J.A. held his brush as if it were a talisman and an extension of himself.
He then let the colours cascade on canvass, while the camera panned alternately to his hand, his brush, his face. He was immersed in the moment, caught in the words he was trying to speak.
It was at once stark and beautiful.
The video, shown to me after the interview, was made by J.A.’s brother, Thomas, a screenwriter by profession, and it spoke of J.A.’s journey, of his autism, of his art. Of how everything was difficult but perfect for J.A., because he found a way to speak his truth.
Granville Island boasts of “fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most spectacular fresh food market you’ve ever seen.” It is infused with colour and energy and showcased Vancouver’s sea to sky magnificence.
It is also a hotbed for art.
For Jose Antonio “J.A.” Tan, however, it is a sanctuary. It is there—at the Saltwater Studios off of Duranleau Street in Granville—that he spends his days speaking his mind through expressions/explosions of wonder and beauty.
To him, it was the flowing water that surrounds Granville, which one could barely hear in the distance, that soothed him best (the False Creek Inlet was few steps, in fact, from his studio) and allows him to bring to life his inner world.