Monday, March 17, 2008

I'm your Steampunk, baby!

work by Christopher Conte

From Wikipedia:

Steampunk is a sub genre of fantasy and speculative fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term, "Steampunk" denotes works set in a 19th century-ish world where steam power is still widely used and often set in Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of Steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of "the path not taken" of such technology as dirigibles or analog computers; these frequently are presented in an idealized light, or a presumption of functionality.

Two artists who specialize in Steampunk genre art are Christopher Conte (below) and St├ęphane Halleux (whose photo is unavailable). Both artists create Steampunk sculptures of characters and objects that are reminiscent of Tim Burton or maybe Rube Goldberg.

Chris Conte

Conte's works tend to resemble insects, but sometimes, he takes his work in different directions:

Halleux's work turns more to the likes of junk-dealer robots and miniature cars, mechanized chairs and enigmatic “engines that are wonderful visual fun.

Both artists use textured and weathered surfaces, strange shapes, and arrangements of odd parts that are imaginative and entertaining. Their objects are mesmerizing in a way that makes viewers long to be able to view them from a wide variety of angles.
Halleux dog

Conte Insect

A favorite pop culture steampunk engineer named, "I-Wei" has created a tutorial on how to draw steampunk machines that contains both fantastic concept art as well as technical sketches for the actual steam-driven machines he's built. If you would like to try your hand at this nifty conceptual art genre, give a click

National Public Radio has a nice radio piece on Steampunk that you can listen to

BoingBoing TV does a little piece on kinetic steamwork

and another about a group of Oakland artists who built a Steampunk tree house

For an entire photo album just chock full of Steampunk Tree House photos, click

If you aspire to be a Steampunk Engineer, you might consider classes at
The Crucible here in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Steampunk Tree House at BurningMan

That's all she wrote...

1 comment:

Stacy Zimmerman said...

I read your "art beat" every day, and this one on Steampunk genre art has to be my favorite so far. Halleux's work made me laugh out loud, I just love it and I'm amazed by it. Great post!!

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