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Storytellers’ Bootcamp Magic – THU Japan in Kaga, Part 1

If anyone had told me in early September that soon I would be having the time of my life:

  1. feeling like I had been reunited with my long-lost “tribe” – people just like me who adore my most authentic self
  2. dining with a writer/director/producer/mentor who would not only invite me to share my elevator speech with her, but cheer and celebrate when she heard it
  3. playing in a mock writers’ room gleefully riffing with a major director, writers, animators, and other industry creators who welcomed and cheerfully incorporated my off-topic idea bursts
  4. receiving repeated praise about how creative my idea was from a famous manga editor
  5. and as a bonus – dancing with the residents of Kaga city for two hours during their festival – a dance I’d never been able to do before

I would have said, “That’s crazy!”

Teresa BOLEN and Kaga City Mayor, Mayor Riku MIYAMOTO at the Koi Koi Matsuri on September 22, 2023.

Besides, why in the world would a 2-D portrait painter go to a Storytellers’ Bootcamp?

Things in our world are moving with ever increasing speed, and so much of our visual awareness has been reduced to a tiny glowing screen…a tiny glowing screen that devours images! Yet, that tiny glowing screen captivates its viewers repeatedly for prolonged sessions.

As a 2-D painter creating single images, it’s virtually impossible for me to compete on these same terms, even with the mesmerizing glow of digital painting. One of my solutions is to look for ways to improve my art and its connection to viewers from less obvious sources.

Stories have power. They touch our emotions. They can be harnessed for good, to inspire, teach, and heal; or weaponized to mobilize armies. Rembrandt is said to have been one of history’s greatest visual storytellers, so a greater understanding of story has tremendous potential for taking my work to its next level.

“The Labyrinth of Narratives – Why Do We Tell Stories?” Screenwriter Sadayuki MURAI

Another reason to delve into story is because my paintings don’t move. Therefore, it’s easy to fall into the trap of “objectifying” my subjects, resulting in work that is still and lifeless. Something magical happens when you are painting and suddenly your piece “comes to life!” but it’s not guaranteed to happen every time.

Perhaps story can help bring in even more life to my work.

Just as I had all kinds of lovely magical-feeling experiences, I witnessed others having their own magical moments, too, presenters and attendees alike.

You might be wondering how all this creative, loving energy that allows everyone’s best “magic” to unfold came into being. It was the impeccable preparation of the THU Team working with leaders in the City of Kaga, and the THU Way – a set of 5 guidelines I wish all world governments would adopt.

  1. NO VIPs – everyone is the same
    2. Learn & Share
    3. Be Kind
    4. Leave No One Behind – The Tribe always sticks together so no one feels alone.
    5. Embrace Imperfection

Learning of their inclusiveness gave me the desire and courage to try it. I’d made my decision, – but as a newer artist, was I qualified to go?

2 comments on “Storytellers’ Bootcamp Magic – THU Japan in Kaga, Part 1”
  1. 桂 千草
    May 22, 2024 at 8:18 am

    昨日はお疲れ様でした。
    名刺に掲載のタリーサ先生の写真だと思いましたので、油絵と知りびっくりです(・・;)私も絵や彫刻が好きです。最近は制作していませんが、先生の作品を目にしてワクワクしました。制作の話を聞かせてください。
    学生から「新しいメンバーのタリーサ先生が参加で驚いた!」「緊張した」と言っていました。
    タリーサ先生の参加でいっそう頑張ってくれそうです。
    さて、今日5講時に授業があります。12月11日〜25日実習のために土曜授業が組み込まれています。後期土曜日の授業は今日のみです。
    先生に伝え忘れていましたので、お知らせします。ご予定もおありでしょうし、欠席してください。
    では、来週の金曜日にお会いしましょう。

    1. Teresa BOLEN
      May 22, 2024 at 9:58 am

      桂 千草先生、メッセージはありがとうございました。
      一昨日はどうもありがとうございました。優しくて、にぎやかな学生たちと一緒に、先生の楽しい授業に参加できて、大変嬉しく思いました。土曜日の授業行けなくて、残念でした。来週の金曜日桂先生の授業で皆さんと一緒に日本語の手話を勉強するのを楽しみにしています。よろしくお願いします。

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