Shaun Tan, born in 1974, is an award winning illustrator and author of many well-known children’s books. Tan was born and raised in Fremantle, Western Australia, where as a boy, spent his time writing and illustrating poems and stories. Tan was known at his primary school as very talented artist. Through out high school, Tan continued his passion for illustrating, where he was enrolled in a special art program for gifted students. However, Tan eventually took an academic path into university where he studied studied to become a geneticist before chasing down his dream of working as an artist. Tan picked up his education at the University of Western Australia where he studied fine arts and English Literature and graduated in 1995 with a bachelor of arts.
Tans productions are usually in the form of illustrations of original children’s storybook, however being an artist has produced many different visual communications. Throughout his career, Tan has not only illustrated his own work, but many other authors work, including several books written by Gary Crew. Tan and Crew worked together on a book called Memorial, a story about a tree planted beside a war memorial monument, in a small country town by returned servicemen. Years on, the tree has grown to be huge and wild, dislodging the statue next to it and creating a traffic hazard in what is now a much larger, busier town. A decision is made by a local council to cut the tree down. Tan tried to capture, as he described “the nature of memory” in his illustrations, which were fragmented, worn and faded looking. Tan incorporated collage, drawings and painting in his drawings and used fabric, leaves, wood, rusted metal, photographs, newspaper and dead bugs. The use of various materials was to replicate the ‘texture’ of memory as memories only come alive when they are experienced Tan said.
As Tan is an illustrator he works with a range of different specialists. First of all he works in collaboration...
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