Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Steampunk Musings: The True Appeal of Steampunk

Steampunk Desktop by Jake Von Slatt
Last week I spent quite a bit of time researching the steampunk aesthetic while hunting for interesting artists to feature here on the TDC blog. I found some amazing artwork and a lot of beautiful jewelry, but the pieces that stood out to me--the pieces that originally drew me to steampunk--are the ones that happen to serve a purpose other than looking good.

The piece that drew me into the world of steampunk


The first steampunk piece I ever saw was a steampunk keyboard much like the one shown above. As a writer, I've always been drawn to "old school" methods of writing. The idea of writing with quill and ink lends a romantic quality to writing lost when you're on a computer, and the mechanical clicking of a typewriter is almost meditative when you're on a roll.

On my journeys through the internet I've found many different steampunk keyboards, each with their own unique twist. Some models simply replace their modern keyboard keys with typewriter keys and leave it at that. Others replace the entire keyboard frame with a brass one. These brass frames are often engraved and can be quite expensive.

The true appeal of steampunk

Steampunk as a genre is all about what the Victorian era would look like with all kinds of crazy steam powered gadgets. As an aesthetic, steampunk is all about creating functional technology using materials readily available during the Victorian era.

At first, I wasn't drawn to steampunk by the great stories. I was drawn in by the potential for functional art, the many different pieces of technology that can be modified to fit the steampunk aesthetic. The more I explore, the more I'm amazed by the creativity of steampunk artists.

But steampunk isn't just about the art. There's an incredibly friendly culture built around it, along with many great novels and a massive amount of short fiction. Oh, and if you pay attention you'll notice a steampunk influence in many different movies and even some video games.

The truly amazing thing about steampunk is the endless possibilities. There are dozens of steampunk communities with different activity levels both online and offline. Steampunk events are held all over the world every year--there's actually a free steampunk street fair held every summer in my city, along with several steampunk groups hosting their own events.

Between the wealth of steampunk fiction, the number of steampunk events and the many different online steampunk groups, you have almost endless opportunities to make friends, discover amazing artists and authors, and even make interesting things yourself.

How deep into the steampunk world would you like to travel? Let me know in the comments below!