You discover how confounding the world is when you try to draw it. You look at a car, and you try to see its car-ness, and you’re like an immigrant to your own world. You don’t have to travel to encounter weirdness. You wake up to it.

— Shaun Tan

The most staggering Shaun Tan quotes that are easy to memorize and remember

The Federal Department of Odds and Ends: sweepus underum carpetae.


So you want to hear a story? Well, I used to know a whole lot of pretty interesting ones. Some of them so funny you'd laugh yourself unconscious, others so terrible you'd never want to repeat them. But I can't remember any of those. So I'll just tell you about the time I found that lost thing.


Depression is the flip side of creative inspiration but it can be useful.

It's telling you to stop for a little bit. You can become so fully absorbed in the world of creative work that it can lead to some imbalance in your life.


As an artist, even if you are putting out something really dark and disturbing, that's good because it's opening a discussion. Always in the back of my mind is this thought that the world has to be a better place with you in it.


I don't get really inspired the way some people do, buzzing with ideas - it feels like hard work to me... but once I get hooked into the universe of a particular work it becomes almost like an aesthetic addiction.


There's a sort of absurdity to Australia and the so-called New World nations.

I sensed it all the time growing up in Western Australia, which is really remote.


Today is the tomorrow you were promised yesterday.


What I love about Inuit carving is that it's so narrative, but it doesn't have the temporal dimension of an illustrated picture, where it feels like something happens before or after. Everything is happening in the sculpture, and you can hold the whole story in your hand. A lot of these sculptures are small enough that you can hide them in your hand completely so you're not looking at them, you're just feeling them. I


Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to.


Yes, we all know that there's a good chance the missiles won't work properly when the government people finally come to get them, but over the years we've stopped worrying about that. Deep down, most of us feel it's probably better this way. After all, if there are families in faraway countries with their own backyard missiles, armed and pointed back at us, we would hope that they too have found a much better use for them.