Behind the Scenes with Artist Tim Shumate: The Making of The Nightmare Before Christmas Cuckoo Clock

Fantastically fun and spectacularly strange, Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of my all-time favorite Halloween treats. So when I first saw The Nightmare Before Christmas Cuckoo Clock, I was absolutely charmed – and I wasn’t alone. With its colorful cast of sculpted characters, eerie illumination and spooky “soundtrack,” this masterful timepiece has caused quite the spooky sensation among Disney fans and collectors!

I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Tim Shumate, the visionary artist behind this darkly delightful and eerily enchanting collector’s clock. And I’m thrilled to share the highlights of our conversation with you – just in time for Halloween!

How long have you been making art?

For as long as I can remember. As a kid, I had a one-track mind – all I wanted to do was draw. My report cards always had notes from my teachers, saying things like “Tim drew all over his textbook again” and “If he only applied himself to other subjects the way he does in art class…” But now, looking back, I can laugh. It’s actually one of the things I’m most grateful for – I always knew exactly what I was meant to do with my life. No second-guessing, no doubts. I feel very lucky in that way.

blog_disney101714_postimageWhat was your inspiration for The Nightmare Before Christmas Clock?

The Town Hall building in the movie has a giant clock on it that reminded me of a cuckoo clock. So I started making sketches, and things just kept falling into place on their own. Lock, Shock & Barrel are wreaking havoc on the clock weights. Jack and Sally are sharing a moment on the stairs. Zero is popping out of the cuckoo doors while a Grammy winning sound track plays on the hour. Everyone and everything naturally falls into place, and I think fans can sense that. With a movie like this, there’s so much to work with, so it was a lot of fun to create.

What do you love about the movie?

Tim Burton was one of my biggest artistic influences and inspirations growing up, and I love that Disney gave him the freedom to make the kind of movie he’s so good at making. It’s strange and weird and completely unlike anything else, and it’s absolutely brilliant. It’s so gratifying to see one of my heroes have so much lasting success with such an offbeat concept.

Who’s your favorite character?

I’d have to say Jack. If you boil it down, he’s a man with a creative job who has a sort of sudden midlife crisis and goes off the rails for a bit, trying to revitalize himself. He’s not your typical fairytale hero, but as a male artist in my thirties, it hits close to home.

Do you remember the first time you saw the movie?

I saw it in the theaters when I was nine. I wish I could say it was love at first viewing, but honestly, it was so different from anything I’d ever seen, I don’t think I knew what to make of it. It was definitely a movie that resonated with me more in my teenage years – you know, when I was a dark brooding weirdo and the world was against me [laughs].

And finally, would you rather live in Halloween Town or Christmas Town?

Halloween Town, hands down!

Do you love Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas? Share your favorite character, scene, or memory in the comments! And if you’re wondering where you can find this amazing Disney cuckoo clock and more Halloween home decorations, head on over to our site for a spook-tacular selection of Halloween collectibles, decor, jewelry and apparel. I hope you enjoyed reading this interview as much as I enjoyed sharing it. I look forward to hearing from you. So until next time, happy haunting, ghosts and ghouls!


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