Subscribers to Tim Burton’s official website have tonight received an e-mail announcing The Art of Tim Burton, a limited edition hard cover book that will feature over 1000 illustrations on over 400 pages. I’ve posted the announcement image at the head of this post, having first wiped my virtual saliva off of it.
Burton’s distinctive aesthetic has no doubt helped win him any number of fans, but there are also plenty of loud voices of dissent that don’t seem too pleased with his Gorey-Seuss-Hammer Horror vibe at all. It seems that because his visual style is instantly recognizable his critics expect him to variate it more. A mistaken complaint, I believe, as there any number of filmmakers out there who function in a less personally specific style and never get asked to change their ways, so transparently do their images blend with everybody else’s. Just because Burton’s films always look like Burton’s films that doesn’t make him any more boring or repetitive than other directors who don’t display such idiosyncracy. They’re books hidden in the library of similar looking books while he’s a shelf in the library of weird, misshapen things that make weird noises and, most probably, have stripes.
A major retrospective of Burton’s work is being held at MOMA New York from November 22nd until April 26th next year. I would be very surprised if this new book was not born from, or at least fueled by, the preparations for the retrospective.
According to MOMA, the exhibit will feature his work:
…as a director, producer, writer, and concept artist for live-action and animated films, along with his work as a fiction writer, photographer and illustrator.
The earliest pieces set to be displayed date back to his childhood, and there will also be items that have never previously been seen as well designs from unrealised projects – Superman, perhaps? The Man With X-Ray Eyes? Ripley’s Believe It Or Not? I’d love to see any of that.
It’s unlikely that I’ll make it to New York, so I’m hoping all of this good stuff ends up in the book too. No matter how high the price on that, and there’s no indication it will be anything like affordable, it will have to be cheaper than a transatlantic flight and night in a hotel.
Burton’s next is the 3D quasi-sequel-adaptation to/of Alice in Wonderland. I bet that alone has yielded several hundred weight of fascinating doodles.