Judy Shintani and the inside of the Crane Woman's Cape she created

Meet Judy Shintani, Artist-in-Residence

Posted on April 7, 2016

Creativity Explored is pleased to introduce Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Judy Shintani. Working in the Creativity Explored studio February through April 11, 2016, Shintani's residency focused on storytelling and folktales from around the world. 

Furthering her interest in Japanese folktales, Shintani worked with Creativity Explored artists on their own selected stories from various cultures. She worked primarily with Charles Cruz, Melody Lima, and Selene Perez. Artists selected a story based on a country, character, or animal of their choice. Cruz, Lima, and Perez expanded their way of working in medias they were familiar with. Shintani says, "I wanted to help them learn new ways of working and expanding their techniques in the theme of storytelling and art book making."

For Shintani, working with a small group of CE artists over a long period of time was "priceless." The residency by nature was an open experience not focused on a single medium but rather on the theme of storytelling. What surpised Shintani was how some mainstream folktales were completely new the artists. Encountering these tales for the first time, the CE artists really made the stories their own. 

Melody Lima was inspired by an Indian folktale about a snakecharmer for her pop-up book, a new media for her. In this tale, robbers come to steal the contents of a basket, but instead find a snake. 

Charles Cruz was inspired several stories and in particular by the American folk hero Paul Bunyan and the story of Babe the Blue Ox. Cruz focused on different aspects of this American folktale by creating accordian books and paintings.

Inspired by a Spanish folktale told by former guest workshop artist Eva Enriquez, Selene Perez selected papier-mâché as her medium. The Spanish folktale tells the story of a young boy whose mother does not let him play outside for fear of getting lost or injured. One day the boy defies his mother and goes outside to play. The little boy is eaten by a cow, who spits out the boy. This inspired Perez to create a papier-mâché cow, which included a window for the little boy to escape. Using this folktale as inspiration, Perez continued to make a series of papier-mâché animals and people with windows. Perez's sculptures are in the style of Alebrije, which are brightly colored Oaxacan-Mexican folk art figures of fantastical creatures.

Shintani remarks, "It was inspiring to share international folktales with the artists, to get their responses, and see how they made them their own. I learned new stories through working on ones the artists selected based on a certain country or character."

Crane Woman's Cape by Judy Shintani
Melody Lima (left) with Judy Shintani (right)
Papier-mâché cow by Selene Perez.
Selene Perez working on a papier-mâché giraffe.
Melody Lima working on her book.
Book by Melody Lima
Charles Cruz (left) and Judy Shintani (right)
Book by Charles Cruz
Kitsune, a shape shifting fox/woman accordion book by Judy Shintani
Papier-mâché rabbit by Selene Perez.

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