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Growing up in the suburbs of Perth, Western Australia Shaun Tan was a talented artist from an early age. Influenced by everything from verse poetry to the Twilight Zone, Tan would often draw accompanying pictures to the stories prevalent in his childhood. His first commercial foray into illustration was for the Australian magazine Aurealis in 1990 when Shaun was just sixteen years old. Shaun then attended the University of Western Australia and graduated with honors in Fine Arts and English Literature. After graduating Shaun worked as a freelance artist, illustrating and painting science fiction stories for small press magazines. While working as a freelance artist Shaun was developing ideas for his own body of work, which would revolve around social, political and historical subjects portrayed through surreal, dream-like imagery. His works include:
- Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link (2008)
- Memorial, written by Gary Crew (1999)
- The Puppet, by Ian Bone (1999)
- The Hicksville Horror, by Nette Hilton (1999)
- The Rabbits, written by John Marsden (1998)
- The Viewer, written by Gary Crew (1997)
- The Half Dead, by Garry Disher (1997)
- The Doll, by Janine Burke (1997)
- The Stray Cat, by Steven Paulsen (1996)
- Pipe, by James Moloney (1996)
Awards and Accolades
Shaun Tan was won numerous awards throughout his career, ranging from the World Fantasy, Hugo, and Ditmar Awards for Best Artist to an Academy Award for Best Short Film (The Lost Thing) In total Shaun has won 44 prestigious awards and even lent his name to the Shaun Tan Award for Young Artists. Sponsored by the City of Subiaco, the contest seeks to promote creativity for two dimensional works and is open to all Perth schoolchildren ages 5 to 17. He is probably best known for his wordless graphic novel The Arrival which has won several prestigious awards and gained much critical acclaim since it's publishing in 2006.