Tim Burton Exhibit at the LACMA

I finally managed to make my way to the Tim Burton Exhibit at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I don’t consider myself a giant Tim Burton fan although I do enjoy a lot (but not all) of his movies, including Nightmare Before Christmas and Edward Scissorhands.

LACMA is definitely one of my favorite museums in Los Angeles. It has a wonderful variety from all its permanent collection as well as interesting revolving shows. The drive is a little bit of a pain for me but it’s worth it for the occasional visits. Plus, there are usually food trucks across the street and lots of really good restaurants at a walking distant. Anyways, I knew this particular exhibit had proven to be quite popular and since our annual membership included a free ticket to the gallery, my  boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of it. We didn’t anticipate the long line to get into the exhibit inside the Resnick Pavillion but thankfully, the line moved along pretty quickly. We must have waited a maximum 20 minutes to get in.

It was worth the wait!

Tim Burton, LACMA

Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photos inside the gallery but here is a quick snap of the entrance. I wished I could have taken a photo at the front but I didn’t want to hold up the line for everyone else behind us.

The first room had a handful of Burton’s sketches from his personal collection and most of them were character sketches from his popular movies. His works were ordered chronologically and the second room had a lot of his college projects on display. It was neat to see how his style developed as student but it was apparent that he was already fond of drawing creatures from his own imagination. Yet the choice of sketches on display also showed that he was very much skilled in realism and all styles of art. I was fascinated by how he created texture on his painting by using patterns with his line work.

Romeo and Juliet, photo taken from LACMA website

The next rooms were dedicated to work from his movies. We enjoyed the Beetlejuice section a lot. For me, his work on Beetlejuice seemed more raw and had more artistic freedom compared to his other movies. It seemed he took a lot of visuals from his own personal work in the past and incorporated it with Beetlejuice.

I got to look at the Catwoman suit from Batman Returns up close and was surprised to realize that the actual suit had splashes of blue and green instead of having it all black like it seemed on screen. The full costume for Edward Scissorhands was also on display and the amount of detail that went into that outfit is quite insane. There was so much texture and layers that I can’t imagine how long it took for Johnny Depp to put it on. Or to take it off… But it must have been a dream come true for the costume department to put it together. Either that or it was a big pain in the ass!

I could have spent most of the day inside the exhibit and gotten lost staring at his sketches. It was such a crowded gallery though and I knew people were waiting outside to get in and get a glimpse.

Artists will appreciate this show because there is no denying that Burton had managed to keep his own style and artistic integrity despite the mainstreaming of his work. All his Hollywood films can be traced back to his sketches and paintings as a young artist. Which proves that even if you are a “sell out” you do not have to give up your own unique vision.

If you are in the Southern California, I highly recommend putting a day aside to visit this museum. The La Brea Tar Pits is right next door and if you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can visit Whimsic Alley which is not a far walk from the museum.

Tim Burton, LACMA

Tim Burton, LACMA

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