6 Things I Learned at the Guillermo del Toro Exhibit “At Home With Monsters”
1. You don’t have to stay in one lane
Guillermo del Toro doesn’t just make movies. He collects art, writes novels, writes screenplays, directs, produces, draws, and creates in various mediums. I think this is one of the reasons he has had such a long and busy career. There are lots of directors and writers in film, but the diversity of the projects he’s involved in make him stand out from the rest.
2. Being an outsider isn’t a bad thing
One of the most common themes in Del Toro’s work is outsiders. Sometimes being unique can give you a perspective no one else has. And while it may sometimes feel isolating, some of the best stories and art have come from misfits about misfits. So maybe it’s not that we’re all outsiders – it’s just that we haven’t found each other yet.
3. Those who look like monsters are not always the monster
As children we learned about monsters and villains through stories like Sleeping Beauty or Batman. These villains looked evil. But as we get older, the monster may not always appear as clear as we read in our childhood stories. This is another common thread in Del Toro’s work. As time goes on this is still as true as ever.
4. Make your space creative
A part of del Toro’s Bleak House is a rain room that he created himself. It hosts the perfect conditions for his writing: dark, stormy, and a false rain splattered window. Hanging inspirational pieces, collecting your own meaningful artefacts, bringing a scene you’re writing to life in your very room really does make a difference and helps you set the mood or tone you’re working in.
5. Everything is connected
Del Toro has many themes in his movies and his collection that were connected through a thread like childhood innocence in Pan’s Labyrinth and Pacific Rim; death and the afterlife in The Devil’s Backbone and Crimson Peak; or outsiders in Hellboy and the Shape of Water. In some shape or form, all of these movies are connected not just with each other but within Del Toro’s life as he grew up in Mexico, through his deep admiration for Frankenstein, and everything that he’s drawn to.
6. Embrace your inner weirdness
To many, Del Toro is a picture of success. But before his awards and his critical acclaim, he was just weird like the rest of us. And also like us, he had a passion for art and creativity and things that were different. But instead of trying to blend in and do what everyone else was doing, del Toro took risks and embraced his weirdness and wasn’t afraid of what anyone else thought. If all of our favourite creators chose to follow what everyone else was doing, we would be missing out on life changing stories and art. So this is just another reminder to embrace your weirdness, because there’s a chance there are others just as weird out there looking for the same thing.
“I’m really a freak in every place I go – I don’t quite fit in anywhere. When you get comfortable, you start growing old.”
“The reason I create monsters and love them is that I think they speak to a very deep, spiritual part of ourselves. It is my most cherished desire that as you leave the exhibition, the monsters will follow you home and live with you for the rest of your life.”
“…To all the monsters in my nursery: May you never leave me alone.”