Artyfax Creative

Artyfax Creative

(Continued)

Steampunk Cosplayers are a large, and growing, contingent every year at ComicCon.

style that “modern” Steampunk relies so heavily upon.

Today, even the casual admirer can be treated to images of laptop computers, entire desktop computer systems and peripherals, home entertainment modules (like plasma televisions, DVD players and stereo systems) and even laboriously designed automobiles with a simple click of the mouse (Note: the author’s own bedroom suite was custom-designed and built incorporating the Steampunk theme by Toronto filmmaker George Willis). While furnishings in copper sheeting, wiring and piping certainly could not be considered an “affordable option” for many admirers and consumers of the Steampunk artistic style, there are certainly several apparel, accessory and jewelry designers concentrating on the medium that are offering their wares at more than affordable prices.

One of the best Steampunk design firms to showcase their talents is Reno, Nevada’s Facing Costumes. Operated by Tyson Tabbert and supported handily by fellow artists Shane Mahon, Sara McCoy and Laurel Weil, the company has built a solid reputation and following – especially amongst live action role play (LARP) enthusiasts. Tyson describes their clientele as “generous” and “passionate”, and while he’s had opportunities to work in the high-demand world that is prop and costume design for Hollywood films, he is still


Verne and H.G. Wells books. In a letter to a popular science fiction literary magazine (Locus), he exhorted his (and colleagues James Blaylock and Tim Powers) current and future works to be collectively standardized under a single moniker, and suggested the term Steampunk as somewhat of a whimsical and appropriate term.

Whimsical or not, the term stuck – and immediately not only gained a staunch foothold but an equally immediate, massive following. Soon, at fetish events across the United States in particular, costumes depicting characters from the old Robert Conrad television series The Wild, Wild West - incorporating elements of steam-powered Victorian-style, ingenious devices with the romantic (yet harsh) backdrop of the old American frontier – began to make startling, appreciated and permanent impressions. It has been said that the relatively poorly-received 1999 feature film version of the 1960′s television series was the first contemporary motion picture dedicated completely to the Steampunk design element, and has since been followed in turn by other efforts such as The League of Extraordinary GentlemenVan Helsing and The Golden Compass. An earlier, nearly-forgotten film, The City of Lost Children and an even earlier, brilliant Terry Gilliam effort called Brazil could also certainly lay claim to being the true genesis, in celluloid form, of the visual

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(Toronto, Ontario, Canada) - Nearly every youngster growing up in the new media

Infernal Devices: Rise of the Steampunk Age

age has been exposed, through required educational novel reading assignments or merely for literary enjoyment alone, to the fantastic works of the immortal Jules Verne and the engrossing story-weaving of H.G. Wells.From Verne’s amazing Nautilus of Captain Nemo to Well’s diabolically efficient tripod killing machines in The War of the Worlds, the technology of what has become known in modern parlance as pioneering examples of Victorian Steampunk has captivated and enthralled many with an appreciation for the true melding of art, design and “biomechanical” function.

The term Steampunk was at first used as a tongue-in-cheek variant of the popular 1980′s-period Cyberpunk era. Aficionados and their over-the-top, technologically-inspired jewelry, clothing and furniture designs were in large part inspired by the apocalyptic and sinister look and feel of certain films such as the Terminator series and perhaps even more-so by Swiss artist H.R. Giger and his extremely popular Necromonicon and Alien artwork. A pop-culture American author by the name of K.W. Jeter seems to have been the first to actually coin the term, who was trying to find a general term to describe the speculative, retro-technology so prevalent in the Jules