How to let off steam and clear the pipes in your brain
In the same format as our popular Cyberpunk Art Update we present the most daring and imaginative works in Victorian tinkering and steam era computing... Based largely on the works of William Gibson, China Mieville, Jeff Vandermeer and good old H. P. Lovecraft, some of these "infant terribles" of artistic imagination are not for the faint of heart. They all however transport our technology-jaded selves into an era when steam-powered computers and gaslight "special effects" were the true scientific wonders of the world.
1. Mad Scientist's Portable Lab and Other Deepest Desires
Alex cf not only makes printed art, but various "found" artifacts that come from some "Mountains of Madness" alternate world, and which you can safely (almost) order on eBay for your perverted curiosity's pleasure. His other site (frankly the best myspace website we've ever seen) says: "...pencil wielding creature crafting steam punk obsessed monster. I like illustrating, concocting and generally fabricating your darkest and deepest desires, be those four headed foetus's or artwork for your various needs." We asked Alex some questions and his answers appear here as an exclusive for Dark Roasted Blend.
Click on the images for more info. The Inquisitor: ambient aetheric ocular device -
"I sit in my darkened room and tinker, and what I create is just a product of what's on my mind and what I wish existed in reality."
The Necropathic Spectregraph: Experiments in the fifth realm -
"I've been a professional illustrator for seven years, but turned my hand to assemblage art a few years ago after not being able to articulate myself through drawing or writing. It was a great relief to find a medium that I enjoyed working in immediately, as it combined my illustration and writing within a 3d form."
You can get yourself your own Cthulhu Spawn in a jar (it might not stay in a jar, mind you, better watch its undead condition very closely) -
Don't worry, it comes with a whole set of instructions and tools to give it a proper care:
"I'm obsessed with the work of Lovecraft, and making his own abominations come to life was merely a personal wish, but to see other people interested in these creations was inspiring..."
In fact, if you an inspiring adept of ghoulish things and dubious science, you can equip yourself with various Alex's mini-labs and portable exploration stations to aid in your multi-dimensional search. Here is a "Vampyric Anatomical and Biological Research Case":
There is a werewolf research case, too:
or you can explore the undead condition of an ape arm with the "Bio-Ætheric Laboratory" (ominously related to Frankenstein's similar research):
"I incorporate my love of macabre, and I'm also a DIY punk kid and the vocalist in a crust/hardcore band, so steampunk to me is a lot more to do with a dystopian society on the edge of social revolution, black clad steampunks armed with spanners and molotov cocktails, manning decommissioned steam-powered war mechs and waging war against the tyrannical empire. I also create cryptozoological specimens and I feel that this all fits quite nicely together."
Harnessing the power of various obscure creatures with the Bio aetheric correction device, containing an electric eel inside:
"...as for steampunk books. There aren't so many great ones. My favorite steampunk influenced author is China Mieville... I was introduced to China half way through a book I was writing. His work was exactly what i was trying to achieve, and so I gave up writing it and learned to enjoy reading this chimera of all my favourite things contained in one book. It was a rare moment when you meet another artist or writer who produces something you are attempting without feeling jealous. odd... My other influences are less obvious to me; William Gibson and Bruce Sterling created the blueprint for steampunk in "The Difference Engine"- other authors and artists have fashioned their own take on this genre."
Solid geometric anomaly location gauntlet (better than any GPS you can imagine, as it points to a "plane without a surface", a geometric anomaly, which claimed even the most talented of scholars, never heard from again) -
We can only point to Alex's website for more deliriously weird artifacts. There seems no end to them, and perhaps one day they will be collected in one store: a truly magical British store, that we will simply have to visit.
"A Victorian world gone mad, in fits of coal smoke and tar and steam and oil... This is the world I create my work within and I hope that I, in some small way convey my own ideas of this esoteric genre. I do sell a lot of my work through eBay, as it is a free and easy way to get my work seen by a lot of people. The art world is not a friendly place so we must all carve out our own niche. I love making stuff and I hope I can continue to do this for a long time to come."
The most recent from Alex's studio is a series of steampunk prints/illustrations. Here is the "Automata Repairman" with the sort of inspired madness, which we simply adore:
The Bobster trike shown below is an inspired custom from Zeel Design, but not the only bike model, lavishly outfitted in brass and chrome.
The following bike was first drawn for a bike comic, but then brought to life by the artist's brother; this German site has more pictures. Read info here.
It uses some parts from a tractor and runs on petrol. The next bike, however -Hubbard Steamcycle - has an actual steam engine!
"It was built in the early ’70s by Arthur "Bud" Hubbard of Monroe, CT following a design from The Model Engineer and Electrician in an article published in 1918."
We finish this short review of steampunkish bikes with the very impressive "Radial Engine" bike (thanks Kneeslider)
3. Animal Steam Mechanisms
Back to the actual artwork portfolios, one of the most original and inspiring ones comes from Russia, by the artist who calls himself Gvozd (an iron nail). His actual name is Vladimir Gvozdev, and he has a very distinct, slightly whimsical style.
His "Chaos Structures" are an epitome of the abstract steampunk sensibilities: (I can't believe I actually said that):
4. I'm glad Hitler did not have any steampunk ideas
Keith Thompson however, has got a few ideas that go quite well together with the WW2 technology lore. This highly imaginative artist, clearly gifted in the field of vehicle design, has come up with a great gallery of ominous looking mechanisms, of which this is a sample (with his permission):
Click to enlarge:
From a Cold War era comes this wicked ICBM launcher:
Various Victorian technology wonders populate his site:
Let us know of the other talented artists working in the steampunk sub-genre. We can't get enough of such feasts of imagination.
And, of course, for the latest and greatest in steampunk genre, visit the gorgeous Brass Goggles site. There are more goodies on this site than I can mention, for example a page of steampunk wallpapers, like these ones (from the Museum of Victorian Science Lab):
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