Tag Archives: Art

Leaving New Zealand

Artwork at The George, Christchurch.

Our last day in New Zealand was spent running errands and packing. We wanted to mail my snow gear home since it took up so much room in my suitcase. This way, I had room for the souvenirs and presents I had bought, and I wasn’t lugging around the extra weight. Our concierge found us a box to pack everything in, and then wrapped it in tape for us. If you are ever looking for a nice place to stay in Christchurch, I can’t recommend The George highly enough. The staff are the best, the art is inspiring, and they even gave us George, a sweet little bear to take with us on our travels.

The courtyard on the way to the Library at The George. This display is made of plates that survived the earthquake, out of sets that were destroyed.

We popped out to the post office. and had an early lunch at a café – you know the food is good when a place is packed even though there are plenty of eateries close by. Then we went back to the George for a nap. We had to get up at 3AM.

Dinner was at The George’s restaurant. I had the duck and I still have daydreams about that duck.

George – now in Australia – sitting with Esme, the Fashionista bear.

In the wee hours of the morning, we set off to the airport. We were so early, the QANTAS lounge wasn’t yet open. So we set up on the seat next to the door. There were robots in a glass room! Alas, it was closed and wouldn’t be open until well after we had flown out. (And it was for children, but that’s never stopped me before.) When the lounge did open, we had breakfast. (Then we were given meals on both flights back to Brisbane, New Zealand-to-Sydney, and Sydney-to-Brisbane.)

Every minute or so, it would shift into a new pose. Those anime eyes!
The second robot, ready to play soccer.

We left just as the sky was brightening. My last glimpse of New Zealand were snow-topped mountains just starting to glow in the pre-dawn light. I found the trip home tiresome, as I was both tired and still feeling ill. And I was already missing New Zealand.

Once home, I went straight to bed. And I spent nearly two weeks there, with antibiotics. I had developed secondary infections in my ears and throat. So it was my throat that was causing all the coughing, not my lungs, which was a surprise. During my convalescence, both mail parcels got home safely.

Over the next few posts, I’ll add in details about the trip and what I’ve done with some of our souvenirs.

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Filed under Adventures, Art, Christchurch, New Zealand, Personal experience, The George

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

Wellington Street Art

Even the manhole covers are art in Wellington.

The road trip from Rotorua to Wellington was the most interesting, scenery wise. We went from hot springs, through a rural paradise, through the ‘desert’ (it was very well covered in vegetation for a desert), into a modern city. The highpoint for me was seeing a snowy mountain. As a Queenslander born and bred, I’ve managed to miss seeing snow for sixty years.

Geothermal chimneys look remarkably like nuclear power plants.
My very first glimpse of snow.

We arrived in Wellington at night, so we didn’t get a good view of the city until the next morning. My word, the city is gorgeous. It has so much street art, it deserves a post all of its own.

The cat lady in the alley behind our hotel.
The bollards made to look like uncurling fern fronds.
A bridge just down from our hotel.

We spent four days in Wellington and I will share those adventures over the next few days.

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Filed under Art, New Zealand, Personal experience, Wellington

Tomas Barcelo’s Steampunk Cannon

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Seriously, one of the best gadgets I’ve seen in a long time.

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Ghost in a Crinoline

Cirenaica Moreira From the series Metalica: La Industrial, Lavanderia Habana Gelatin silver print, 1998

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This image has inspired me to write a short story.

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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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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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The Artist Emily Mary Osborn: a Steampunk Feminist Perspective

 

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.

 

Nameless and Friendless. "The rich man's wealth is his strong city, etc." - Proverbs, x, 15 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn 1828-1925

Nameless and Friendless. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, etc.” – Proverbs, x, 15; painted in 1857 by Emily Mary Osborn (1828-1925 )

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.

The Governess

The Governess

Presentments

Presentiments  

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Filed under Art, Female Artist, Historical Personage, History, Steampunk Feminist, Uncategorized, Victorian Era, Victorian-era Fashion

The Tarnished Spoon

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It seems almost a shame to polish it. And yea, those are my toes in the bottom, right-hand corn.

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Kintsukuroi of the Written Word

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.

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