Pop Culture

Ghoul Is the New Cool With Tim Burton-Themed Art Show

Don't ask him to take up a hobby as a balloon clown. It will only scare the children.
Don't ask him to take up a hobby as a balloon clown. It will only scare the children. Artist: Daniel Brock; Image courtesy of East End Studio Gallery
Tim Burton is the czar of the bizarre, an artistic mastermind with a distinct style that leaps right off the movie screen and sticks in our imagination. With that in mind, it makes complete sense that he inspires many other visual artists.

That’s why East End Studio Gallery teamed up with Hardy & Nance Studios to presenting Burtonesque: 2nd Annual Tim Burton Tribute, which will feature a two-week viewing of art inspired by his films from September 30 to October 14 at 902 Hardy.

Local artist Blue 130, along with fellow curator Cynthia Vela, have collected the works of close to 60 artists who all used Burton’s art as the springboard to inspire their own pieces.

“It’s all very diverse. You’ll see a lot of painted artwork and fine art. It’ ranges from pop surrealism and sculptures to wall art and LED pieces,” said Blue 130. It illicits “a feeling of a dark whimsy. [It’s] creepy and melancholy but fun and whimsical.”

click to enlarge
Just a smattering of the many different characters from Tim Burton's world.
Artist: Efren Mendez; Image courtesy of East End Studio Gallery
Burtonesque is the art show that nearly wasn’t. Blue 130 says she always wanted to create this type of show, but the timing didn’t always work out because of committments to other similarly themed shows.

“Originally we didn’t do any Halloween shows because we had a Day of the Dead show. I was very lucky that a spot opened up in October [last year], and the Burtoneque show fit perfectly in the time of year,” she says. “I’ve always been a fan. My favorite movie is Beetlejuice, so it’s sort of an obsession of mine.”

If Burton's dinner parties are anything like the scene from Beetlejuice, we'd be obsessed too.

The surprise opening of the time slot might have been lucky for her, but it was a gift for everyone else - and now it's in a second incarnation.

Burton’s work has positioned him as a figure of fantasy, macabre and cinematic beauty.

He first started out as a visual artist. Even as a child, he often would sketch drawings that tilted slightly dark yet welcoming. He went on to study animation at California Institute of Arts. Upon graduation, Burton started working as an animator for Disney before starting his own ventures a little later.

His earliest film works include Vincent and Frankenweenie. Paul Reubens, aka Pee-wee Herman, was impressed enough with Burton’s artistic eye that he hired Burton to direct the wacky Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure. That led him to future success with blockbusters like Beetlejuice, Batman, Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Big Fish and several other treasures.

Some films were tremendous successes. Others, not so much. But that unmistakable Burton touch was undeniably seen and felt in each of the movies.

Nonetheless, he’s one of the most prolific modern directors and artists with a flare for cinematic style as unique as a fingerprint.

He's left that fingerprint in both film as well as visual art for all to see. A few years ago, he allowed his sketches to be displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art as well as at other museums around the world.

Now, for at least a few weeks, Houston has its own version of that show.

click to enlarge
If you say her name three times, she just might spring to life.
Artist: Spencer Meyers; Image courtesy of East End Studio Gallery
In true Texan spirit, East End Studio Gallery is sharing the love of Burton with the neighbors.

The group will host a vendor event from 4 to 9 p.m. at Sigma Brewing, 3118 Harrisburg Boulevard, #108, on Saturday, October 21.

“It will be an outdoor market inspired by Tim Burton,” Blue 130 says. “[There] will be jewelry, clothing, food, some original prints and drinks. It’s a fun little event.”

Not all the artwork will be on display, though. That’s because Blue 130 is taking some of it for a one-night-only sister event on the same date in San Antonio from 7 p.m. to midnight for the Melancholy Death Show at Freight Gallery, 1913 South Flores Street.

Looks like a little bit of Burton can go a long way.

There is an opening reception 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Regular viewing hours are 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturdays. Continues through October 14. Hardy & Nance Studios, 902 Hardy Street. For information, visit eestudiogallery.com. Free.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to the Houston Press who loves to take in all of Houston’s sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houston’s rich culture.
Contact: Sam Byrd