On Meeting Shaun Tan

On Thursday, I went to see my friends in the city. Promised to meet them for lunch at Tasik (the oxtail soup was great!) and then went to Ksubi sale at Claremont Showground. To my surprise, the stuff that they sell this year was so crappy. It was the same stuff that I saw 3 years ago. Contemplating on buying this super skinny edgy black jeans with double zipper on both pockets, and back pockets. After trying them on and looking myself in the mirror for 15 mins, I’m like naaahh.

After that we went back to the city, I decided to get a cup of coffee before I go home. I went to TigerTiger. Ordered the usual, (flat white) then I grabbed the newspaper, and sat down. And there it is, the second page. “Oscar winner back in Perth with his art”. I’m like, WHAT? SHAUN TAN IS COMING TO TOWN?!?! I took picture of the news and sent it to Anto. Shaun Tan is going to attend a family day in the Fremantle Children’s Literature Center. He’s going to exhibit some of his artwork and sharing his stories + book signing. I almost had a heart attack. I immediately clear my plans on Sunday (oh like so very busy). I’m so going there. I promised Anto I’ll buy him the book and ask Shaun for his signature.

Sunday morning I woke up a bit late. After rushing here and there, quickly showered and didn’t get a chance to have breakfast (or lunch, it was 12.20 already). I quickly ran to the bus stop and guess what? The bus that I thought was going to come at 12.46 is not coming. I had to wait till 13.22. #$#%#$%#$!!!! I called Clem with like the most innocent voice ever, “Can i ask u a favour?”. Clem, “Yes..?” (suspicious). Mar, “Can u drop me at the train station?”. Hahaha. In the end he dropped me at the train station. It was a perfect timing tho, the bus was leaving in 3 minutes!! Apparently the journey took like 35minutes-ish. Omg.

Because the FCLC’s location was not on the route, so the driver told me to hop off at this stop and I gotta walk about 800m-ish. Lucky it wasn’t raining. FCLC’s building was at the back of the Old Freo prison. There was a huge sign, FREMANTLE CHILDREN’S LITERATURE CENTER, turn left. I’m like, YEAY!! I thought I had to walk even further. When I got there I immediately went inside the bookshop, buy the book and went to the venue. FCLC had a family day today, they have couple authors reading their books and exhibiting their work. But Shaun Tan is probably the reason half of the people there coming to see. I went to see the small exhibition. It was some preliminary sketches for The Red Tree. I tell you now, that guy is amazing. Even on his early sketches he has a crystal clear idea on what to put here and there. Every little details was covered. After that I realized that everyone was queuing to get his signature, so I went as well.

Apparently the crowd was overwhelming, the FCLC team didn’t expect so many crowds so they decided to do the signing outside on the verandah. Everyone magically stayed on the line and walk slowly to the verandah. And then he came. All the children was squeaking and smiling. I asked the lady behind me if she could take my picture with Shaun when the time comes. She said yes. Woohoo.

And there he was, signing books to kids. Very patient and calm. My turn comes, and…

M: Hi Shaun..
S: Hellow..
M: ……. *nervous* How does it feel to win an Academy Award?
S: Well.. Its not something that I set out to do.. But it feels great *smiling*
M: Hahaha.. Thanks for signing the book, do you mind if i wanna take a picture with you?
S: No problem.. Sure..
*click*

M: Thanks Shaun, love your work.. *handshake*
S: Thanks very much…

And then I die and go to heaven. Hahahaha.

After that I was smiling non stop, squeaking like a little girl. I decided to calmed myself and get a cup of coffee. Shaun was still signing books and there’s a Q&A session for about an hour. At 3o’clock, the Q&A session began. He was telling his story on how he started his career. Everyone was in awe on how calm and low profile he was, despite winning the Oscar and Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2011. He talked about how he started everything on a sketch book, developing ideas from there. He started The Lost Thing on his kitchen table back in late 90’s or early 2000 at his share house in Mt. Lawley.

What struck me the most was when he said,

Don’t ever worry about what it means. Just follow it. If it works, it works.

Its probably the best piece of advice I’ve heard lately. He also told us that he never differentiate adult-children reader. He just write stuff and maybe sometimes he worry if the story would be too dark for children. He never talk down to children or talk to them in a different way, because his trust for children reader is so big that he doesn’t worry at all.

One of the guy asked him, most of his stories are dark and deep. Is that because he’s depressed? He said, depressed and happiness is a normal thing. Its seasonal. Its ok to be depressed once in a while because it sparks up his creativity. And perhaps at that moment he was slightly depressed and that just came up in a form of drawing and stories. HA!

One hour went too quick. After the Q&A I was so inspired and starving so I went to the Freo Market to get something to eat. I sat there eating, munching slowly, still can’t believe I just shook hands with Shaun Tan. After that I bought that yummy Spanish doughnut with black chocolate filling and walked to the train station. Everything seems to be unreal. Massive load of ideas and inspirations running through my mind for the last couple of days. And today is the massive trigger to do something about it.

I guess I gotta do something about it huh? Alright, enough about me.

How’s your weekend?
MRS.SNTS.

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About marisantosa

Graphic designer // Sunset hunter // Mars from Pingu On Mars

2 responses to “On Meeting Shaun Tan

  1. i wish i was there! #pengsan

  2. lo diwakilkan oleh buku lo dan laporan pandangan mata gue bok!!

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