Mr. Tan describes himself as an artist with autism. Diagnosed as a high-functioning autistic child before his third birthday, J. A. aims to show through art how his mind works. J. A. was born and raised in the Philippines and is now based in Vancouver, Canada, having completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver.
Of his art, he says: “I have come to the realization that I have always used art as a way of helping myself bring out my thoughts, feelings and ideas. I consider it an integral part of my existence as each work is a personal journey of myself with myself, and myself with the world, bringing a feeling of peace and happiness since things become clearer to me through the images and visual pictures before me.
Coping with everyday life as an artist challenged with autism, I strive to make a difference in the world. Through my work, I hope to make the world less of a mystery and less scary for everyone. I hope to be able to make concrete images of how someone like me thinks, feels and interacts with people”.
ARTIST’S STATEMENT FOR “VICTORY”
“One young boy listening to a different tune as he makes sense of the world around. Not an easy task as he perceives the world differently from others. He is met with confused looks, angry looks, disturbed looks, happy looks, questioning looks…so many questions but no one answer. Yet this young boy continues on his journey never giving up…until…
Supported by his immediate family – all five of them always a strong presence in his life – friends, and professionals this young boy today has claimed victory over the many challenges of his life. Today, with happy faces around him he shows
the world the “victory” of an artist with autism achieved with patience, discipline, perseverance, love, and a positive attitude.”
J.A. Tan 2011
*This piece is one of the featured pieces on United Nations Stamps to commemorate Autism Awareness Month. The stamps will be available for purchase on April 2nd, 2012. To purchase and for more information, visit the United Nations Postal Administration website, under the Autism Awareness section.