Dave Stevens


(posted on 15 Apr 2022)

        What is something “chummy” that lives in the waters of British Columbia? Why—chum salmon, of course!

        When I taught art in high schools I included art history and the work of other artists. One artist I found fascinating was Shaun Tan from Australia. His work is a cross between children’s books and graphic novels. There were certain images that stuck with me long after I had closed the covers.
         One of those images was his take on depression, or as he says “the darkness overcomes you”, in his book The Red Tree.
         I’m used to the idea of a dark cloud which follows the person around and only rains on them, a stereotypical representation. Shaun, on the other hand, worked with a giant grouper and although it floated above the person it has one of the saddest looks I have ever seen. It persisted in my memory because it was unique and it captured my own imagination. It gave me freedom to see depression differently as something outside of circumstances that can hover over a person despite what they do.


         Check out Shaun's books on his website.