Seriously, one of the best gadgets I’ve seen in a long time.
Seriously, one of the best gadgets I’ve seen in a long time.
Cirenaica Moreira From the series Metalica: La Industrial, Lavanderia Habana Gelatin silver print, 1998
This image has inspired me to write a short story.
Samson the blue ringed octopus and his assistant, Jeremiah, for blue ring iron works.
I love illustrations, for books, for graphic novels, and for posters.One of my favourite artists is Brian Kesinger, the famed creator of Otto and Victoria from “Walking your Octopus”. Kesinger is an American illustrator, author and animator, who has worked for Disney. Many of his works have a Steampunk Aesthetic.He even paints with tea! His use of the Steampunk Aesthetic to tell a tale withing his illustrations reflects his deep understanding (and love) of the genre.
Edward Gorey is another artist who favours a Victorian flavour in his illustrations, but his tastes tend to be more Gothic. The late Edward Gorey was an American writer and artist, famed for his illustrated books.
Now, the aesthetics of Gothic Victorian and Steampunk are very closely related, and Gorey is a master of the dark arts. It is his eye for detail that makes his work resonate on so many levels. That, and he can be both macabre and whimsical within the same illustration.
Now, I can’t mention Steampunk illustrators without mentioning Liz Mamont. Like Gorey, Mamont blends a mixture of Gothic horror with a Victorian aesthetic. Like Gorey, her work often has a surreal edge. Her use of line work is superb, and she doesn’t back away from Absurdism in her work.
Unlike Steampunk sculptures, there is no expectation of ‘functionality’ in illustrations. Instead, what makes these illustrations fit into the Steampunk genre is their sense of humour – black or otherwise – and their sense of fun, while remain restricted to a a Victorian-era style and aesthetic.
What makes a piece of art fit into the Steampunk genre?
It isn’t a case of glue some gears onto something and calling it Steampunk, as parodied by Reginald Pikedevant. However, as a relatively new genre, the Steampunk Aesthetic is changing as new creatives are inspired by its quirkiness and historical relevance to our Postmodernistic culture.
Michihiro Matsuoka does ‘glue gears’ onto his resin animals in his sculptures. However, he also reuses old car parts and other discards in his work, and upcycling is right at the centre of Steampunk. I am a fan of his work, and if I ever get rich enough I will most definitely purchase some of his work to decorate my Steampunk Study. His sculptures have life and character as well as a Steampunk aesthetic, and the artist refers to them as his Steampunk Hybrids.
American artist Ernie Abdelmour also prefers to reuse found objects in his art. I adore his whimsical ‘Flying Machine’ series as they incorporate teapots, and tea is such a Steampunk tipple. He also has a fondest for recycling dials and gauges. Abdelmour prefers his ‘gadgets’ (his term) to look like they would work. He prefers creating machines to animals as animals have to be ‘more accurate’. All in all, his ‘it should look functional’ ambition is very Steampunk.
Cassia Harries like to make her little resin animals dress up in Steampunk cosplay, with goggles and gadgets. Her DarkSkies collection features all little animals that have wings and jetbacks, or helicopter blades, and look ready for anything. I was originally drawn to her work by ‘Puff, the Steampunk Dragon’.
I write a lot bout the problems that women faced when trying to be professional scientists in the Victorian era, but female artists suffered from the same sorts of sexism and prejudice as their scientist sisters. The perfect example of this is the painting, Nameless and Friendless, “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15, painted in 1857. It depicts the reception of a young artist presenting her paintings to a dealer.
The artist has certainly drawn on her own experiences when painting this scene. The look of resignation on the artist’s face, her brother’s expression halfway between hope and resentment, the dealer pretending to find fault with her work … and the two men on the left, gazing at her with interest tinged with hostility.
The title of the piece is also a hint, referring to the bible proverb: The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
The young artist and her brother are poor, and trying to make a living in a world full of men that see her as a woman first, and an artist second.
Emily Mary Osborn wasn’t in quite the same straits as the young artist in this painting. She was favoured by several wealthy female patrons, and even Queen Victoria bought at least one of her paintings. I suspect she enjoyed the freedom her success gave to her, because she died unmarried at the age of 97. But it didn’t stop her from showing sympathy to Victorian era ‘damsels’, one of her favourite topics.
It seems almost a shame to polish it. And yea, those are my toes in the bottom, right-hand corn.
Kintsukutoi, also known as Kintsugi, is a Japanese art; it takes a broken pottery item and repairs it with gold, silver or platinum lacquers to create something more beautiful than the original. Japanese æsthetics value the marks of wear and tear caused by the use of an object and is equivalent to what we call the ‘patina’ of an antique in Western Culture. It reflects the philosophy of accepting change and accepting flaws, that perfection is an unobtainable shadow concept.
This isn’t a bad philosophy to bring to the editing process. You might be breaking apart your work, smashing it into shards. However, you are putting it back together to create something more beautiful. I believe that the term ‘killing your darlings’ is very negative way of referring to editing. Instead, we should look at editing as a form of kintsukuroi, in that a writer is making a story sing by repairing what is wrong with its narrative.
Editing is a positive process, and is just as important as writing the story. There are some lucky individuals whose first draft is also their last draft, but most writers need to edit. I actually have learnt to enjoy my editing process, because I see it as improving and polishing. Putting a positive spin on it might work for you as well.
This has been one of my favourite images for thirty years. I’d love to know what draws me to it. Maybe the serenity in her expression?