Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Art of Steampunk

Art Donovan Steampunk Lamp
I just read through this cool book of steampunk art, costumes, and kinetic sculpture last night. It's written by "steampunk lighting master" Art Donovan. It gives some of the history and origins of the steampunk subculture in science fiction and art, and features photo essays on the work of seventeen prominent steampunk artists, costume makers, and craftsmen from around the world, including the lamps designed and fabricated by the author.

The idea of steampunk originated in imaginative literature in the Eighties (though some will argue that famous/notorious sci-fi writer Michael Moorcock was ahead of everyone there in the Seventies). I'd say it really got its start with the Sixties TV show, The Wild, Wild West, which I watched regularly when I was a kid.

Well, I could write a lot more on the subject, but want to focus here on the book... it's beautiful, printed on great stock, and the photographs are excellent. The works featured are products of fertile imagination and top-notch craftsmanship.

Huaro Suekichi Watch & Bottle Carrier
The essential steampunk fabrication materials are brass, copper, wood, and leather, so everything has this Victorian era look and feel about it... by design. I especially like the custom laptops of Richard Nagy, the "Datamancer," and the copper, brass, and leather gizmos of Japanese artisan Haruo Suekichi.

Check it out, and maybe take in an old episode of The Wild, Wild West while you're at it... the TV show, not the Will Smith and Kevin Kline movie (can't recommend that!).


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