Best known for his instantly recognizable dark visuals and maudlin sense of humor, it’s tempting to read Tim Burton’s odd childhood as a sort of key to his particularly off-kilter work. Growing up in the shadows of film studios and cemeteries in Burbank, CA, could his mother’s cat-themed gift shop have inspired his take on the Cheshire Cat? Or was it his earliest stop-motion animation films that set him on his path to Frankenweenie?
While Burton's formative years surely played some role in the artist he became, it was probably his insatiable appetite to create that helped him make it big. With a deep-dive into his backstory, the brilliantly nuanced dimensions of his work become clear.