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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