Jim Henson may be gone, but his great works continue to live on every time someone watches The Labyrinth, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, Fraggle Rock, The Muppets, Farscape, and The Dinosaurs. In honor of what would have been the creator’s 77th birthday, here are some delightful artworks based on Jim Henson.
1. The Creation of Kermit
How did Henson originally create the Muppets? Fans will tell you that Jim made the first version from one of his mother’s old coats, but perhaps the mental process was more spectacular than that. In fact, it may have looked a little something like this picture, by geek artist James Hance.
2. His Spirit Lives On
Alex Leighton, aka Xander13, created this Dia De Los Muertos version of both Jim and Kermit for "The Iconoclastic Dead" art show at Guru Gallery in Mexico City.
3. Repainting the Rainbow Connection
Artist Adam Antaloczy recreated one of the most famous images of Kermit and Jim, taken on the set of The Muppet Movie, in this beautifully touching painting.
4. How Jim Did It
Speaking of The Muppet Movie, the scene where Kermit is singing "The Rainbow Connection" shows the frog sitting on a log in the middle of a swamp. If you’ve ever wondered how on earth someone could control a puppet sitting in a swamp, then you’ll enjoy DeviantArt user PHUZface1’s illustration of how Jim managed to control Kermit under the water.
5. He’s All Smiles
Of all the cute details in this illustration by Jeaux Janovsky, perhaps the best touch is the happy, living beard on Jim’s face. It’s easy to see the impact Henson made on this artist.
6. An Adorable Reality Distortion
I don’t know what’s cuter about Kayla “Kayke” Miller’s take on Jim and Kermit—the fact that Jim is a Muppet in this situation, or that Kermit is a mostly real frog hanging out on his head.
7. The Muppit
If you’re going to make a Muppets-Hobbit mash up, it’s only fitting to feature Henson as Gandalf the way Andrew Hunter did. After all, Jim is the source of the magic that brought Kermit and the rest of the gang to life.
8. Role Reversals
There are so many great images of Jim puppeting Kermit that Amy Mebberson’s reversal of the situation is a refreshing change—one Henson himself would probably appreciate.
9. Capturing Creation
This digital, paper-cuttings-styled art piece by Dan Barrett does a fantastic job of capturing Jim’s facial expressions in caricature form. As for why Kermit is a sock puppet instead of his full-torsoed version, he explains, "I just think it's really amazing how Jim Henson was able to take unassuming materials like bits of plastic and felt and create fully developed characters with such memorable personalities. This is my way of illustrating that thought process.”
Mister Hope’s take on Jim and Kermit is rather simple, but it is still cute and wonderful—just like many of the Muppets themselves.
11. Smiling Down On Us
Andreas Qassim’s portrait of Jim and Kermit really captures the happiness Henson seemed to exude whenever the Muppet master was photographed with one of his creations. It’s a fitting tribute to a man who brought so much joy into the lives of so many people.
12. The Last Train To Morrow
While he might not be the most famous Muppet out there, there is actually a Muppet version of Jim Henson. In fact, Muppet Jim was even in a band called the Country Trio with puppet versions of two other classic Muppet puppeteers, Frank Oz and Jerry Nelson. Here is Dave Hulteen’s delightful tribute to their song, “To Morrow.”
Jim Henson may be gone, but he will not be forgotten any time soon. Especially in a world where children still grow up watching Sesame Street and The Muppets.