Monday, September 5, 2011

The Lost Thing Weekend

I've mentioned before how much I love the work of artist Shaun Tan. I was introduced to his illustration work years ago when looking for Adam Rex images (not sure I see the connection but hey). Since then I've been buying Shaun Tan's books regularly. I have Tales from Outer Suburbia. I have The Arrival. I even found an old copy of The Red Tree on ebay. Any other books that I haven't bought I've picked up from the libraries. I love this man's work.

One of my favorite stories is The Lost Thing. The picture book tells the story of a central narrator, who remembers when he found a lost thing on the beach one day. No one else seemed to pay any attention to it (they were all too busy for odd lost things), so he took it home. His parents were too busy to notice. But the boy knew he couldn't keep The Lost Thing. So the next day he went down to the Bureau of Odds and Ends to turn it in. While they were waiting to fill out the numerous forms in triplicate, an odd looking janitor handed the boy a card and said that if he really cared about the thing to take it to this address. The boy searched for a long time (the Bureau was dark and scary anyway) and found the address. It was a courtyard filled with lost things of every size and shape. And they all seemed happy. The Lost Thing was happy to go and the boy returned to his life. As an adult now he has noticed recently that he's seeing less and less lost things. But then again he's really busy.

I read the book years ago but hadn't found a copy to buy. This past year though Shaun Tan released a collection of three of his stories (The Red Tree, The Lost Thing, and The Rabbits) in one volume called Lost and Found. This weekend while at Barnes and Noble, I spotted a copy and had to buy it. Even with my limited cash I knew this was a book I would treasure. I hadn't read The Rabbits yet so that was a treat (well not treat. It was powerful). When Jeff asked what I'd bought I made him go through all the stories. I was so excited.

After I got the book home I was searching through an animation blog I read when I stumbled on information about Annecy, an animation festival held annually in France. The festival webpage mentioned that Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing (animated short) had won in 2010. I had seen the trailer years ago so I quickly tracked down the film. It was on iTunes. I was expecting a $10 movie so I was thrilled to see the basic version of the film available for $1.99. I couldn't click the buy button fast enough. The animated short was perfect. Exactly the way I would have imagined the story done. I was so excited to finally own the story and the movie. I've been wanting them for a long time.

By the way, Shaun Tan has the best interview answer I've ever read about drawing. He was sitting in an interview and being asked about his illustration. The interviewer of course asked "When did you start drawing?". Shaun just replied "When did you stop?" And he makes a great point. We all grow up drawing. We may be terrible but as a kid we draw. It is only as we get older that we stop. The artists we love, just never stopped. I remember that when I start to worry about how bad I'll be at something.


TheDogLikeCynic said...

That's a wonderful point. Imagine all of the things we could be good at if we just never gave up.

...or if not good, annoyingly determined. lol

Cat B said...

I like annoyingly determined. lol. That's something I could shoot for!