Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembering Adam Tan 1991-2014

Above: Adam Tan at Zinefest 2014.

On Friday it was confirmed that a body found in a stream in Henderson, West Auckland, was that of missing illustrator Adam Tan.

Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.

Adam Tan was a gifted and well known illustrator in the Auckland arts community. He was of Malaysian-Chinese descent, born and raised in New Zealand. A recent graduate of AUT, he had exhibited and sold prints of his artwork at such events as Zinefest and Chromacon.

He had been missing since the 27th of October after running away from Waitakere Hospital, where his family had taken him after he became distressed, and voluntarily admitted himself to the mental health ward on arrival. During an escorted transfer to the ward he unexpectedly broke away from a security officer and nurse, scaled a metal fence and ran through a car park before disappearing. His family and friends mounted a search for him, coordinating their efforts via a page on Facebook, while the police continued their search.

On Monday 3rd of November a body was discovered in a stream behind the Trusts Stadium on Central Park Drive in Henderson, which was later identified as Adam Tan.

Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.

His sudden, tragic passing, leaves behind a portfolio of amazing artwork - some of which you can still view HERE at his website, and what would have no doubt have been a very successful career as an illustrator. Dylan Horrocks was one of his tutors at AUT and posted this tribute on Facebook page: "I was in awe of Adam's ability and vision, and always enjoyed chatting with him. My thoughts and love go out to his family and friends, his former teachers and especially to his fellow students in the class we shared. You're all amazing, and I wish you all plenty of love and strength".

Above: Artwork by Adam Tan. Copyright the Estate of Adam Tan 2014.

I had the pleasure of meeting Adam a few years ago during a visit to a Queen St studio space he shared in Auckland with his some of his fellow AUT design students. He was softly spoken as he showed me some of the remarkable artwork he was working on, it was energising to be in the presence of such creativity. He will be greatly missed, and my thoughts and deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. His life and artwork will continue to inspire us all.

If you suffer from depression or feel you are in crisis and need to talk to someone, please consider calling one of the following help lines:

Lifeline – 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland

Depression Helpline – 0800 111 757

Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865
Or visit: 

www.depression.org.nz – includes The Journal online help service.

SPARX.org.nz –  online e-therapy tool provided by the University of Auckland that helps young people learn skills to deal with feeling down, depressed or stressed.

- AK!


  1. Rest easy Adam. You will be missed.

  2. Very sorry to hear of this, to young. Well done on respecting him, his art, and posting this blog in his Honor. Commiserations to his friends and family.

  3. Adam I didn't know you. But I feel your work. I connect to it. You are brilliant. Rest in Power.