Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shaun Tan

I first came across Shaun Tan when the students at school were using The Rabbits in history. I thought his illustrations in the book where great. I love the use of space and large areas in his images along with the depiction of the strange animals etc. It's perfect as a school resource. He has done a lot of other great picture books all with a surreal look that is Shaun Tan's great technique. Some of the stuff he does has a Mambo look about it, the same uncanny style..

The Rabbits
The Red Tree“Without sense or reason” oils, acrylic and collage on paper.
Memorial‘The Unreturned’ graphite pencil on paper collage.
It floats gently above suburban rooftops... inspiring lonely dogs to bark in the middle of the night.' from Tales From Outer Suburbia
'Flock' pencil on paper from 'The Arrival'
Four Seasons- Pencil on paper from 'The Arrival'
Not only is he a great illustrator but he has some great paintings too.. Many influenced from his home town Perth. On his painting and illustrations he says:

"All of my work as an illustrator is based either directly or indirectly upon direct observation from life. I spend as much time as I can producing singular paintings, often semi-abstracted, but almost always drawn from things I know well; familiar landscapes, objects and people.
There is often a more direct relationship between observation and painting: typically I'm trying to find a visual equivalent to a subject in paint, rather than simply reproducing what I see. This often involves drawing and painting a series of forms, and then stripping them back to something essential.
I don’t think it would be possible to keep my illustrative work energised without the kind of visual and emotional training that can only be acquired through routine sketching from life. Of course, the boundaries between the illustration and painting frequently blur - and they are already vague, arbitrary categories. Perhaps the main difference is that a painting is more self-sufficient as a singular idea, outside of any other narrative. A good painting is it's own silent statement."

Mount Lawley rooftop-  (detail) 2001, acrylic & oil on canvas. A late summer afternoon view, painted from the roof of a house I was renting at the time.
Estuary1997, hession sacking, plaster, wood, canvas acrylic and oils on board (partially scorched), 110 x 130cm. An impression of a flat, estuarine landscape in Australind, Western Australia.
Norseman1996, found objects, old tins, oils, beeswax, rocks and red dust, 80 x 80cm. A 'landscape painting' made from material found in the actual landscape, near the remote town of Norseman in WA, where my brother worked as a geologist.

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