Category Archives: Steampunk Art

New Zealand Scrapbook

The Hobbiton page in my scrapbook

As I mentioned in my last post, I made a scrapbook for our New Zealand trip. My arts & crafts projects tend to lean more into making Steampunk accessories and jewellery, so this was a new experience for me. I didn’t want to throw away all the mementoes I had collected, and this seemed to be the perfect way to preserve them. It would be a way to relive the trip, I thought – and even putting it together gave me a great deal of satisfaction.

I had some problems getting an actual scrapbook. Spotlight had all the gear for scrapbooking except for the actual books! I thought about ordering online, but ended up popping into Target on the off chance they would have any. They did! Just ONE! But one was all I needed.

Double-sided tape is the scrapbooker’s friend. So are really sharp scissors. I had bought these in preparation. I decided the sensible thing would to be set out the scrapbook to follow our day to day adventures. And off I went.

We went to Zealandia and the Cable Car Museum on the same day.
The Larnach Castle Page

Items too bulky for the scrapbook were put through the photocopier, such as the Larnach Castle Christmas ornament and my patches from Lumsden and the Steampunk Headquarters. I included several coins in New Zealand currency for a bit of bling; they were thin enough not to cause any issues. I also photocopied a few photos to add colour and backgrounds to some pages. As I haven’t taken any scrapbooking classes, I have no idea if I was doing anything the right way. I just arranged things to my liking.

The Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru, page in the scrapbook.

It took me a week to complete the scrapbook, working about an hour a day after dinner. When it was finished, I gave it to my husband to flick through. his comment: ‘I wouldn’t have thought this would have turned out so well. I didn’t think we kept so many souvenirs. How did we get all of this home?’ ‘The magic of saving mainly flat items like brochures and maps,’ I replied.

My next goal is convert my handwritten diary into a computer file. That way, I can add in details that I may have skipped while travelling.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art

Steampunk Headquarters, Oamaru

The pinnacle of Steampunk artistry.

I was sorry to leave Larnach Castle and Dunedin; there was so much more we could have seen and done. Visiting New Zealand was beginning to feel like a European tour; the fjords of Scandinavia, the snowy peaks of Switzerland, Scottish moors, English farmlands, with the extra excitement of its unique wildlife. Our next stop was going to be another highpoint of the trip: Steampunk Headquarters in Oamaru. The drive was as scenic as anything we’d experienced previously, with rocky tors looming along the ridgelines.

On the trip between Dunedin and Oamaru, I expected to see the Orcs or the Rohirrim, when I caught sight of these rocky tors.

I was still burdened with my cold, but the excitement of seeing Steampunk Headquarters burnt a lot of my discomfort away. Adrenaline is great stuff! When I caught sight of iconic train outside the Headquarters, I squealed with delight. My husband rolled his eyes, he isn’t a Steampunk Enthusiast. This outing was for my benefit only.

The Airship

When I walked into the entry, I immediately started blabbing about being Steampunk Sunday, Queensland, Australia on Facebook. The lass had heard of me! She was going to wave the entry fee for both me and my hubby, but my hubby insisted on paying. Then it was a walk into Steampunk heaven.

The Mega-Galactic Pipe Organ
One of the numerous Steampunk vehicles on display.
When you need to cross a lava-hot terrain.
Another vehicle in the process of being constructed.

I could easily share the dozens of photos I took, but my drooling over everything would get boring. Then again, this IS originally a Steampunk blog. We also spent some time in the gift shop.

The Tank
One of the cosplay outfits on display.

We spent a couple of hours in the Headquarters, then we headed off to Christchurch, our last stop in New Zealand.

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Filed under Adventures, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Genre, Steampunk Headquarters, Steampunk Sunday

Wedding Anniversary in New Zealand

Exhibit at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. And a wonderful view of my rotundity.

This was the day of our 27th wedding anniversary – and my husband’s birthday. So, we did out favourite thing and visited the museum across the road from where were staying: The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. We ended up spending six hours there, including meal breaks. We didn’t take many photos; most exhibits requested no photography.

The museum is also an art gallery. We started in the portrait gallery, which has a computer set up to explain who the people were in all the portraits. It also gave random facts about the restoration of the paintings, some of the meanings and symbology within the paintings, and historical context. Brilliant stuff. There was also a gallery showing by Robyn White.

The more traditional exhibits were about indigenous animals, the Maori way of life, the tectonics of New Zealand, and a tribute to the ANZACs with large human sculptures done by Weta Workshop.

We also visited the Wellington Museum, about four blocks away on the same street. It is a much smaller museum, set into an old wool storehouse. My favourite piece there was the memento mori wreath made from the hair of scores of people – very Victorian era; my Steampunk persona was fascinated by its complexity. Most hair used in this manner was preserved in lockets, brooches, and rings. There was a clever use of the hair colours to pick out the details in the wreath.

Human hair woven into a floral wreath.

There was an exhibit about the wreck of the ferry, Wahini, which made me cry due to so many little bodies lined up on the beach afterwards. Later on, I remembered we were taking a ferry to Picton and had anxiety over that. I kept checking the weather apps on my phone.

They also had an exhibit about the UFO panic of the late 1950s. Wellington has been paranormal for decades, it appears.

Victorian era baby carriage at the Wellington Museum.

After being on our feet for hours and hours, we headed back to the hotel for a nap. There was sparkling white wine on ice and little cakes waiting for us … the staff knew it was our anniversary. That night, we had a romantic dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I love my husband more every day, and was pleased he had a fun day for his birthday.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk, Steampunk Art, The Museums of Wellington, Victorian Era, Victorian-era Fashion, Wellington

Weta Workshop, Auckland – Weta Unleashed

One of the suits of armour on display at Weta Unleashed.

The Weta Unleashed tour is in the building across the road from the Sky Tower. This was convenient, as we went straight from the Sky Tower to our tour, across a sky bridge. We looked around the shopping cave first, and took photos of the statues of trolls and orcs lurking in the corridor outside.

Once inside the touring area, our first stop was a ‘reception’ area with animatronic Kevin, an orc. Kevin was the result of Disney wanting a fortune – AND YEARS – to create this sort of robot. Weta decided to do it themselves. And they managed to be quicker and cheaper. I prophesise that Disney will be trying to buy Weta in the near future. My favourite room was the Pinnie Gigs room, where Guinea Pigs were the overarching theme. They were part of the stained class, and there was a board that had sketches of LOTR characters as guinea pigs. My next favourite room was the miniatures room. The details were amazing. If I could work for Weta, this would be my jam.

Of course, I got to play with a sword and helmet and a throne.

This kingdom is MINE.

If you get a chance to go to Auckland, don’t pass up the opportunity to see the Weta Workshop. It is inspiring for writers and Steampunk enthusiasts.

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Filed under Auckland, New Zealand, Personal experience, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Technology, Weta Unleashed Auckland

Steampunk Art and the Steampunk Aesthetic: Part Two

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Art by Brian Kesinger

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.

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Brian Kesinger’s Tea Girls, painted using tea.

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Otto and Victoria cosplaying as Doctor Who and a Dalek.

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The Inventor, by Brian Kesinger.

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.

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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.

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innocence

 

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Illustration from The Willowdale Handcar

osbick-bird-by-edward-goreyNow, 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.

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The Mantis Family Outing Liz Mamont

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Electricity by Liz Mamont

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Art by Liz Mamont.

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.

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Filed under Art, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Cosplay, Steampunk Genre, Uncategorized

Steampunk Art and the Steampunk Aesthetic

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Puff the Steampunk Dragon by  Cassia Harries

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.

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Michihiro Matsuoka

 

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Michihiro Matsuoka

 

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.

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Flying Machine 1 by Ernie Abdelnour

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Flying Machine 2 by Ernie Abdelnour

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Flying Machine 3 by Ernie Abdelnour

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’.

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Filed under Art, Steampunk Aesthetic, Steampunk Art, Steampunk Cosplay, Uncategorized