Tim Burton: A Look Inside His Visual Imagination

Tim Bur­ton is a house­hold name with his creepy cre­ations and vivid sym­bol­ic imagery in film and art. Born in Bur­bank, Cal­i­for­nia in 1958, Bur­ton stud­ied at the Cal­i­for­nia Insti­tute of the Arts and worked as an ani­ma­tor for Dis­ney. After a time, he left to pur­sue an inde­pen­dent career, becom­ing famous for a wide vari­ety of films such as The Night­mare Before Christ­masBat­manBig Fish, and most recent­ly, Alice in Won­der­land.

The video above fea­tures Bur­ton dis­cussing the cul­ti­va­tion of his sig­na­ture style and the source of his unique images. The clip was shot in con­nec­tion with an exhib­it of Bur­ton’s work at the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art, held in New York City in 2009–2010. The exhib­it has since moved to LACMA in Los Ange­les, and it traces the devel­op­ment of Bur­ton’s work from child­hood sketch­es to his mature work as a film­mak­er, bring­ing togeth­er hun­dreds of draw­ings, paint­ings, pho­tographs, mov­ing image works, con­cept art, sto­ry­boards, pup­pets, maque­ttes, cos­tumes, and cin­e­mat­ic ephemera from his films. The show con­tin­ues out­side the muse­um with a top­i­ary inspired by Edward Scis­sorhands and a ren­di­tion of Bal­loon Boy, a fig­ure com­bin­ing char­ac­ters from Bur­ton’s 1997 book The Melan­choly Death of Oys­ter Boy and Oth­er Sto­ries. You can catch the exhib­it at LACMA until Octo­ber 31st — a fit­ting end date, to be sure.

Hark­ing back to an ear­li­er post, here is a sam­ple of Bur­ton’s ear­ly film­mak­ing, cre­at­ed not long before he set out on his own. Nar­rat­ed by Vin­cent Price, the short film, Vin­cent, effec­tive­ly brings togeth­er two great tal­ents of the hor­ror genre … and will put any­one in the spir­it of Hal­loween if you’re not already there.

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  • Actu­al­ly, “Vin­cent” is not “a sam­ple of Burton’s work after he left Dis­ney.” It was made at Dis­ney with a bud­get of $60,000. The oth­er night at LAMCA, Rick Hein­richs, who worked on the film with Bur­ton (the film cred­its him with Bur­ton at the start), showed a brief clip fea­tur­ing Bur­ton and him­self talk­ing about the project they were work­ing on while at Dis­ney. “Franken­wee­nie,” released in 1984, was also made at Dis­ney.

  • Angel says:

    Hi this is Angel er I love your work and iv drawn all of you work and every­one says its amaz­ing I can ril­ly draw and I can draw you it any­thing I hope you get this and I Evan got your Cora­line book sind from you I hope you get this love angel paige and if you answer me we could get into more con­tact if you want so bye Tim bur­ton.

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