Dropped by the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA over the weekend, was completely blown away. Yes, all the props and models from movies like Edward Scissorhands, Batman, Corpse Bride, Nightmare Before Christmas, etc. were great, but what blew me away were the rooms devoted to his formative years, before he was a Somebody. It’s all laid out, page by page, work by work, from stop-motion home movies of classmates & action figures and Mad Magazine-inspired high school drawings, to sketches & videos of his early work while getting a handle on the business as a frustrated young animator at Disney.
Piece by piece, a pattern emerges over the decades — this guy’s brain just does not stop. He’s always creating, always building, never stopping. Tim Burton worked at his craft for TEN years before he was given a budget to produce anything remotely commercial. Then it took a series of fits & starts & flops & singles & doubles over the past TWENTY years before he knocked it out of the park with the billion-dollar worldwide box office for ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ None of this happened overnight — dude put in his 10,000 hours, kept to his vision and never gave up or gave in, even as studio suits tinkered with his craft.
Something to remember for anyone seeking to win a recording contract from a game show — this stuff doesn’t just pop out like a prize from a cereal box, you gotta work HARD for what you want. Burton started with home movies and pencil drawings in the 70′s, inspired by old monster movies & sci-fi flicks that might rerun on one of only three TV channels once a year; I look at the tools and resources available to kids today (you can make your own music video from your iPhone or call up an out-of-print song or movie in a matter of seconds) and look forward to what the next 20 years hold for artists.
Speaking of museums, Intel launched the Museum of Me last week, which builds a “This is Your Life”-style exhibit based on text & images pulled from your Facebook account. Yeah, I seen all my techie friends “Like” this already, but for the rest of you, give it a shot and see how the world is reimagining YOUR art, your content, and presenting it in ways we’ve never seen before. Point to Flipboard and you’re going to see an explosion in content re-engineering as the tablet takes off.
Which leads to my final thought, which has to do with, yes again, Instagram. Not like you need a NYT piece to lend heft to the movement, but social photo sharing is THE big trend for 2011. Said it before, again — hop on Instagram now, start taking pictures of Pretty Things. Instagram will not make you rich tomorrow, it may not lead to any direct sales at all, but what it will do is give you an early start in an emerging movement, and give you a canon from which to draw when you want to make a stop-motion video or build a limited edition tour book. Or just show off your idea of what’s pretty. Just don’t make every picture about you in the studio — that crap gets boring really quick. Your followers want to take a peek at your life, not you at work all the time.