In September of 2008, Peter's company had an office in Peru. That office sent us a beautiful song entitled, My Little Child. The song was written by several of the Peru folks and recorded by them as well. The proceeds from the sales of the song, went to Mattie. When Mattie heard the song, he got up in his hospital room and started to dance. To me this was a precious sight, and also showed Mattie's love for music. Despite being attached to a huge IV pole and not feeling well, the song inspired him to move. Also you may notice that behind Mattie were a stack of boxes. This was how Mattie began many of his hospital admissions. With packing boxes his hospital family accumulated for him, and over the course of his hospitalization he would transform each and every box in amazing ways.
Childhood Cancer Fact of the Day: When a child is diagnosed with cancer, everyone in the family is affected (Children's Cancer Foundation).
My mom and I went to the LA County Museum of Art today. As we left her home and were driving down the street, we saw this charming sight. A mother deer with her baby in tow. You should note that I started my day with this sight, and at dusk when we returned home, mom and baby came back out to greet us. Mattie would have absolutely loved this sighting today and whenever he saw a baby animal with its mom, it reminded him of me and him.
The exhibit we went to see at the museum was entitled, Tim Burton. Tim Burton was born in Burbank in 1958. After studying at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), he worked as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios before breaking out on his own. Taking inspiration from popular culture, fairy tales and traditions of the gothic, Burton has reinvented Hollywood genre filmmaking as an expression of a personal vision. The exhibition brings together over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera, including art from a number of unrealized and little-known personal projects. In this picture, I am standing next to one of Burton's outdoor artworks entitled, "Balloon Boy."
I have to admit that prior to this exhibit I knew nothing about Burton or his works. I have NEVER seen a Tim Burton movie, and clearly I was in the minority as I attended this exhibit. This was the entrance to the exhibit which basically gives you a feeling for the avant garde nature of Burton's art. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take photos inside the exhibit, so I will try my best to give you my thoughts on what I was observing.
I honestly believe that art reveals a great deal about a person's feelings, thoughts, and inner turmoils. I frankly did not need to know anything about Burton's life because to me his art alone spoke volumes. From his art and the creation of movie scripts and characters (which I got to see), I quickly concluded that Burton must have had a very troubled and isolating childhood. His art is beyond uncomfortable, it borders on depressing and bleak. For example, one of his characters in the exhibit was a blue baby doll. Typically babies aren't blue, unless they are depleted of oxygen. The doll had nails coming out of his body with red marks around it indicating blood. Burton seems fascinated with horror and the macabre, and particularly with severed body parts. He consistent theme is being misunderstood, under appreciated, and feeling different! What better way does he illustrate this than in a story he wrote which was on display in the exhibit. The story opens up with a happy couple who learns they are expecting a baby. When the baby is born, it isn't human, it is a robot. The father is stunned and asks the doctor what went wrong. The doctor tells him that the mother had an affair with a blender. He proceeds to then go on to let us know that the father then hated the mother and the mother hated the father, and well of course no one loved the baby. Well if that isn't a cry for help and very revealing, God knows what is. I told my mom that Burton was lucky school counseling and therapy weren't popular in his day, because if they were he would have been a major red flag at school.
When I got home I googled Tim Burton because I wanted to know the man behind the artist. Not to my surprise Burton left his parents house at a young age and moved in with his grandmother. He disliked his home town, of Burbank, CA. He felt everyone was a conformist, they didn't appreciate him, and basically he was a loner and a poor student in school. His refuge was the movies. In addition, it is reported that he was a "disruptive" child. The biography goes on to say that the character, Edward Scissorhands, was really created with Burton in mind. Both were boys who were different and forced to live in suburbia where they were not understood, and almost deemed frightening by others. All I can say is I am happy Burton found a passion and outlet for all his feelings and turned to art. Because the alternative for our society would have been daunting.
I watched several of his short video clips in the exhibit and each of his cartoon characters had a horrific side. In one clip, one character hits another, and blood spews out in buckets from the other character's body. The children in attendance were laughing and thought that this was cool. As I observed this I wasn't sure what shocked me more, the cartoon or the children's reactions.
As we left the exhibit, we were greeted with these moving characters. Burton loves stripes and outer space looking creatures.
Here was an example of an Outdoor Topiary from the movie Edward Scissorhands. The topiary was made out of rubber piping. The kids in attendance were loving it and running through it like a maze.
My mom and I then attended an exhibit entitled Burton Selects. Here the filmmaker filled a gallery with works of his choosing from the museum's permanent collection. This particular print caught our attention. It is entitled, The Eye, Like a Strange Balloon, Mounts toward Infinity (Odilon Redon, 1882). I am posting a few to give you a feeling for the art work that captures Burton's attention and imagination.
This next piece is entitled, In Search of Times Past (Herbert Bayer, 1959). To me this gives a birch tree a whole new meaning! I may never look at the bark again without seeing eyes!
This piece is Untitled (Gyorgy Kepes, 1940). To me the picture reminds me of Picasso's cubism style, because we can see a child, a younger man, and an older man all depicted at one point in time in this print.
If you would like to see more of Tim Burton's art work, I invite you to click on his interactive gallery. You won't only get to observe his art, you will get a sense for Burton's style and creativity: http://www.timburton.com/
Here are some tell tale signs or trademarks of Burton's works. I think they are all very revealing about his own personal life and how his life has been integrated into his art.
1) His films often have a Gothic feel to them, often including Christmas and/or Halloween scenes. Plot often focuses around a misunderstood outcast.
2) Frequently features dead or dismembered dogs.
3) Many of his films feature townspeople who misunderstand and/or distrust the lead character. Fathers are portrayed in a negative light in his films. Whether they be dead, purposely ditched their children, the main characters have remorse against them because of bad childhood memories or weren't there while their child was growing up.
4) Affectionate homages to the films of his childhood.
5) His characters are often friendly and optimistic despite their bleak surroundings.