What’s a Steampunk?
Many of us have heard the term “steampunk,” though we may not know what it means. If you joined me on last week’s outdoor adventure to Vanadu Art House, you got an eye-full of steampunk art. This art process fuses industrial technology from the 19th century with artistic aesthetics. To illustrate the idea, imagine taking old cogs and dials from machinery, like a clock, and affixing them to pretty much any surface, and maybe adding a coat of paint if it tickles your fancy. That’s steampunk.
Artist’s may find my description of steampunk a bit simplistic, and I’ll elaborate that it’s challenging to achieve an aesthetic order of sorts as you piece together your steampunk art. For instance, selecting the objects (what works well together), spacing them accordingly (not too symmetrical, yet balanced), choosing the right colors to layer (complementary choices that give depth), and knowing when to step away (my biggest challenge) are all factors in making an interesting, and potentially attractive, steampunk piece. That said, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and one person’s eyesore is another’s eye candy.
My inspiration for this week’s upcycle came from Clarke Bedford’s Vanadu Art House masterpiece, through which he transformed his home and vehicles into an incredible array of upcycling and steampunk art. If you missed the episode, you can find it here – https://ecopsyched.com/vanadu-art-house.
In the Dark
Steampunk art-making is new to me, as are many of my endeavors in this upcycling journey. I consulted some YouTube experts, and I relied on my trashy-treasure bottles and my partner’s box of forgotten bolts and fuses to piece it all together. When I finished the black underpainting, I considered stopping. I was taken with the mood of the piece and how it seemed to harken the era from which steampunk emerged.
But I pushed on with two more layers of color, and I’m glad I did. My art began to look even more like a relic with touches of gold. Though, now it looked like it was commandeered from a pirate ship or a forgotten cave of treasures. Fun!
I find it challenging to stop working on an art piece, no matter the medium. There is always a chance that I’m going to throw the kitchen sink at it and it’s going to become a mess (so many times, sigh). Steampunk art is good for me, because it’s somewhat of an organized mess by nature. But I did have to hit the brakes in order to not overdo the layers of paint on my bottles. At one point, I had added too much gold highlighting to the main piece, and I revisited it with a little more black ink to age it. Then I stopped.
Oh yeah, I made two other side pieces in this collection. Both smaller bottles are minimalistic in design to offset the busy centerpiece. I must say, it was difficult for me to hold back, but I really love how these two bottles emerged with their dirty, metallic sheens and ease on the eyes with only a few focal points. Putting the brushes down!
Some Love It, Some Hate It
What are your thoughts on steampunk artwork? Would you display this style of art in your home? Please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know if it strikes you the same way it does me (hint: I love it!).
I hope you’ll come along with me on this week’s creative adventure in the video below and watch as these steampunk pieces come together before our eyes!
Thank you for joining me on this and future Ecopsyched! adventures!
My Video Gear
Paint Brush Set (palette knife and sponges included)
Acrylic Paint (Black)
Acrylic Paint (Gold)
Acrylic Paint (Bronze)
Acrylic Paint (Turquoise) (substitute product per availability)
Mod Podge Glue
Cotton Twine String
Artist Palette Knives
Foam Sponge Brush Set
Steampunk Pieces (if you don’t have a junk drawer)
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Vanadu Steampunk Upcycle: Copyright © Lisa Barry 2021.
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