‘Drawing is exercise for a restless imagination.‘ – Tim Burton
The thing I love the most about Tim Burton is that he creates a whole new worlds in his movies. By watching any of them, you can simply dive into this new dimension, new aesthetic, new, crooked, vision of reality; Tim Burton’s reality. And his world is not dark and negative as one may think, quite the opposite, Tim Burton’s world is like a refuge for an outsider, magical and full of hope, dark and funny at the same time. As Burton had said himself ‘I am not a dark person and I don’t consider myself dark.‘ It’s the truth, Kafka’s work is dark and heavy, Burton’s is magical and inspirational.
I consider Tim Burton one of my greatest inspirations. He gave me the first vision of the Victorian era; a vision which has haunted me ever since. Although I’ve read a lot about Victorian era, and I know Burton’s version is not accurate, I prefer it above all. I like how he took the very essence of this time period and, combined with many other influences, created a new aesthetic. One can really say that something is in ‘Tim Burton’s style‘ for he created a world completely new, fresh and exciting which I think is hard to do in this modern world because everything has already been seen, and tried out. The modern man has dipped his finger in everything. There’s not a fresh well in art, music or literature, every one has by now been tainted by modern culture.
The contrast between Classicism and Gothic Art, can be well translated onto the clash between the mainstream and Tim Burton. Where the Classicism was organised and proper, the Gothic was chaotic, where classic was pure and simple, the Gothic was crooked and ornate; the classics offered a world of clear rules and limits, whereas the Gothic represented something wild, exaggerated, dark and uncivilised. Classics represent the mainstream culture; unimaginative, worn-out ideas, conformity; a world created for mediocrity. On the other hand, Tim Burton’s world is a world of gothic fantasy, macabre, silly characters, with all the human flaws exposed in villains; it’s a world of outsiders, a world Burton had created for himself and that’s what makes it so genuine. His world is a reflection of who he is, and that’s how it should be with all the artists, directors, writers…
For me, Tim Burton epitomizes the very term of ‘modern Gothic‘ in a way that he perfectly captures the spirit of the Victorian era with obvious Gothic and Romantic elements, but all together, he succeeds in creating a magical, dreamy and spooky world of his own. He’s very good at reinterpreting the past, which is inevitable in art, and still managing to create something completely new and original.
Burton was not only inspired by works of Edgar Allan Poe, Roald Dahl, and Edward Gorey, but also carried on with the style they had created, in Burton’s works enriched by the experience of living in an American suburb and being a loner. I already mentioned how I developed my first vision of the Victorian era as a result of watching Tim Burton’s movies, and although I’ll basically watch any movie that he directs, some are more dear to me than the others.
To tell it bluntly, I was reborn after seeing Sweeney Todd for the first time! This movie enchanted me, I knew all the songs by heart and sang them all they long, I drew the characters, I wrote many short stories based on that ‘Burton’s Victorian London‘. I can’t even put it in words how much it influenced me in everything that I’ve done, and how it affects my work now still. Other movies that I really loved would probably be Corpse Bride and Sleepy Hollow, not to mention Frankenweenie and Alice in Wonderland.
Another thing that I find inspirational about Tim Burton are his drawings, for really, there lays the whole essence of his later projects. Everything begins on the paper, and it is clear from the style of his movies that they developed from his love of drawing. ‘Don’t worry about how you ‘should’ draw it. Just draw it the way you see it.‘ This Burton’s quote has inspired me to really draw what comes out of my mind, no matter what it is, and to be more focused on creating a new world for myself and fulfilling the needs of my imagination than on the final result.
Tim Burton’s style is very recognisable, full of figures with big sad eyes, whirlwinds, swirls, long dark hallways, winding staircases, weird monsters, candles, skeletons, graveyards, etc. He mostly uses dark, dreamy colours such as black, purple, blue, crimson red, white, but many vivid colours too, depending on the effect he’s trying to create. Time and the setting don’t even matter when it comes to Burton’s movies, his characters live in their own universe. What started as weird and unconventional childish drawings developed into a whole new imaginary world that draws people in with its appealing aesthetics and interesting characters.
‘The word normal always scares me.‘ – Tim Burton