This past week found me at an artistic gathering in Troia, Portugal – Trojan Horse was a Unicorn (THU).  Over 700 attendees form the base of this event , with another 50+ professional guests as lecturers, presenters and live side shows. THU is a celebration of talent from a wide range of arts related to science fiction and fantasy, from animators to writers to illustrators to sculptors to art therapists to creative directors and more.  There is no one flag which could be waved to categorize this event, except that it is an open, educational share.

André Luis, photo courtesy THU.

André Luis is the moving force behind this event, drawing in the diverse talent, obtaining large sponsors for funding,  structuring programming,  and managing a large host of staff and volunteers. He very much sees THU has a critical movement to educate a new generation of creative, critical thinkers and link them into a worldwide, expansive arts industry.  His dedication to hosting this year after year, and in multiple locations, speaks to this mission of community building.

The attendees run a range of backgrounds, from new, young students to mature, experienced professionals.  What binds us all together is the desire to further develop our skills and knowledge as professional artists.

THU hosts a Gallery area where a couple handful of artist’s guests created works live during the event. I was luckily enough to have been set up next to fellow Muddy Colors blogger Jesper Ejsing and a talented new comer to the world of Magic: The Gathering – Evyn Fong.  What a week we had!

Fear, in progress from THU

I was able to work upon a new self-generated project as a demonstration to the attendees in narrative, realistic oil painting.  And as is typical, I barely shot any photos outside the scores I took on the beach working as a bird flusher for Jesper Ejsing and his avian photography! Mostly my time was heavily occupied with dialog, feasting (their food offerings are quite excellent for the guests!) and socializing from sunrise to far past sundown into every evening.

Jesper Ejsing with his ‘expensive’ Lens for Avian Photography


Sunrise in Troia.

Sunrise in Troia.

Throughout the week I met people from Finland, India, Mexico, South Africa, Bulgaria, Poland, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Sweden, England, Italy, France, Spain, Venezuela, Macedonia, Slovenia, Denmark, Ukraine, Canada, and others I am likely forgetting.  I’m sure many more countries were represented as well given the large numbers of attendees!

Needless to state, I came away fully impressed with the management of the events entire week long programming by André and the staff, and by the sincerity and passion exhibited by every single attendee and professional I engaged with.

Trojan Horse was a Unicorn was a deeply inspiring event I look forward to attending again in the future.