Link - by Avi Abrams

There is a touch of sensuality in the pink tentacles, scarlet flowers, and protruding ship masts

How can we not feature something that boasts airships, Arctic wastes, tentacles and sensuality - all at once? Impossible, I say! So here is the "Airships and Tentacles" Series by Myke Amend, combining Vernian and Lovecraftian atmosphere and concepts into strange-fiction fantasy horror mashups:

"The Rescue" - a commission work for Robert Brown of Abney Park

Exclusive Interview with Myke Amend for Dark Roasted Blend

---- What are your influences, besides the obvious Lovecraft references and airship-induced themes? (books, music, art - the more, the better)

"I would count my artistic influences over my lifetime as: Gustav Dore, Pieter Brueghel (the Elder mostly, but I admire the entire family's work) Zdzislaw Beksinski, Bethalynne Bajema, Michael Whelan, Derek Riggs, Dave McKean, and Gerald Brom - though recently I have found myself very drawn by the works of newer artists such as Brian Despain, Travis Louie, Chet Zar, and Chris Mars. I don't see any of which really showing in my works, regretfully, but they are there - each encouraging me to try something new and experimental in the styling, media, or feel of each work I do.

I am also influenced by the written works of Edgar Allen Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Robert W. Chambers, Gordon R. Dickson, Tolkien, Jules Verne, Terry Brooks, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis. (DRB: we will have to add to this list Dan Simmons' recent Arctic horror novel "The Terror")

In my teen years, it was music - gloomy gothy music, deathrock, horror punk ordered by mail or shared through duplicated cassettes - and the largest assortment of obscure and semi-unknown metal and progressive metal bands - many of which I picked out of the music store almost entirely according to their album art, hence Derek Riggs (Illustrator for Iron Maiden) listed in my artistic influences.

Most influential, especially in my youth, outside of Dungeons and Dragons and Dark Sun campaigns, were the entire series of Final Fantasy games, the Dragon Warrior games, as well as Chrono-Cross and Chrono Trigger - leading into my earlier adult years with games such as the Heroes of Might and Magic series, Xenosaga, Dark Cloud, and Dark Cloud II.

Audio-visual eye-candy tends to grab me more than anything else these days. This perhaps because I regrettably find myself with less time for reading or for visiting my favorite museums. Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Golden Compass, Stardust, Mirrormask, Pan's Labyrinth, City of Lost Children, Chronos, Howl's Moving Castle, Casshern, Brazil, the Adventures of Baron Munchausen account for much of what I have been doing over this last year or so."

"The Machine" was done for Josh Pfeiffer/the Steampunk Industrial band "Vernian Process"

---- Do you think that John Campbell's "Who Goes There?" should be remade again (and by which director?)

"As long as it is not the William F. Nolan screen treatment, I would love to see another good version, though Carpenter's make of it still gives me chills when watching. I don't know if anyone could do a better job, but I think it would take good actors, as well as a good director and good screenwriter. The Hollywood of this last decade would probably first look for someone who looks good in tight pants, and then try to write a movie around her, with lots of big explosions - and obviously CG monsters with huge muscles. Which director? ... Peter Jackson and Del Toro would be the obvious choices - though Steve Barker did a good job with Claustrophobic terror in "Outpost", as did Neil Marshall in "Dog Soldiers".. or perhaps I like British Camp horror a bit too much."

---- Which other fellow artists in the same vein can you recommend?

"Well, in the steampunk vein, I would have a number of recommendations. For cute and light-hearted, I would recommend Brigid Ashwood, Jasmine Becket-Griffith, Kaja and Phil Folgio. For sheer awesome I would recommend Travis Louie, and Brian Despain. For photography, the people to watch are Lexxie (LexMachine) of Lexmachinaphoto.com, Kate O'Brien, Nayda Lev, Eliza Gauger, and Zoetica Ebb. For Neo-Victorian ephemera, I would recommend Bethalynne Bajema and Winona Cookie."

"Eliza Gauger, aside from having been in my favorite band: Abney Park, is a photographer and a doubly brilliant artist, leaning mostly towards 'weird', lowbrow, and newschool art - she is also the person who originally designed the H.M.S. Ophelia, which is the primary subject of the airship painting which kicked off this entire series - one that began with Captain Robert Brown of Abney Park needing decor for his library and study"

Steampunk, horror, and gothic eCards are somewhat hard to find on the net, but Myke's site features free eCards service, and many free desktop images. Some are irresistibly gorgeous, such as the "Conception" and "Sabiku Engraving":

Speaking about our recent article "Postage Stamps from the Future", which featured some Lovecraft-inspired stamps, here is Jules Verne' themed one by Myke Amend (on the right - more tentacles in the air, courtesy Airboy)

Also don't miss his unique Adventure Mission Generator!

(all images above copyright: Myke Amend, used by permission)

Some other steampunk air machines from various artists (however, no tentacles could be seen anywhere): "Imperial Airship" by James Ng -

(image credit: James Ng)

(image credit: Vimark)

More airship goodness, courtesy Tonic from Poland and Cara Packwood from Hertfordshire, UK:

(images credit: Tonic, Defferentiation)

"Airship Thanatos" by Einherja from Finland:

(image credit: Einherja)

And finally consider "A Novel Not Yet Written", by Freya Horn from Norway:

(image credit: Freya Horn)

For the wonderful examples of airships and tentacles in recent science fiction, make sure to read Alastair Reynolds epic novella "Minla's Flowers" and no less epic work "Finisterra" by David Moles.


Also Read: "Cthulhu Live and Prosper"

Don't Miss DRB STEAMPUNK Series! ->


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Blogger . c h o k l i t . said...

Fabulous interview!

I love everything Myke does... thanks for the insights and for publishing such a great range of his work and interests!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great art. But why the dismissive and shallow description of artists Jasmine Beckett Griffith and Brigid Ashwood as "cute and light-hearted"? Jasmines work is fantastical pop surrealism and while some of it is airy fairy she also has a broad range of work that shows real depth and skill. Brigids steampunk art is beloved by her fans for its original take on the genre and uniquely feminine perspective. Many of us find her work mysterious and compelling rather then "cute and light-hearted". Some food for thought.

Anonymous Myke Amend said...

"But why the dismissive and shallow description of artists Jasmine Beckett Griffith and Brigid Ashwood as "cute and light-hearted"?"

@Sophie - Mostly for lack of space. I had a lot of trouble keeping the word count down as it was, and the last thing I intended was to sound "dismissive" - as that would nullify the point of making recommendations.

Jasmine is a wonderfully talented artist, with a lot of great work, and she employs the use of color like no other. She has also been kind to me over the years, such as having given me a spot in last year's "Gothic Art Now" book.

Brigid is equally incredible, and I especially love that she is not only multi-talented, but has a myriad of skills to pull from - and an ability to work most any media with ability that is beyond "expert".

She also has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the best spots to purchase the best materials, and is an invaluable friend for this and many other reasons. She, too, has done some rather wonderful things for me along the way.

Both of which lean more towards figurative art, and those figures are figures that I find to be "cute" and looking at them not only makes me feel inspired. Given that they are often colorful and vivid, the mood of their works, to me, is generally uplifting.

I stand by "Cute and Light-hearted", just not in the way that you might like to interpret it.

Blogger Marrock said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Ujanja said...

what a joy to fall in a world, only you and the novel. Such inspiring. That is the power of the mind. Good work


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