Steampunk inspiration and resources

Posts tagged “art

Mechanical Menagerie: The Creepers and Crawlers

There are lots of artists doing interesting and often Steampunkish things with insectoid forms, or even the insects themselves. Check out my gallery of just a smattering of these amazing works of art.

Like what you see? Check out some of my other “Mechanical Menagerie” posts about undersea creatures, birds and our four-legged friends.


Mechanical Menagerie: Dragons

Ever since watching the campy Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes I have been thinking about mechanical dragons. I have been sitting on a photo of the new mechanized Malificent-as-a-dragon from Disney’s parade for months, so I went out and scoured the interwebs for some more scaly Steampunk friends to join her. I hope you enjoy the gallery!


Spotlight on Traders: Island of Dr. Geof

The HindenBOOB by Dr. GeoffWhile I was in Lincoln for Weekend at the Asylum in September I got a chance to meet several of the Steampunk world’s writers and traders. During the run of Longitude Punk’d at the Royal Observatory, the Cutty Sark was also featuring a tea-riffic exhibit of Dr. Geoff’s printwork. And then at the markets for Asylum, I got a chance to meet that man himself selling his wares. We traded stickers and had a nice little chat, and I got to see more of his whimsical work. Most of his work has a military bent, while other pieces dabble in the risque, but for me that is the fun!

The good Doctor also offers a variety of Steampunk-inspired pins and patches to compliment his work on paper, and you can see what he has to offer on his website.


The Victoria and Albert Museum Part 3: International Exhibitions

The site of the Victoria and Albert Museum was purchased largely through the proceeds from the Great Exhibition of 1851, which was the first international exhibition of its time, though not the last. Many of the wonderful items showcased at these types exhibitions that were held all over Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries eventually found a home at the museum and are still on display today. When walking through the exhibit halls I felt like I was on a scavenger hunt looking for these pieces of history which were seen by millions of people during the course of exhibition and are still breathtakingly beautiful to behold over 160 years later. One of the appeals for me about Steampunk and the era that gave rise to the aesthetic is the emphasis on craftsmanship, and there is no shortage of that at the V&A. Here are two pieces of the most impressive pieces that I encountered during my visit.

This “cathedral in wood” was a gift from the Austrian Emperor, Franz Ferdinand, to Queen Victoria. According to the museum label, it’s decoration reflected the debate about the unification of all German-speaking peoples under one rule. The bookcase had to be at least 20 feet tall, which means it just might hold the entire literary collection of one Steampunk fan 🙂 In the center there is a Belgian altarpiece on display that looked like it had been carved out of the most delicious dark chocolate, but it was also made of wood. These two pieces were not originally shown together, but they both made cameos at the Great Exhibition. The altarpiece reflects the revival of the Gothic style that is often seen in Steampunk works, and makes it a lovely addition to the imposing bookcase.

This symphony in metal is called the Hereford screen, and was on display at the International Exhibition of 1862. Like the altarpiece above, this was a way of harkening back to the Gothic era when churches employed magnificent screens like this one. The choir would stand behind large and ornately carved wooden screens, but this one was intended to showcase new advances in metal-working techniques as much as celebrate the Gothic style. There are several figures on the screen, which is over 10 meters high. The figures could very well have been cast in bronze, but instead were created by using newly-discovered electroplating technology that employed plaster molds and electricity to bend copper to the artist’s will. This is truly an example of old-meets-new in the Victorian era, so it definitely piqued my Steampunk interest.

Have you spotted any pieces of the Great Exhibition or the International Exhibition in London? Please share!

 


Weekend at the Asylum: The Great Exhibition

Besides the amazing outfits and incredible sessions, there was also an exhibition of Steampunk arts and crafts during the convention. There were some fun gadgets, punked paintings and imaginative accessories on display all weekend in the Tennyson Suite of the Bailgate Assembly Rooms. Check out the gallery below, and if you want to know about any particular work or artist, feel free to leave me a comment. I took pictures of almost all of the labels for the gizmos and I can pass them on if you want more info.


Mechanical Menagerie: Four-legged Friends

Want to see more “mechanimals?” You can check out my galleries of Steampunkish fish, felines, birds and cephalopods, too!


My Latest Haul From the Bookstore

Hubby and I were on our way home from getting fingerprinted (part of the Bulgarian visa application) and I spotted a Half Price Books on the map. I had barely said the word “books” before we were turning into the parking lot and turning a totally boring errand into a nice afternoon out.

Popups and Novelty CardsI told my companion to go frolic in the Ancient History section while I perused the art books and I found one that I can’t wait to explore! It is called A Practical Step-By-Step Guide to Making Pop-Ups and Novelty Cards: A Masterclass in Paper Engineeringwhich is a term that I had never heard before. I have been struggling to find a way to describe the work I do with paper, and I think that is a fitting descriptor. I am really looking forward to finding new ways to make things pop out of my shadow boxes, and the book is full of pictures so it is easy to follow.

 

phoenixrisingNext, I hit the Sci-Fi section and pulled up my Steampunk Books page to help me comb the shelves for new books. I am happy to report that I got a hold of my first Phillipa (Pip) Ballantine novel, Phoenix Rising, the first in the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences series.

Sometimes when I go to a bookstore I search alphabetically through my book list, but after the B’s I put down my phone and drifted through the titles, touching the spines. I ended up with two more books to add to my growing list, Devices and Desires, by K. J. Parker and Whitechapel Gods by S. M. Peters

(Has anyone else noticed that authors don’t seem to have first names anymore?)

Devices and Desires is the first in a speculative fiction series called “The Engineer Trilogy.” From what I gather from other reviewers, it takes place in a dystopic land where deviating from the established blueprints can bring a death sentence. At over 700 pages and with warnings of its density echoing in my ears I think I will set this one aside until after I have done my Steam Tour reading.

Whitechapel GodsWhitechapel Gods caught my attention of course because of Jack the Ripper. I have started to look into which tours and sites I want to do in order to write my Ripper article for Steam Tour so the neighborhood was on my mind. In S. M. Peters’ novel, Whitechapel has become a walled-off, steam-driven hell for its residents, and chronicles the story of the new resistance.

 

 

 

Lighter than airWhen hubby and I reconvened at the cheap DVDs (The Brothers Grimm for $6 :)) he had a wonderful reference book in hand. Lighter Than Air: An Illustrated History of Balloons and Airships. It has wonderful chapter titles like “Clouds in a Bag” and “The Fabulous Silver Fishes” and tons of images of different kinds of flying machines. I am designing a flying machine for my novel right now so this book will be perfect for figuring out how I want it to work.

What’s your newest treasure from the bookstore?

 

 


Gallery

Mechanical Menagerie: Look at the Birdie!


“Curiosities” 3D Paper Airship Shadowbox

Once I figured out out how to do a hot air balloon I knew I couldn’t stop there! Here is my first (though definitely not my last) attempt at a 3D dirigible/airship. This shadowbox measures 12” x 12” and the back is finished so it can hang on the wall or stand alone on a shelf. I used a combination of glossy and matte papers, but the shiny parts aren’t nearly as shiny in person as they look on the photos. I have a light source directly above my photo area that can give a false impression with its glare.

Each 12 x 12 shadow box takes approximately 10 hours to complete. They start their lives as canvases and are covered by cardstock and paper, then embellished with mixed media accoutrements. I made the dirigible and the boat using a similar method to my Christmas ornaments. Check out the tutorial here. 

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Dystopian Metal: The Art of Greg Brotherton

Into the Void by Greg Brotherton

Metal is one of the most satisfying mediums I have ever worked with and I hope to get a chance to do more in the future. But even if I never do, I will always love metal art. The strength and flexibility of the material means an artist is really only constrained by the bounds of their imaginations (okay, and sometimes their tools). I really enjoyed these metal men and the world I imagine them inhabiting, especially the “search engine” and the “observatory.”

You can find more of Greg Brotherton’s artwork (including many different angles of the pieces I chose for my post), as well as pictures from his studio here.

I always like to hear about people from the Midwest finding success, and it looks like Greg is one of those people. Here’s his bio:

“Born in Ames, Iowa, in 1968, Greg experienced a somewhat nomadic childhood, spending the majority of his youth in Utah and Colorado. His interest in the mechanical surfaced at age five, when he began disassembling anything with screws in it. By the age of twelve he had taught himself to mine his backyard with homemade explosives (no injuries!). Then, after being successfully ejected from a series of public and private learning institutions, Greg, equivalency test in hand, entered the Colorado Academy of Art, beginning his undergraduate studies at sixteen.

In 1987, after receiving a degree in graphic design, Greg set off for California. Over the next two decades, he forged a successful career as an award-winning commercial artist, while honing his skills as a sculptor.

With a consuming drive to build things that often escalate in complexity as they take shape, Greg’s work is compulsive. Working with hammer-formed steel and re-purposed objects, his themes tend to be mythological in nature, revealed through a dystopian view of pop culture.

Greg’s work has received international recognition, has been exhibited throughout the United States and is collected worldwide. In 2007, he was invited to serve as the featured artist at the Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED)Conference in Monterey, California, joining the ranks of some of the most prestigious artists, luminaries, and scientists of our time. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California, where he continues to sculpt and experiment.”


Music to Steampunk by: Just Glue Some Gears On It

Don’t be fooled by the title, this song is actually advocating that people DON’T simply glue gears on things. Thank you Reginald Pikedevant! This song is hilarious and I appreciate the sentiment.


Albert Robida

Robida aerial houseAlbert Robida (1848-1926) was a french illustrator and science fiction writer. You can find a good article about his life here. Below is a small sampling of this prolific artist’s work.

Robida opera

“Going to the Opera in the Year 2000”

Robida_telephonoscope

1880 illustration of something eerily like a flat-screen television

323px-Robida_Gate_tower_Switzerlandfloating palace robida


Steampunk Art by Brian Kesinger

steampunk_avengers_by_briankesinger-d6o8n2p

steampunk avengers by BrianKesinger on deviantART.

Brian Kesinger is a wonderful illustrator/artist with definite Steampunk tendencies. I ended up on his site because of the image above, but was totally charmed by his series of images depicting the friendship between be-bustled lady Victoria and her octopus, Otto. He recently appeared at SteamCon in LA and his artwork was featured on the schedule, pictured among the Otto and Victoria images below.

octopus_garden_by_briankesingercooking_with_otto_by_briankesinger

Steamconsteampunktopus_by_briankesinger