Tim Burton at LACMA


For over 30 years, Burton has had a creative career with highs and lows.  For the past two years, an exhibit has been touring the world giving his fans a brief insight into his creative mind. 

The entrance hinted at the freakiness that await you inside.

Unfortunately, the museum staff kept a vigilant watch and banned all photograph from the exhibit.








A timeline on the first wall outline Burton’s history was one of the first items to greet the visitor, along with a museum attendant barking that no pictures were allowed.  This was to be an annoying recurring theme all night.

I was surprised by the amount of written detail included in the exhibition.  Mementos from Burton’s childhood including sketches and award winning signs produced for local businesses.  One fascinating item a book mock up sent to Disney along with the rejection letter.

Burton studied at CalArts and there were a significant number of drawing and sketches from this period. Rick Heinrichs, a fellow graduate of  CalArts, created three dimension images of Burton’s work.  Together they produced an absolute highlight of the show: Vincent.

Vincent, short stop motion film about a young boy who dreamed of being Vincent Price.  Although only seven, Vincent had ghoulish dreams straight out of the mind of Edgar Allan Poe.  Burton wrote and directed while Rick Heinrichs created the figures for the stop motion film. 

Another highlight were the demented sketches create while Tim worked as a concept artist at Disney.  Standouts included a man’s eyes undressing a woman and what not to do with a constipated dog, which made me laugh out loud.

Of course, there were dozens of props from feature and short films including the carousel hat and extending arms from Beetlejuice; Catwoman’s outfit from Batman returns, costume from Edward Scissorshands, etc.  In addition, there a lot of conceptual drawings, which was great so you can see where the project started and ended.

Interestingly there were a lot of conceptual photography.

I appreciate seeing how Burton’s style evolved through the years. The basic tenants of his work could be seen in his earliest works.  I also forgot a lot of the great work that Burton has down over the years like James and the Giant peach, which was sorely underrepresented. 

 Tim Burton at LACMA until midnight on October 31, 2011. 

 For those of you who can’t make it – checkout the following websites for images:

Tim Burton Exhibit at LACMA

Tim Burton’s filmography

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