Revisiting ‘The Art of Frankenweenie’ Exhibit

In September 2012 Disney brought the artwork and models used to create Tim Burton’s stop-motion animated film Frankenweenie to Disney’s California Adventure park where they were on display for a two month period.  The traveling art exhibit gave visitors a sneak peek into the re-imagined world of the Tim Burton classic that was released later that same year.

The exhibit captured the magic of filmmaking and gave an inside glimpse into the stop-motion animation process and included everything from original sketches drawn by Burton to extensive props, sets and puppets, used in the film.  While I’ve always been more of a fan of the original 1984 live action short by Burton, Disney went all out in this exhibit to really make you feel like you were inside the film while viewing the sets.  I recently came upon some images I took from our visit and was quickly reminded of just how much I was able to immerse myself into the film sets through photos.

Here are some of my favorites that not only make you feel like you’re part of the film but also reveal how much detail goes into every inch of the set:

Set of the Frankenstein kitchen and dining room
Disney Parks

The first set is the Frankenstein family kitchen.  Here you find Victor, mom, dad and Frankenweenie himself, Sparky, in their small suburban New Holland home.

If you look closely in the above images of the items found in the Frankenstein home, you’ll uncover the first instance where Frankenweenie film illustrator Gavin Dean gets a nod as he is listed as the artist on the record Songs for Lonely Housewives.

The New Holland classroom set from Frankenweenie
Disney Parks

The New Holland classroom of Mr. Rzykruski is where Victor first gets the idea to bring his then deceased companion Sparky back to life after watching a demonstration on how electricity can reanimate a frogs leg.  This set was extremely detailed and was definitely the better lit set, allowing us to better capture images of the room, its cast of characters, and the amount of detail that went into each piece of the set.

In the above images, you can see just how detailed set peices were in Frankenweenie.  If you look closely at Victor’s notebook you’ll see the sketch of Sparky inspired by Mr. Rzykruski’s demonstration, but the complete page next to it actually has a complete set of notes on frogs describing what they are, what they look like, and even detailing how they drink water, details on their bones and more.

In the homework papers, Frankenweenie illustrator Gavin Dean makes an appearance again.  This time as the name of a student whose science homework appears with a B grade at the top of the stack.  In revisiting the photos I can’t make out the questions, but the handwritten answers are actual answers to science questions.

The above four images are by far my favorites captured from the exhibit because I was able to create the perspective of actually being in the scene.

The attic set from Frankenweenie
Disney Parks

The final set that appeared in its entirety at the exhibit was The Attic.  Home to Victor’s makeshift laboratory, here is where Victor has scavenged items from around the house to assemble the device to capture electricity from the storm’s lightning and bring his four legged friend Sparky back to life.  This was the darkest set and it was also interactive, which made it really had to capture quality imagery. As I revisited these photos I only found one salvageable shot from that night, but the one I captured highlights the attic scene perfectly as a boy and his best friend are reunited.

Victor and Sparky puppets in the attic set of Frankenweenie

In addition to the three main sets on display, “The Art of Frankenweenie” exhibit had a section called “Tim Burton’s Desk,” which featured sketches, art supplies, and models from the film at various stages of creation.  Below are some of my favorites that we captured.

“The Art of Frankenweenie” exhibit was a lot of fun and revisiting some of these photos really makes me want to revisit the animated feature film as well as the original short it was based on.  I hope you enjoyed revisiting this exhibit, especially for those of you who may have never had the chance to see it.

Frankenweenie The Art Of Exhibition poster

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