Tim Burton has a unique style of his own. His visual aesthetic has come recognizable worldwide. His particular style is indeed termed ” Burton- esque”. Indeed throughout childhood, he was moody and had a relish for the macabre. His extraordinary work throughout his life stands out from the regular. The style followed by him resembles that of Ar. Antonio Gaudi 

Antonio Gaudi’s surrealist style of undulating facades and organic forms is rare. He understood to integrate creative and plastic rudiments in his structures. While Burton with his art style showcased stretched shapes and people. With a touch of the mawkish, the gothic, and the off-kilter. 

Burton’s aesthetic reflects German Expressionism further than any other style. In the 1920s Expressionism began as a modern art movement and expanded to impact art across Europe. It produced a feeling of dreamlike vision and psychological pressure for the viewer.

Tim Burton as an architect - Sheet1
Vincent Malloy_©Photo by Sovio9

Expressionism has certain features portrayed in art, cinema, and vitality. Amplified backgrounds and geographies with high color contrast counting on shadows and outlines. To heighten a feeling of pressure and dread sets with jagged edges and rounded, tilted, or disconnected spaces are another crucial element.

A sense of visual deformation, dialed-up color contrasts, and long architectural shapes. Along with a sense of inflated reality are the main features of the” Burtonesque” style. Tim Burton influenced numerous art and film styles. Ranging from film noir to Surrealist art, from art deco to midcentury horror. Burton’s work is full of references to calacas and calaveras.

Tim Burton as an architect - Sh2
Frankenweenie_©Photo by AustinChronicle

Antonio Gaudi’s style

Spending long periods at a summer home in the Spanish city of Riudoms, Gaudi spent his time studying the natural world. Nature inspired his architectural style. Laying the base for his structure’s biomorphic forms.

The Revival Gothic architecture of the time told Gaudi’s work. He also drew influence from Oriental styles reprised in the works of Viollet- le- Duc. He considered Gothic architecture amiss and began to incorporate his work with motifs drawn from nature. Gaudi is notable for his understanding of structures. He followed advances in engineering and his work features curves and helicoids.

Casa Batlo_©Photo by Serentripidity

Tim Burton as Antonio Gaudi 

Tim Gordon could be Antonio Gaudi due to their uniqueness and individuality. Both of them produce a barrier between reality and the dream world. They’ve captured various shapes and structures and used them in their medium of art. With elongated angles, out of the box geometry combinations they’ve achieved marvels.  

While Gaudi loved forms inspired by nature, craniums and cadavers inspire Tim Burton. Being two contrasting themes, parallels in visual aesthetics are visible. Raw and organic shapes in Casa Batlo by Gaudi and forms by Burton in Frankenweenie are similar. Tim Burton uses unique characters, an essential aspect of his aesthetic. His characters have exaggerated features, frizzy hair, saggy eyes, and gangly limbs. Their features frequently hide their mortal side.

The main point of the stark difference between Gaudi and Tim Burton is the colors used. Gaudi uses various, vibrant works while Burton applies a dark theme throughout. Their love for gothic is the common element that stands out.

Tim Burton as an architect - Sh4
Casa Mila_©Photo by archdaily

Vincent is a good illustration of Tim Burton’s writing style. The movie has all typical Burton elements. An existential dread, ghoulish monsters, and the macabre. Tim Burton’s production design has two sides, the natural and theatrical side. The American suburbia aesthetic has bright and bold colors and 1960s armature. While the theatrical side has Gothic saturations inspired by German Expressionism.

Tim Burton like Antonio Gaudi pays attention to even the smallest elements. Mise en scene creates the mood and tone of a scene. Expressive mise en scene is the magic of Tim Burton’s flicks. For illustration, Edward Scissorhands is a story of a lonely, innocent boy who lives in a gothic castle. In the 70s he was introduced to suburban life depicted with pastel colors. Everything is- dimensional and mundane which reflects the shallow nature of society. Tim Burton uses armature to depict the shallowness of the 70s suburban life with its clinical neighborhoods and homogeneous life.

Tim Burton in Batman used Gaudi’s architectural designs as inspiration for the sets of Batman Returns. Gotham city reflected Batman’s monstrous nature. The movie acclimated to the darkness, peril, and gothic sensibility of the original film. The matte paintings, detailed models, statues, and relief sculptures showcased Batman as dangerous and dark. Batman returns showed an old, idiosyncratic place set in the late 1980s. The sculptures range from angular art deco to outright gothic and menacing, either depicting impassive people or flying monsters.

Unlike some of his other films, with Batman Returns Tim Burton lets all the individual rudiments, both visual and thematic, breathe on their own and develop consequently. The odd public art, looming sculptures and creepy reliefs set up on arbitrary structures throughout Gotham are subtle at first; still, they jump out of the background after repeat viewings– cementing the story’s peculiar time and place. Unlike some of the more recent cinematic takes on Batman and his megacity, Burton takes time to instill plenty of character and soul into his Gotham, giving it a vivid life all its own.

References

Romano, A. (2019). Tim Burton’s visual aesthetic, explained. [online] Vox. Available at: https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/4/17/18285309/tim-burton-films-visual-style-aesthetic-disney-explained.

www.deviantart.com. (n.d.). Vincent Malloy by Sovio9 on DeviantArt. [online] Available at: https://www.deviantart.com/sovio9/art/Vincent-Malloy-192652107 [Accessed 28 Dec. 2022].

TODAY, C.P., USA (n.d.). ‘Frankenweenie’ revives Burton’s allure, emotion. [online] USA TODAY. Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/movies/2012/10/03/frankenweenie-review/1608451/ [Accessed 28 Dec. 2022].

www.austinchronicle.com. (n.d.). Movie Review: Frankenweenie. [online] Available at: https://www.austinchronicle.com/events/film/2012-10-05/frankenweenie/ [Accessed 28 Dec. 2022].

Casa Batlló (2017). Antoni Gaudí Biography | Casa Batlló. [online] Casa Batlló. Available at: https://www.casabatllo.es/en/antoni-gaudi/.

Barcelona.de. (2019). Antoni Gaudí is the most famous architect of Modernisme in Barcelona. [online] Available at: https://www.barcelona.de/en/barcelona-antoni-gaudi.html.

ArchDaily. (2013). AD Classics: Casa Milà / Antoni Gaudí. [online] Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/367681/ad-classics-casa-mila-antoni-gaudi

Study.com. (2010). Antoni Gaudi: Buildings, Architecture & Style | Study.com. [online] Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/antoni-gaudi-buildings-architecture-style.html

Heckmann, C. (2021). WATCH: Tim Burton’s Macabre, Whimsical and Weird Worlds Explained (Filmmaking Techniques). [online] StudioBinder. Available at: https://www.studiobinder.com/blog/tim-burton-style-analysis/.

RTF | Rethinking The Future. (2020). The Architecture of Dark Humour Flicks – Rethinking The Future. [online] Available at: https://www.re-thinkingthefuture.com/rtf-fresh-perspectives/a491-the-architecture-of-dark-humor-flicks/ [Accessed 28 Dec. 2022].

Russell, A. (2022). Gotham City’s Architecture in Batman Returns Reflects Batman’s Demonic Side. [online] CBR. Available at: https://www.cbr.com/batman-returns-gotham-architecture-dark-knight-demonic/ [Accessed 28 Dec. 2022].

Author

Ann has completed her B.Arch from VNIT Nagpur and M.Arch in Recreation Architecture from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. Her passion lies in the design of public spaces for a livable city that are inclusive and accessible to all. Her focus lies in creating spaces that are resilient to time and need; than just satisfying the aesthetic appeal.

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