One of the greatest and most powerful aspects of the steampunk community is individual and collective creativity. We see this easily in the stories we read, the fashions we wear, and the music we hear. The energy inspires and influences, and is self-inducing. Far from being limited in topical, aesthetic, and format scope, it is even wider-ranging than its literary roots.
As I have been visiting steampunk websites around the world, I have seen a wide variety of steampunk artwork, too. The aesthetic is not only applied to multiple styles, ranging between realism and impressionism, and in mediums from drawings to sculptures, but also in content from every avenue of thought and imagination.
There are many great artists and artworks for us to enjoy, and the Airship Ambassador Gallery page is only beginning to scratch the surface in identifying both. We’ve seen their work, often iconic in nature, around the web but the artists are not always identified nor given the credit they richly deserve.
Let’s begin our first trip around the globe on the east coast of the United States with Bruce Rosenbaum who is one of the people involved in the Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea Interactive Entertainment Experience. Bruce may be most identified with the steampunk furnishings of his home. Every room has some steampunk influence from the kitchen stove to the dog’s water tank.
Also in the US is Joe Benitez who has done the artwork for the Lady Mechanika comic books. She is a private investigator in turn of the century Victorian England, hired to investigate cases on the fringe of normal society. Joe’s Deviant Art page also showcases his other work.
Flying across the Pacific Ocean, we visit Andrei Vereshchagin in Moscow, Russia. His paintings have a soft vibrancy and the topics range from flying sailing ships to wheeled houses as well as less fantastical but no less impressive scenes of streetscapes and environments.
Moving into Europe, Frank Buchwald in Berlin, Germany creates intriguing functional art in the form of lamps. The designs feature a mix of metals like brass and steel, unshaded bulbs, fabric wiring, and handcrafted glass.
While we are still in Germany, I want to repeat the citation for the work of Vadim Voitekhovitch. I am still entranced, engaged and enraptured by his series of airships and the realistic settings in which they are portrayed. One can just imagine one of the people in the pictures taking the steam train or a horse drawn carriage to the airship station, ready to begin, or continue, a longer journey.
Kerem Beyit, from Turkey, is an award winning freelance artist who includes Wizards of the Coast and LucasArts on his client list. While much of his work is fantasy scenes, inspired by Frank Frazetta and John Buscema, he’s also created an impressive steampunk dragon.
There’s still much to explore and see in our global steampunk community. Come back for part II, next week.
Kevin Steil is the creator of the steampunk news and information resource website, Airship Ambassador, the annual month-long global blogathon, Steampunk Hands Around the World, and is the curator of the online Steampunk Museum. He has been a guest and speaker at a number of conventions, contributed to several books, and has consulted for national media programs and events. He can also officiate your wedding!