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Cartoon Culture

Robert Burden’s Voltron

Artist Robert Burden set a time lapse camera on his canvas as he painted his tribute to Voltron:

  • will c

    It’s alright, a bit sad too.

    Good effort though.

  • ted

    That was amazing.

  • matteo

    Does anybody know what song is that ?

  • FP

    That’s great. It almost makes me miss the pre-digital days of applying colored glop to paper and canvas. Almost.

  • Jake

    Very sad. Paint by-numbers painting of a crappy toy with a crappy tv show to sell it. That said, this time lapse is more interesting than either the original toy/show OR the finished “painting.”

  • Sean

    Mateo, the link for the song is at the very end of the video. They’re called The Blackstone Heist and they’re on Myspace. I was instantly taken by the music as well.

  • MattSullivan

    not a bad painting! but I never got the appeal of Voltron myself. I always thought it looked…well…stupid.

    then again, I like a lot of cartoons that most people have never heard of…so I shouldn’t talk. Good painting :}

  • Norty

    You are absolutely right, Jake. The integrity of the creative process, here exemplified by painting, is far more entertaining, absorbing and meaningful than its crappy toy/crappy show inspiration. Think about all the honest, labor-intensive creative toil that enables equally crappy animation today, or has at any given point in history. It is just as much work to make a mediocre or even lousy cartoon than to shoot for something better. That it is seldom in the hands of the creative people to aim high enough is regrettable.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Next he should do one of the Gundam models! :-)

  • Hey Robert….I feel the same way about my old toys. I used to have this old Transformer that i thought was the coolest thing ever. I found it not too long ago and couldn’t believe how different I remember it being.

    It was almost slightly depressing…..like damnit….I guess I did grow up a little.

    I like your paintings man….really like the foot soldier….I thought the addition of the actual figures in top of the frame was a nice touch :)

  • Corey K.

    Just to be ridiculously and ludicriously pedantic, I don’t think he “set a time lapse camera” per se, or we’d have seen lots of blurry images of the artist himself doing the painting. Obviously he had a camera locked down in place and then he took the photos himself at strategic points in the process of painting the big ol’ thang. So while it’s a time-lapse effect, he was choosing the lapses himself rather than having a camera going off automatically.

  • tom

    I saw a bunch of these at a show in Seattle. While they’re kind of cute and interesting to see in person, I can’t imagine ever wanting to have one in my home and they take about two minutes to absorb at the most. They are living room killers too; the largest one was a Battlecat painting eight and a half feet wide. It’s on the artist’s website if you doubt my memory of the size of the thing.

    They feel very insincere, too. It’s a no-brainer that the twenty and thirty something crowd will turn out to see paintings validating their obsessions with their own childhoods.

    Good luck to him, but I’d like to see him move on from this project and actually create paintings with, say, compositions and ideas behind them.

  • spikeshinizle

    Wow Jake and Norty, pessimistic much? Burden is obviously a fan of the show and wanted to contribute his own creative process to it, what’s wrong with that? What would you prefer him do?

  • Norty

    I never said he should do anything else. I asserted that the work he is doing is more worthy than the thing that drove him to do it. Art happens when something is better than it has to be, and it can happen anywhere. If that is being pessimistic, call me guilty.

  • That was pretty amazing! Cool painting too!


  • tom

    In the hours since I posted my comment above, I’ve come to believe that my review was poorly written and even more poorly thought. I do hope that Mr. Burden does move on to more subtly crafted, more mature compositions, but that does not mean that there is anything at all amiss in his current collection. He’s a hugely talented painter and my comment earlier was short on praise and heavy on easy, foolish opinion. Best to Robert Burden in all of his artistic pursuits.

  • Chuck R.

    I think this is pretty cool, and I’m no Voltron fan myself.
    The static composition is apropos —the point being to just make the damn thing as big as possible. Artists have been doing homages to American pop culture since Warhol’s soup cans, but I particularly like Robert’s approach. First, he takes really silly, really obscure subject matter (Battle Cat, Krang —forgettable cartoons that were extremely lucky to have been immortalized once in injection-molded plastic) and does it up in such grandiose fashion the contrast is pretty funny. The Defensor Mundi piece in particular looks like a black velvet painting custom-made for one of Prince Ludwig’s castles.

    We can all rest easy that if we’re destined to leave this world without making a mark on it, we’ll at least be candidates for one of Burden’s gloriously overblown 132″ x 82″ canvases.

  • I prefer the original Japanese GOLION over VOLTRON. (But Voltron was not the first robot of his kind, that would be Combattler V, which was in the Shogun Warriors and Godaikin toy collections. He was the first giant robot designed by Bandai, and the first to combine realistically.)

    But this is actually quite good!

  • The song is “Tomorrow Waits for No One” by Blackstone Heist