I just got back from a group steampunk art exhibit in the Hamptons. (Yes, the Hamptons—further solidifying steampunk in mainstream consciousness.) The show was small but interesting. I’m not well versed in steampunk, in literature or in design. I love its general aesthetic and the warmth it brings to hard materials; on the other hand, I generally prefer economy in style and design. Clockwork gears are fascinating as long as they are doing their job. A few of the pieces in the show looked cool but were layers of gears simply glued on top of one another, like frosting flowers in a birthday cake.
Datamancer was the only artists I knew of going into the show. They had one of his beautiful tripped-out PCs there and it was a beauty to behold.
My favorite work was from clockmaker Eric Freitas. He took the interior mechanisms of the clocks and morphed them into organic shapes—metallic twigs, almost-leaves, and shapes reminiscent of insect exoskeletons. Stunning. They evoke both decay and growth:
I should note, my mother was with me (yay mom!) and she had never heard the term “steampunk” before. She said she was pleasantly surprised and was particularly taken by the suggested narratives in Sam Van Olffen’s prints. A great series of carnival themes mixed with dystopian tropes of gas masks and early war machinery.