Shaun Tan

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Shaun Tan
Shaun Tan 2011-05-22 002.jpg
Shaun Tan in 2011
Born 1974
Perth, Australia
Nationality Australian
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Artist
Notable works
The Red Tree
The Lost Thing
The Arrival

http://www.shauntan.net/
http://thebirdking.blogspot.com.au/

Shaun Tan is an Australian artist, writer and film maker. He won an Academy Award for The Lost Thing, a 2011 animated film adaptation of a 2000 picture book he wrote and illustrated. Beside The Lost Thing, The Red Tree and The Arrival are books he has written and illustrated.

Tan was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, and grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, in 1974. In 2006, his wordless graphic novel The Arrival won the Book of the Year prize as part of the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.[1] The same book won the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year award in 2007.[2] and the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Premier's Prize in 2006.[3]

Tan's work has been described as an "Australian vernacular" that is "at once banal and uncanny, familiar and strange, local and universal, reassuring and scary, intimate and remote, guttersnipe and sprezzatura. No rhetoric, no straining for effect. Never other than itself."[4]

For his career contribution to "children's and young adult literature in the broadest sense" Tan won the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from the Swedish Arts Council, the biggest prize in children's literature.[5]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

As a boy, Tan spent time illustrating poems and stories and drawing dinosaurs, robots and spaceships. At school he was known as a talented artist.[6] At the age of eleven, he became a fan of The Twilight Zone television series as well as books that bore similar themes. Tan cites Ray Bradbury as a favorite at this time. These stories led to Tan writing his own short stories. Of his effort at writing as a youth, Tan tells, "I have a small pile of rejection letters as testament to this ambition!"[7] At the age of sixteen, Tan's first illustration appeared in the Australian magazine Aurealis in 1990.[7]

Transition to illustration[edit]

Tan almost studied to become a geneticist, and enjoyed chemistry, physics, history and English while in high school as well as art and claimed that he did not really know what he wanted to do.[7] During his university studies, Tan decided to move from academic studies to working as an artist.[8]

Tan continued his education at the University of Western Australia where he studied Fine Arts, English Literature and History. While this was of interest to him, there was little practical work involved.[8] In 1995, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.[9]

Work process[edit]

Initially, Tan worked in black and white because the final reproductions would be printed that way. Some black and white mediums he used included pens, inks, acrylics, charcoal, scraperboard, photocopies and linocuts.[7] Tan's current colour works still begin as black and white. He uses a graphite pencil to make sketches on ordinary copy paper. The sketches are then reproduced numerous times with different versions varying with parts added or removed. Sometimes scissors are used for this purpose. The cut and paste collage idea in these early stages often extend to the finished production with many of his illustrations using such materials as "glass, metal, cuttings from other books and dead insects."[7]

Tan describes himself as a slow worker who revises his work many times along the way. He is interested in loss and alienation, and believes that children in particular react well to issues of natural justice. He feels he is "like a translator" of ideas, and is happy and flattered to see his work adapted and interpreted in film and music (such as by the Australian Chamber Orchestra).[10]

Influences[edit]

Tan draws from a large source of inspiration and cites many influences on his work. His comment on the subject is: "I’m pretty omnivorous when it comes to influences, and I like to admit this openly."[7] Some influences are very direct. The Lost Thing is a strong example where Tan makes visual references to famous artworks. Many of his influences are a lot more subtle visually, some of the influences are ideological. Below are some influences he has named in various interviews:

Patronage[edit]

The Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists is sponsored by the City of Subiaco and open to all Perth school children between 5 and 17 years. The award is aimed at encouraging creativity in two-dimensional works. It is held annually with award winners announced in May and finalists' works exhibited at the Subiaco Library throughout June.[12]

Awards[edit]

1992

  • L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Contest: First Australian to win[7]

1993

1995

1996

  • Ditmar Award, Artwork, Winner for Eidolon Issue 19 (Cover)[13]

1997

  • Ditmar Award, Professional Artwork, Nominated for artwork in Eidolon and the cover of The Stray Cat[13]

1998

1999

  • Aurealis Conveners' Award for Excellence for The Rabbits
  • Children's Book Council of Australia, Notable Book for The Playground
  • Children's Book Council of Australia, Picture Book of the Year, Winner for The Rabbits
  • Ditmar Award, Australian Professional Artwork, Nominated for The Rabbits[13]
  • Spectrum Gold Award for Book Illustration for The Rabbits

2000

  • APA Design Award for Memorial
  • Children's Book Council of Australia, Picture Book of the Year, Honour Book for Memorial
  • Ditmar Award, Artwork, Winner for The Coode St Review Of Science Fiction[13]
  • Spectrum Gold Award for Book Illustration
  • Western Australian Premier's Book Awards, Writing for Young Adults award, Shortlisted for Lost Thing[14]

2001

2002

2006

  • Premier's Prize and Children's Books category winner in the Western Australian Premier's Book Awards for The Arrival

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2014

Adaptations[edit]

  • The Red Tree, a play based on Tan's book of the same name, was commissioned by the Queensland Performing Arts Centre.[21]
  • The Red Tree, a music performance created by new composer Michael Yezerski with Richard Tognetti; performed by the Australian Chamber Orchestra with the youth choir Gondwana Voices, and accompanied by images from the book.[22]
  • The Arrival. Images from this book were projected during a performance by the Australian Chamber Orchestra of conductor Richard Tognetti’s arrangement of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15[22]
  • The Lost Thing has been adapted as an Oscar-winning animated short film.[23]
  • The Lost Thing inspired an album by Sydney band Lo-Tel, complete with artwork from the book.
  • The Lost Thing has also been adapted as a play by the Jigsaw Theatre Company,[24] a youth theatre company in Canberra. This was the main event for the National Gallery of Australia's Children Festival (Canberra) and at the Chookahs! Kids Festival (Melbourne) in 2006.
  • The Lost Thing was the theme for the 2006 Chookahs! Kids Festival at The Arts Centre[25] in Melbourne, with many different activities based on concepts from the book.
  • The Arrival was adapted for the stage by Red Leap Theatre.[26]
  • The Arrival was again projected on a screen to an orchestral score, performed by Orkestra of the Underground with 18 pieces created by musician and composer Ben Walsh. This was performed in the Opera House in Sydney, The Melbourne Recital Centre and Her Majesty's Theatre in Adelaide.[27]
  • The Rabbits was the basis for an opera by Kate Miller-Heidke; its premiere was performed by the West Australian Opera during the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival.

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

As illustrator

  • Pipe, by James Moloney (1996)
  • The Stray Cat, by Steven Paulsen (1996)
  • The Doll, by Janine Burke (1997)
  • The Half Dead, by Garry Disher (1997)
  • The Viewer, written by Gary Crew (1997)
  • The Rabbits, written by John Marsden (1998)
  • The Hicksville Horror, by Nette Hilton (1999)
  • The Puppet, by Ian Bone (1999)
  • Memorial, written by Gary Crew (1999)
  • Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (2008)

As author and illustrator

Installations[edit]

  • Mural in the Children's Section of the Subiaco Public Library (Perth, Western Australia).[28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2007 NSW Premier's Literary Awards", The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2007 
  2. ^ "Winners 2007", Book of the Year Awards, CBCA .
  3. ^ "Shaun Tan", Premier's Book Awards Hall of Fame, State Library of Western Australia .
  4. ^ Robb, Peter (13 September 2013). "The view from outside". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "2011: Shaun Tan: A masterly visual storyteller". The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
  6. ^ "Biography: Shaun Tan". Scholastic. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Haber, Karen (December 2001). "Shaun Tan: Out of Context". Locus (12). Retrieved 2007-07-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Shaun Tan", Visual arts requirements case studies, NSW HSC Online .
  9. ^ Agent, AustLit .
  10. ^ "Shaun Tan: Tales from Outer Suburbia", National Book Show (AU: ABC Radio), 29 May 2008 
  11. ^ Shaun Tan: Solving the puzzle, AU: ABC, May 2005 .
  12. ^ Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists .
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Science fiction awards database". 
  14. ^ "Western Australian Premier's Book Awards – 2000 Shortlist". State Library of Western Australia. 
  15. ^ a b "Award Winners and Nominees". World Fantasy Convention. 2010. Retrieved 4 Feb 2011. 
  16. ^ "World Fantasy Awards Winners", Locus Online News, November 2007 .
  17. ^ "Palmarès Officiel 2008 Fauve D'Or: Prix du Meilleur Album" [Official 2008 Fauve D'Or trophy: Best album prize]. Festival International de la Bande Dessinée d'Angoulême (in French). Retrieved 2008-01-27. 
  18. ^ "2008 Hugo Award Nomination list". Denvention. Retrieved 2008-03-29. 
  19. ^ "2011 Hugo Award Winners". The Hugo Awards. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  20. ^ "Tidigare mottagare". Peter Pan-priset (in Swedish). International Board on Books for Young People. Retrieved 27 August 2014. 
  21. ^ Queensland Performing Arts Centre Media Release
  22. ^ a b Australian Chamber Orchestra The Red Tree Accessed: 2008-05-29
  23. ^ Lothian Books
  24. ^ Jigsaw Theatre Company
  25. ^ Homepage – The Arts Centre – the home of the performing arts in Melbourne
  26. ^ "The Arrival – Red Leap Theatre". Australian Stage. 12 January 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  27. ^ "Orkestra of the Underground". 
  28. ^ Shaun, Tan. "The Tea Party". Retrieved 6 September 2014. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]