Steampunk is one of the newest subcultures to make its way up from the underground into the relative mainstream. The origins of this genre are most often credited to Jules Verne and H.G. Wells with their early novels of scientific fiction that bordered on fantasy with the level of technological advancements they dreamed up. The genre was further advanced by the small glimpses afforded in non-Vernian films and TV shows such as the third installment of the Back to the Future franchise and Wild Wild West.
In a very simplified nutshell Steampunk is the vision of an alternate history in which many technological advances such as ray-gun style weaponry, airships and even rocket powered travel are placed into existence in the Victorian era. Visually fueled by the Victorian love of exploration and the exotic as well as the relative constraints of the time’s technology, i.e. steam or pneumatically powered inventions.
These days it is exceedingly easy to find information and examples of Steampunk with just a simple online search. Everything from fashion, literature, and art to music and film has made room for the burgeoning style and genre of Steampunk. Some notable names are G.D. Faulksen, author of The Ouroboros Cycle; youtube personality Sir Reginald Pikedevant; and many bands such as Abney Park and The Cog is Dead to name a very few.
As yet, this rapidly blossoming subculture has seen little exposure in our area. In that light, the list of photos included with this article is intended to showcase only a small portion of the possibilities within the scope of the genre as well as provide a glimpse of the range of participants in order to provide an introduction. Please take a few moments to read the artists’ stories as you browse their work.
DIY Steam Style.
Charlene came into the genre over a period of years starting with movies like League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and characters on Warehouse 13. For her the appeal lies in the cross processing of Victorian era style and technology blended with modern ideas of gadgetry.
"There was such a sense of hope and expectation in the late Victorian, particularly around the 1851 World's Fair. An emphasis on creative exploration that was seen in the culture at that time is also reflected in the Steampunk movement today."
Mrs. Therien is also very fond of the DIY aspect so prevalent in the genre. Because it is still so far from mainstream there is very little ready made gear to be found. As such the culture of creating your own work or work to contribute to the genre is very strong. She made all the garments shown in her pictures by hand, and her family is also active in Steampunk DIY.
Queen of Steam
Chuck Coleman has earned himself the title of Steampunk Chuck for his solid work in the genre. Mr. Coleman decided to enter the field in order to distinguish himself as an artist. There is still plenty of room for pioneers of the field and Steampunk Chuck was up for the challenge of being a trailblazer. He designs sets, costuming, and runs a modeling agency in order to keep his entire business self-contained and free from the tethers of the mainstream industry.
In Coleman's opinion the modeling/photography industry is filled with women 16-24 and many beautiful women are left out simply due to their maturity. Coleman's business is focused on the women who have first spent their time taking care of home and family and set her own wishes aside. His aim is to make his Queens of Steam elegant and classy while showcasing their beauty so that no one has a chance to say anything negative about them.
Paul Contreras is an artist from Santa Ana CA who enjoys making Steampunk costumes and accessories. He prefers to work with heavy duty materials to provide a sturdy, long lasting product that his customers will enjoy for years. His ingenious and lovely designs recently brought him a win from the OC Weekly Artopia.
Mr. Contreras does not currently have a website but he can be found on facebook under Paul F. Contreras if anyone should wish to contact him about his work.
Heathen Strangefellow and the Vaudeville Vagabonds
Self-described as "a Steampunk Gypsy/Rock Circus of awe-inspiring originality and creativity" Heathen Strangefellow and his crew put on a show like no other featuring music, performances and so much more.
For more information you can visit http://www.mythmaker.ca/vvv.html or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Heathen-Strangefellow-The-Vaudeville-Vagabonds/196539523717512.
Flame artist and wrestling matches between werewolves and luchadors are just a few of the many crazy things that happen when the Vaudeville Vagabonds take the stage. A few others of note are audience game shows, contortionists, sword swallowing, and circus aerials.
Dianne Keast of Sister Earth Creations, creates handmade Steampunk items with sub-themes of Industrial, Dieselpunk, Bohemian, Pirate, Goth & Victorian styles.
Her items include jewelery, jewelery boxes and items built from second-hand parts. Keast is happy to do custom orders and can be found at http://www.sisterearthcreations.com or https://www.etsy.com/shop/SisterEarthCreations
Ms. Keast first began in Steampunkery with cosplay, back when it was still called LARP ( Live Action Role Playing). She and her friends would make their own costumes for games and over time Steampunk appeared and she was hooked and hasn't looked back.
Heather Wilcox is another young artist exploring the Steampunk scene and incorporating it into her art with her series of Steampunk Angels. She is a self-taught artist working in pen, comic markers and watercolors.
Heather is a big fan of the artistry in the Steampunk scene and looks forward to exploring it further as time goes on. If interested in her art she can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Abney Park custom cupcake.
Robynn Erin is a woman of many distinctions. Not least of which is her company Steamworks Cupcakery. Using thematic molds to create the edible decorations and adding Steamy Flair with names like Cafe' du Vapuer (a mocha cupcake with espresso buttercream) she bakes all natural delectable delights from scratch. She has also worked with the leader of steampunk band Abney Park to create a custom signature AP cupcake and has been selected to design the official cupcake flavor for the Steampunk World’s Fair (shhh, it’s a secret).
Robynn has always been fascinated with the Victorian era and loves the idea of Machines meets Romance which is how she interprets the Steampunk. She watched and loved the movie Metropolis at the age of 13 but didn’t realize was it was until she discovered the Steam genre much later.
For more info on Robynn and SteamWorks Cupcakes you can visit her on FB at http://www.facebook.com/SteamWorksCupcakes
Two years ago Rosemary Byers had no idea what Steampunk was until she went with a friend to DragonCon and saw it firsthand. As a former SCA member the style appealed to her immediately and she already had a collection of clothing just waiting to be “steamed”. When the next Halloween rolled around she decided to make her own Steampunk accessories and just couldn’t stop!
It took some urging from her friends but eventually Rosemary posted her work on Etsy and RebelsMarket and began selling Steampunk items like these military styled ribbons and her handmade mixed media which she says often reflect her emotional state at the time she is crafting them.
Her work can be found here:
Depicting images of far off lands, and steamy marvels in the form of airships and more, Shane Gallagher’s 3d/matte style works evoke the spirit of exploration and adventure that Steampunk draws from its Victorian roots. Introduced to the genre by friends Shane is drawn to it by the blend of Victoriana and science fiction.
Citing Lovecraft as a strong influence, Mr. Gallagher’s work is created to tell a story and he loves to use the environment of the piece to create the drama and give a sense of scale.
To see more of his work and find more information visit www.shanegallagherdesign.com
Liz King-Page is a 60 year old lady who only recently began her Steam ventures after seeing an opened watch. Having never before made jewelry or anything of the sort she soon made a motorcycle out of watch parts and has since moved on to using larger clockwork gears for her creations.
Ms. King-Page is fond of using all manner of objects in her work including cutlery, hardware, fabric, wire, metaphysical crystals, beads and whatever else she may find. To view and purchase her work you can visit her page at www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ChiliSteamPunkJewels