Book Review – The Art of Steampunk by Art Donovan

Title: The Art of Steampunk
SubTitle: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenius Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement
 Author: Art Donovan
Fox Chapel Publishing
Pub Date: 08/01/2011  :
NONFICTION – ADULT: Arts & Recreation:

Steampunk novels are hitting our shelves in big numbers these days,  so if you’d like to know more about  Steampunk  and where it comes from., this book will fill you in  and provide you with delightful visions to help flesh out your imagination when you read a Steampunk novel. From whimsical to elegant, I loved all the artworks in this book. It made me wish I’d never thrown away the old valve radio my parents had and inspired me to seek out any cog in my workshop and see what I could do with it.

by Eric Freitas

Among other things, the author tells us that …

‘Steam punk is Victorian science fiction. Here ‘Victorian’ is not meant to depict a specific culture but rather references a time period and aesthetic … Steam punk uses the existing technology and structure [of the time] to imagine an even more advanced nineteenth century, often complete with Victorian-inspired wonders like steampowered aircraft and mechanical computers….’

by Jos de Vink

‘The line between Steampunk and period Victorian is extremely narrow and often the two are indistinguishable. They are separated only by Steampunk’s status as science fiction, albeit heavily inspired by the historical facts of the Victorian period…. Steampunk becomes the perfect blending of alternate history and science fiction.’

by Stephane Halleux

‘The steam part of Steampunk refers to a world in which steam power is both dominant and prolific.’ The punk part of Steampunk is a ‘tongue-in-cheek reference to cyber-punk rather than a reference to the punk subculture… a Steampunk equivalent to twentieth century punk can be found in nineteenth century counterculture groups raging from Luddites to utopians to hooligans. Add a dash of Victorian street culture and a sprinkling of ragtime and Steampunk ‘punk’ comes into focus.’

Not from the book

Gears are the key icon of the genre as well as it related pistons and flywheels. Goggles are often seen in the genre but only when useful, not as a fashion statement. Fashion wise the Steampunk genre allows people to ‘sample and even combine a range of clothing and accessories from across the nineteenth century world.…a world where fashion is tailored to the individual, goods are made to last and machinery is still regarded as a thing of visual majesty.’

Not from the book

I highly recommend this book for everyone, but especially for fans of Steampunk. It’s a perfect gift for your parents if you want them to understand why you’re wearing old flying goggles on your pushbike. Five stars.

Not from the book

Book Blurb.

The Art of Steampunk seeks to celebrate the world of Steampunk: a world filled with beauty and innovation.  A world in which steam power and technology intertwine to create machines that are not only functional and practical, but unique and striking.  

Inside, you will find the fantastical and stunning artwork of Steampunk artists from around the world.  The 17 artists featured on these pages, among the frontrunners of the Steampunk genre, have had their work displayed at an exhibition at The Museum of History of Science at the University of Oxford, UK and have attracted the media attention of BoingBoing, one of the world’s largest blogs.  Their artwork consists of everything from clocks and watches to light fixtures and jewelry, but every piece demonstrates hours of painstaking work and devotion from its creator.  You will find that the artists themselves are just as unique and colorful as their masterpieces.  Fully embracing Steampunk ideology, many have adopted a Victorian alter ego—a mad scientist persona to match the complicated intricacies of their artwork.

 The Art of Steampunk brings the vision of the Steampunk artist alive on the page, providing a unique insight into the captivating and dynamic world of a vastly underground genre.

Some more works by my favourite artists featured in the book – these aren’t necessarily  the images in the book

by Kris Kuksi

by Amanda Scrivener

by Molly Freidrich

by Cliff Overton

by Daniel Proulx

For more about Steampunk

Not from the book

Not from the book

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