Blame Tim Burton

My favorite exhibited piece: Burton’s note to Depp for Charlie & the Chocolate Factory

In this museum hall where a special exhibition was mounted and the rule was strictly “no photographs,” there was still no stopping a few from snapping away, discreetly or audaciously in plain sight. I resisted the urge to do the same, but the story-teller in me just had to break the rules and take snapshots, at least one, if ever this story was to be printed on paper. Nothing beats an original.

Concealing the camera under the leather jacket, I aimed the camera on the model figures encased in glass and depressed the button halfway for the lens to focus. It slipped my mind that in doing so, a tiny red dot on the gadget will glow. That gave away my sinister intention.

“Don’t you even dare,” a threatening voice hissed from across the stand. It was the sentinel.

Unintimidated, I matched his dagger eyes with a blank expression, not breaking eye contact, unblinking. Not until I depressed the button fully and moved away, thinking “if you have to do it, do it with style.”

I have my very own Tim Burton image.

The “unsuccessful cloak & dagger shot” (x 2)  that I took. I’m shameless!

Long before Tim Burton welcomed us to frolic in his recreation of Alice in Wonderland on the big screen, he was already living in one. A world created by a growing child with a restless imagination seeking solace from the sunny, middle-class neighborhood of the city he never felt at home in. Consoling himself, he took pleasure in drawing and humor, and indulged himself in the colorful forms of popular entertainment that were most accessible -newspaper comics and animated cartoons, children’s literature and toys, monster movies and carnival sideshows, even the holidays like the Mexico’s Day of the Dead, and other visual media.

Between his early childhood and today, Tim Burton has tackled just about every facet of the creative arts- from graphics to video, writing to photography and filmmaking. In fact, it is in the medium that Tim Burton, inspired by pop culture, achieved acclaim and garner global fan base, inspiring and influencing a new breed of young artists. He is the genius who reinvented the new Hollywood genre of filmmaking.

Who doesn’t know Tim Burton? Who doesn’t know his “monsters” and their lurid beauties? Who didn’t have a great time watching Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Mars attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? How about Sweeney Todd or Beetlejuice? Batman?

Edward Scissorhands,  from rom paper to film.

Stainboy

More than these Hollywood blockbusters, there are the interesting yet less seen works by this artist in his Web projects, The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories and Stainboy.

Tim Burton is an artist, his works revered as art. Why else would his works be exhibited among the opus by the famed modernist masters?

It is fortunate that on my first visit to the Museum of Modern Art, I caught this special exhibition and got to see a complete retrospective of Tim Burton’s full range of creative works with hundreds of rarely or never-before-seen drawings, paintings, photographs, storyboards, puppets, costumes, etc., on display to his theatrical features and shorts for viewing.

Entering the mind of Tim Burton was enchanting . Standing in a roomful of unique artworks was more than just a visual treat. The short moment with the artist’s “monsters” should be immortalized, the least, a single photograph taken by no other than yourself, and knowing that I won’t even be in the frame, would be gratifying enough. And so I became shameless and broke the museum rule. You see, it was Tim Burton’s fault. He made me do it.

P.S. The photos here are lifted from the net.

P.P.S. My apologies to MoMa for breaking the “no photographs” rule.

P.P.P.S. I took two shots. 🙂

Again, my heartfelt gratitude to Jenny Gallenero-Allen for the NYC Museum tour!

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 10, 2011.

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