As well as being a visionary film director, Tim Burton is also one of the most prolific and idiosyncratic visual artists of our time. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is currently hosting a choice selection of Tim Burton darkly twisted, charming imagery, running a major retrospective exploring the full range of his creative work -- as a film director, artist, illustrator, photographer and writer.
Unlike many modern art museums, with their half-assed, one-painting-every-ten-feet exhibition rooms, the minds behind this contemporary display have made it a fully immersive event. From the crooked walls, which complement Burton's labyrinthine brain to a giant monster mouth through which you must enter the show, visitors are being plucked from their ordinary world and thrown into the strange mindscape of a true visionary.
LACMA’s racked up a bunch of sketchbook drawings and early endeavors, from Burton's formative years as a high-school student (most notably, his hand-painted anti-littering campaign) to a recent foray into steel-sculpting over the past decade or so (”Robot Boy” plays as both a manifestation of his sketchbook doodles and a tribute to the pulpy Golden Age sci-fi of Forrest J. Ackerman).
Coolest of all thought is the 16mm reel of Burton’s 1979 2D animated short Stalk Of The Celery Monster. Also a brilliant animator, he made this movie all by himself as a CalArts student -- it’s what eventually got him noticed by Disney.
Packed to the brim with the man’s work, you not only get scribbled doodles of Edward Scissorhands and Family Dog, but also the real-life manifestations of these works: the Scissorhands suit and Bob Ringwood’s batman cowls from both movies. The entire exhibit gives patrons a close look at Burton’s creative process, from gestation to realization in a variety of different media.
The show proves he’s still (and really always was) a renaissance man in the fullest sense: plucked from suburban hell of Burbank, this is the classic story of an artist whose imagination was too big for his surroundings, and look how lost he got.
Follow Red Bull on Twitter for the latest news, updates and exclusive info.