An alternative future is a favorite sub-genre of science fiction and fantasy forms of art. Cyberpunk, atompunk, dieselpunk and others generally define this inspired era, reflecting the level of technological advance. However, none of them have reached the popularity of steampunk, the fantasy based on the Industrial Revolution and Victorian Era.
I personally fell in love with steampunk several years ago and have been doing steampunk designs for the past two years. It started as a hobby, but now I am occasionally selling my stuff and dreaming of doing this as a full-time job.
What is so interesting about steampunk? I will try to share my personal thoughts here which, I believe, are shared by many other steampunk enthusiasts.
A Revolution So Understandable
First, the technological perspective. The Industrial Revolution, as the name suggests, was an unprecedented big step for mankind, laying the first stones on the path to mass production. The major invention leading all others was the steam engine, a much more majestic power than that of humans and domesticated animals. The use of steam power (and later electricity) enabled us to build machines of enormous size. However, the mechanics of the era is quite easy to understand and emulate for today’s common man, with cogs, steam engines, strings, pipes, pendulums and Newtonian laws of physics. Arranging a few cogs and some brass rods, which look like pipes, in a nice setting is enough for a steampunk look. In fact, if you put in a little more effort, you can create a gadget, which makes people ask “Does it work?” This is not that easy with other ‘-punk’ genres.
Furthermore, even though these machines were a great leap in terms of production means, they still relied heavily on humans to operate. Also, most of the new machinery still included elements of hand craftsmanship, mechanically or aesthetically.
Putting it all together, the Industrial Revolution symbolizes the equilibrium point for me, during the ages of long transition of production from human to machines.
A Fascinating Look
Besides its technological aspect, steampunk is also very visually alluring. From the perspective of color theory, copper and brass seamlessly fit in with the brownish atmosphere of steampunk, which is due to all of the industrial smoke. Moreover, when they shine, they create a wonderful contrast within this dark atmosphere. This brownish color palette also includes most hues of wood, which usually makes a great frame or outer-box for a steampunk design.
On the other hand, Victorian fashion is already very striking, even without a fantasy element. Moreover, top hats, long coats, lace, heavy fabrics, corsets and long skirts present a wonderful playground for designing fantasy clothes. One is not completely bound by Victorian fashion either. You can throw in some leather or some early aviation gear or even move across the Atlantic, to have a Wild West version of steampunk clothes.
Steampunk creates a fantasy world of men and women clad in very cool clothing, living in the time of a great but understandable technology. That’s the magic of steampunk for me and for many others as well.
Photo by Emre Yalçın – All Rights Reserved
Guest Author Bio
Emre lives in Ankara/Turkey and is just starting to build a career in freelance writing based on his experience over 18 years. He is an amateur artist, designer, bass player and full-time father.