21 Tim Burton Quotes On Life, Creativity, And The Importance Of Embracing Your Inner ‘Freak’



It’s good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new, weird way.


People say, “Monster movies—they’re all fantasy.” Well, fantasy isn’t fantasy—it’s reality if it connects to you. It’s like a dream. You have a nightmare, and it’s got all this crazy imagery, but it’s real. You wake up in a cold sweat, freaking out. That’s completely real. So I always found that those people trying to categorize normal versus abnormal or light versus dark, yada yada, are all missing the point.


Maybe it’s just in America, but it seems that if you’re passionate about something, it freaks people out. You’re considered bizarre or eccentric. To me, it just means you know who you are.


People told me I couldn’t kill Nicholson, so I cast him in two roles and killed him off twice.


I always appreciated movies and things that had everything, because that’s the way I feel about life. There’s nothing that’s just funny, just dramatic or just scary. It’s all mixed together. I’ve always felt, and still feel probably even more, that life is an incredible jumble of being funny and sad and dramatic and melodramatic and goofy and everything.


We’ve all been called [“Freaks”] before. When I hear that word, I hear, “Somebody that I would probably like to meet and would get along with.”


We went out to draw people. I was sitting there, getting really frustrated trying to draw the way they were telling me to draw. So I just said, “Fuck it.” I truly felt like I had taken a drug and my mind had suddenly expanded. It’s never happened to me again quite that same way. From that moment on, I just drew a different way. I didn’t draw better, I just drew differently. It freed me up to not really care. It reminds me of when you’re drawing as a child. Children’s drawings all look pretty cool. But at some point, kids get better at drawing, or they say, “Oh, I can’t draw anymore.” Well, that’s because someone told you that you couldn’t—it doesn’t mean that you can’t. It taught me to stick to what’s inside of me, to let that flourish in the best way it can.


It’s hard to find logic in things sometimes. That’s why I can’t analyze things too much, because it often doesn’t make much sense.


I’m a happy-go-lucky manic-depressive. It does get very deep and dark for me, and it gets scary at times when I feel I can’t pull out of it. But I don’t consider myself negative-negative. I’m positive-negative. When things get really bad, the final straw is to laugh. That’s my release.


If you’ve ever had that feeling of loneliness, of being an outsider, it never quite leaves you. You can be happy or successful or whatever, but that thing still stays within you.


I find that the most special thing to me is if you’ve connected to people in some way. If someone comes up to you on the street and says something to you and you know it’s meant something to them and it’s connected to some project. That, I find, is amazing.


For me, fantasy has always been a means of exploring reality… It explores the fact that your internal life, your dreams and the weird images and the things that come to you are things that are actually important tools for dealing with real issues.


Drawing is exercise for a restless imagination.


I’ve always been more comfortable making my decisions from the subconscious level, or more emotionally, because I find it is more truthful to me. Intellectually, I don’t think like that because I get uncomfortable. I’m more wary of my intellectual mind, of becoming delusional if I think of it too much.


When you don’t have many friends and you don’t have a social life you’re kind of left looking at things, not doing things. There’s a weird freedom in not being the school president, and not having people treat you like you’re part of society, or where you have to fulfill social relationships. You’re at a distance from the rest of society; you feel like you’re kind of looking out a window.


Anybody with artistic ambitions is always trying to reconnect with the way they saw things as a child.


I find a sense of freedom in the suburbs. You assume the mask of suburbia for outward appearances, and yet no one knows what you really do… You’re never so close and distant from people at the same time. There’s something about suburbia, it’s really a place to hide. Or people use it as sort of a mask of normalcy.


I’ve found that the people who play villains are the nicest people in the world and people who play heroes are jerks.


One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.


Everybody in the whole world has been misperceived. In school, you wanted something to come across this way and it didn’t come across… It’s why you struggle as a child and you draw and you want to create. There is an impulse to be seen. For yourself: what you are.


Every day is Halloween, isn’t it? For some of us…