joy into your life may not cross your path, and you won't be able to sustain any sort of romantic relationship, at least, not one that's healthy. Make a lot of art, but also make a lot of friends. Make a lot of memories both for your own enjoyment and maybe for your work. Find a way to be selfless in what can very easily become a very selfish pursuit if you're not careful. You'll be a better person for it, and the people in your life will be a lot happier.

Best thing you ever got on the free shelf?

I think I got like four seasons of The Simpsons on DVD once. If I remember correctly, I paid it forward by giving them to my cousin for Christmas.

What inspires you?

Natural gradients, working with kids, long walks in familiar spaces, friends' laughter, musical stylings particular to the south side of Houston, pinch harmonics, meditation, the aesthetic excellence that encompasses the Playoff 12s, and the Three-peat Repeat (’96,’97,’98).

Current obsession?

Micheal Henderson's bass playing from 1:14-1:32.

Name your one biggest takeaway from MCAD?

MCAD made me realize a long while after the fact that the sooner you understand what life balance actually entails, the sooner you'll be putting yourself in a position to succeed, both as a human being and as an artist.