Pioneering, inspirational, creative, prolific, genius. These are all words that go some way towards encapsulating the spirit of visionary film-maker Tim Burton. Few artists can lay claim to such a command of the entire creative process – from original thought, to sketch, to three dimensional realisation of each project.
It takes something special for me to neglect my family/sleep to pick up my artist’s tools (in this case pencil and digital paintbox) and literally go back to the drawing board. I felt the need to encapsulate Burton’s incredible character in a portrait – something I haven’t done for a long time. Click the main image (left) to see the end result.
I don’t usually resort to lists in my blog entries but Tim Burton’s portfolio reads like a colourful cinematic palette. A selection in chronological order:
- Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
- Edward Scissorhands
- Batman Returns
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Mars Attacks!
- Sleepy Hollow
- Planet of the Apes
- Big Fish
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
- Alice in Wonderland
- 1984 – the remake
Proving that talent has the ability to rise to the top very quickly, this list illustrates Burton’s accelerated career path to date.
Beginning with a Disney scholarship to the California Institute of the Arts, Tim’s first job as a Disney animator apprentice proved Walt’s inflexible brand was never going to sit comfortably with the maverick film-maker. After his first couple of studio outings, The Fox and The Hound (not about a pub) and Frankenweenie (deemed unsuitable for children), Warner Bros handed over the reigns to Pee-wee’s Big adventure – a surprise box office smash hit.
Now we kick up a gear as Burton gets his teeth into something more Burtonesque – cue supernatural comedy Beetle Juice. This in turn leads to The first of three hugely successful Batman films (directing Batman and Batman Returns, Producing Batman Forever).
Batman put Burton in the driving seat as far as the rest of his career has been concerned. To date, Tim’s creative genius is stamped across all his work, from Edward Scissor hands, through the animated splendour of The Nightmare Before Christmas to The chilling musicality of Sweeny Todd.
This momentum shows no signs of slowing, with another animated adventure, 9 due for release in September, Alice in Wonderland next March and the remake of Orwell’s 1984 due in 2010.
Tim Burton gives his audiences a creative masterpiece with each film thanks to his abilities as a designer, artist, writer, director, producer and visionary. The creative collaboration with Johnny Depp (and his partner Helena Bonham Carter) provides Burton with the ideal tools to make each vision a reality.
The art of story-telling is very much alive in the kingdom of Burtonia, with an ever-increasing portfolio of work and a larger audience to consume good old-fashioned escapism.