I was a child of the 80's and I was and still am 100% in love with Kermit the Frog. I thought he was the coolest muppet and one of the coolest characters in any genre-- cartoon, movie, or show. Kermit was loving, accepting, vulnerable and funny!
So when I heard of the Jim Henson Exhibit at MoPop Museum I resolved to see my hero in the felt flesh.
One of the coolest things I learned about Jim Henson is that he didn't really start out as a puppeteer but he did start as a creative storyteller. He wrote comics for his high school newspaper and that is where he first developed the skill for story. It was only when he responded to a local TV station's ad for a puppet show that he began creating with puppets. One of the awesome impressions I got from this exhibit is how Henson sketched out ideas on story boards, sketched the shape of puppet characters and other notes before they came into use or form. You can see glimpses of how his mind worked in the following image:
In this photo above is a framed story board of an experimental film Henson made in the 70's. Henson made a name for himself as a puppeteer and already began working on Sesame Street. So to see he still had the creative interest in experimenting with films was quite impressive. The video below is the resulting film!
Having seen such a variety in his creative capacity in just the first 10 feet of the exhibit, the rest was a light-headed whirlwind. His work in the 80's was most familiar. Bert and Ernie, The Count, a pair of Miss Piggy's lavender satin gloves, more story boards of the muppet show and cards organizing the order of the skits, The Dark Crystal character Aughra, the costumes from the Labyrinth and more were all on display. Overwhelming!
It is easy to forget that the same person who created Bert and Ernie also worked with David Bowie in one of the landmark films of the 80's. So as always when it comes to reflecting on my own work, my own creativity and creative process I am reminded of how most ideas start on paper. The hard work of making something go from paper to reality, then published and received is the mystery of creative work. But it all starts on paper. Walking through the Jim Henson Exhibit and witnessing someone's creative career through the decades and understand the bulk of the work was not present humbled me and inspired me at the same time.