Journey into the mind of del Toro

From massive models to photographs and drawings, the Mia’s temporary exhibit draws horror fanatics in to look at a famous filmmaker’s mind.

Franki Hanke, Senior Reporter

Running from Mar. 5 to May 28, Mia’s current temporary exhibit showcases a range of artifacts from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.

Items range from notebooks, drawings, models and objects selected out of the Mia’s permanent collection by del Toro himself, but the majority of items come from his personal collection at his residence, Bleak House. The exhibit hopes to “reveal the creative process behind del Toro’s singular vision,” according to Mia’s official statement.

Stepping into the exhibit, the entire display is organized as stages of life starting with birth and continuing through until death and rebirth. The entire gallery in between is broken into eight portions to move through to display the many influences and areas of interest of del Toro, moving from the innocence of childhood to Victoriana; Magic, Alchemy and the Occult; Movies, Comics and Pop Culture; Frankenstein and Horror; and Freaks and Monsters. In the middle, one room is dedicated to del Toro’s rain room, featuring rumbling thunderstorm noises and a glimpse into influential literature.

Along the way costumes, drawings, concept art, paintings, sculptures and video clips invite the visitor to delve deeper into the horror vibe that was casted over the entire display. A heavy emphasis on Hellboy permeates through the examples of his work, but The Strain, Pan’s Labyrinth, Blade II and Pacific Rim are also featured heavily.

Hyperrealistic figures stand or sit in some rooms, inviting visitors to stare for as long as it takes to convince them that the statue won’t move when they turn away.

In the Victoriana room, insects feature heavily both in frames on the walls and in a clipped together montage of the different creepy crawlies in his films.

In room after room, the collection is eclectic and sometimes jarring to see so many styles juxtaposed together with completed landscapes an armsreach from framed storyboards and crisp clean line drawings beside frantic, thick oil paintings; however this sensation connects to how someone collects inspiration and art in their mind, jumbled together and diverse.

With so much to see, every visitor may lean towards a different element as their particular favorite.

“One of my favorite pieces were the drawings by Stephen Gammell from Scary Stories to Read in the Dark,” one visitor, Crystal Rose-Wainstock, said.

For some visitors, one visit wasn’t enough to drink in all the artifacts on display.

“It’s beautifully laid out. It’s a literal glimpse into what makes Guillermo del Toro tick. When you enter you won’t want to leave,” Laura Encarnado, who plans to attend three more times, said.

Many visitors walking in defaulted to “creepy” to describe the entire exhibit. From start to finish, an uneasy, eerie sensation cast over the visitors; yet at the same time the feeling is one of enlightenment as to where the inspiration may have come from for the art and ideas of del Toro.