Am I Steampunk?

I never really thought about my work fitting into a particular art movement or style, it always felt like it was its own thing (at least to me!).  But someone on Twitter once asked me if I’m “Steampunk” and I didn’t know what to say to that.  Obviously I didn’t think that I was, but was I steampunk without consciously knowing it?

Since then, I’ve come across a lot of work in the steampunk style, and I do enjoy it.  To explain this style to you (and to understand it better myself), I went to Wikipedia for a definition:

[Steampunk] denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used — usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England — but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date. Other examples of steampunk contain alternate history-style presentations of “the path not taken” of such technology as dirigibles, analog computers, or digital mechanical computers …

Wood, Elements #8 ©2009 WTEK - Could this be subconsciously Steampunk?

There is a lot of brass and copper used in art that falls under this genre, as well as lots of rivets, and nuts & bolts.  These elements are evident in much of my work.  The difference with my work is that I don’t have the intention of it seeming to exist in an alternate history.  And it definitely doesn’t run on steam (or anything else for that matter).  You know I like the idea of my work being from another culture or world (sci-fi/fantasy style), but I really don’t set out to put it into such a specific pigeon hole.

But what do you think?  Does my work fit into Steampunk culture?  Do you see it fitting into some other style of art?  What historical era do you think it resembles?

Want an example of someone who is definitely Steampunk?  Check out @SkinzNHydez on Twitter.  His work is a great example.  (He always links to his most recent pieces from his tweets)
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7 thoughts on “Am I Steampunk?

  1. I’m amused to read this on your blog–I was drawn to jewelry and metalsmithing via the steampunk aesthetic, but am now trying to branch out in more directions, inspired by the work of many great artists I’ve stumbled across (you’re one of them!).

    I would say that your fondness for rivets and patina adds a steampunk-friendly flavor to some of your pieces, but overall your work generally has more of an organic and almost tribal feeling rather than the “nifty mechanical bits” look that I tend to associate with “steampunk”.


    1. Thank you for your comments, Purpleshiny! Tamra Gentry said much the same thing on Twitter, about the flow of my pieces being different from the Steampunk aesthetic. Daniel Sroka also commented on Facebook about the differences between my work and Steampunk. You’re all right! I don’t think that I am a part of this movement, though I do like the work that it has inspired. I was just surprised when someone asked me about it and decided to see whether I might or might not be working in the style unconsciously. It was kind of a fun exercise to think about for awhile.


  2. Thanks for this post. I was not aware of Steampunk art etc until I read your blog. It took me off on a bit of a search. I can see why people would say that your work is steampunkish. Your work brings together the hard steampunk edge of the rivets, hammering, heat and metal in more organic and non-mechanical forms.


  3. I have to agree with Purpleshiny – you have elements of steampunk in your work, but I wouldn’t immediately classify the entire body as “steampunk”. Maybe “steampunk-esque”?

    Happy blogoversary!


  4. Erm. No. Steampunk is such a popular movement at the moment, that it’s easy to make correlations in style and method when you look at someone’s work and thus label it.

    For me, your work is more Art Deco. I would probably call it structural Art Deco or something.

    However, if you take steampunk as an alternate history, I think your style and art deco would have a high probability to be worn *in* that universe. Which would make it steampunk.

    Lol, hope that made sense.



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