Artists & the Art of Storytelling: Shaun Tan Won an Oscar!

Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing won an award that looks like a mini Iron Man! WHEE! I can't describe how wonderful this is mostly because I've been a slack-jawed fan of his work ever since I read THE ARRIVAL and fell in love with the textless picture book that more clearly captured the immigrant experience that my grandparents were trying to tell me than any other medium I'd ever seen. What could describe the language barrier better than the total absence of language? The quirky and creepy creatures alongside the poignant and empathic characters (often being one and the same) is something that characterizes the art of people like Shaun Tan (and Tim Burton, IMO) and makes them truly remarkable.

It's discoveries like this that feel more like going on an adventure with buried treasure; that feeling I used to get when delving through an old used book store and emerging with a stack which I bought, giddy with guilty pleasure that I'd found them first! Both the art of the writing and the art of the cover, or the body of the picture book or the illustrations in poetry; there is a harmony of images and world-building that gifted artists like Shaun Tan, David Wiesner, and Brian Selznick push beyond. I often think back on this interview clip and think about what can be both said and unsaid in the art of storytelling:


P.S. Check out some of the other associated videos in the sidebar. Fascinating epipahnies for the taking!

I remember gushing just as much for his texted picture book, TALES FROM OUTER SUBURBIA. Makes you wonder how his brain works. (I do, but not in a Mad Scientist with a circular saw sort of why...why are you looking at me like that?)

You can see tons of the "making of" process here (which I'll admit is one of my favorite parts of watching DVDs like LoTR and Nick Park/Aardman) and this is the official trailer for The Lost Thing (available on DVD!):

It makes me think a lot about what my own cover artist, Alberto Seveso was capturing with his art when he created the image of Consuela Chavez and hints of the Flow and one of her otherworldly skins...

What art/artist inspires you with the stories they tell?

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