Before I introduce today’s fantastic visiting lolita, we have some winners to announce.
The winner of the signed print by artist Jasmine Becket-Griffith is…
Congratulations Phil, you’ve won your choice of prints from Jasmine’s steampunk gallery. Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail to claim your prize.
We also have another winner to announce, the winner of a copy of SOJOURN by Jana Oliver.
…drum roll please…
Congratulations to you, too, Sandra. Please email me at suzannelazear (@) hotmail
Thanks to everyone who entered, we’ll have more contests coming up for you. Also, the ensemble contest to win a $150 GC to Clockwork Couture is now *closed.* We got some terrific entries. They’re off to our special guest judge, Gail Carriger and I’ll let you know when we have our winner!
Today we welcome artist Aimee Stewart of Foxfire Art. Thank you so much, Aimee, for being part of Steampunkapalooza and dropping by to be today’s visiting Lolita. Don’t forget to check out her webpage and facebook group.
Steampunk Music and Art, Linked at the Gears
by Aimee Stewart
My introduction and arrival into Steampunk happened in one fell swoon. Actually that was a typo. I meant to type ‘swoop’, but ‘swoon’ fits even better. While my Steamlightenment might not have involved chasing a clockwork rabbit down a brass lined tunnel, it certainly felt like being swept away into a sort of Tick Tock Wonderland. A good friend had mentioned the subculture to me on several occasions, but it wasn’t until I was given a link to the Abney Park website that everything clicked into motion. I sat back and listened to music that immediately grabbed me by the boot straps and said “Where have you been all my life?!” I knew at that moment, I was smitten. I was in deep smit.
At that particular moment in time, I had already started forging a name for myself as an artist. I had been featured in a few Advanced Photoshop Magazines, and was well on my way to finding my style. So when I found myself being completely enraptured by Abney Park’s sound and look, I knew immediately what I wanted to do; I wanted to delve into Steampunk artwork. And I just had a feeling that I could actually pull it off, and do right by it.
It seemed like such a natural union! I adored the entire philosophy. The speculative fiction, the era-based styles, the grand adventuresome spirit infusing the whole thing. It took me exactly .2 seconds to recognize that I could already lay claim to a lot of aspects of Steampunk (already being a fan of the classic literature that gives spark to the genre), even if I was missing a few bells and whistles, or gears as it were.
And so I set about creating my first ‘fan art’ for Captain Robert of Abney Park. To me, it made perfect sense to create an amazing clockwork Phonograph for him to stand near. Presumed functionality enabled me to unleash my imagination full throttle. In a flurry of a few days, I had crafted my first official Steampunk work, and promptly emailed it to the Captain himself.
Needless to say, I squealed like a fangirl when he wrote back. Not only did he love the work (‘usually the fan art is of the girls in the band, not the guys!’), but was very interested in seeing more! I was completely delighted to oblige. One by one, I lost myself in my own personal vision of what Steampunk was, with their band photographs as the catalyst. I didn’t have other art to compare it to. I just went with my own inspirations and ideas. The peculiar thing was, looking back now, I realized I had infused far more vibrant color in my pieces than what would normally be attributed to Steam art. But that was ok. While I understand the sensibility behind brown in Steampunk culture (we would all love to walk around looking like living sepia-toned tintypes, no?), the colors are what make my mind spin with possibilities.
I recently attended a panel at Norwescon that was discussing Steampunk art. At one point I made mention that I see myself fitting in to the Steam sensibility as if I were a crow collecting shiny bits and baubles as I go about my lavish adventures. While the root of it all is certainly Victorian England, I have a deep interest in the Raj, the period of British colonial rule in India. The time period in which Queen Victoria took over the rule of the British East India Company. The mere mention of silks, dyes, teas, and all other aspects of the Company immediately make my head spin with color. Couple that with the ability to mod equipment, outfits and styles to suit ‘the future happening in the past’ mentality, and you have a potent engine for creation. So while I might delve into monochromatic sepia toned works at some point, my heart is always going to lead me down a much more vibrant path.
After I presented Abney Park with their band portraits, I was blissed when they decided to use the artwork for posters, promotion, and even their website. It wasn’t long before Advanced Photoshop Magazine hired me to create a number of tutorials, creating Steampunk art for their readers. I suddenly found myself in the heart of the aesthetic I adored. And while I had moments where I didn’t feel quite qualified to be looked upon as any sort of representative, I decided that above all….creativity is king in Steam, and I could certainly provide a ransom’s worth. So I have pushed forward, continuing my love affair with the style, the music, and the possibilities of it all. I am currently working on new artwork for Abney Park, and am about to begin an extensive project with The Clockwork Quartet, who are based in London.
Is my entire life devoted to Steampunk? No. I am quite the eclectic bird. My artwork shifts with my moods, much like the music I listen to. I might very well be found wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt, while playing drums to Ballroom Blitz on Rock Band… or cruising down the interstate singing to The Tragically Hip at the top of my lungs. Or if you peek into my studio, you might find me listening to Enya, and working on something steeped in high fantasy. But it all funnels back to Steam at some point, and for me… that’s all that matters. So while I might not fit into the ideal Steampunk mode, I promise I’ll always create something intriguing to look at. And if it sparks your imagination, then my day is made.