Published in Life as a Human, May 2017. (link)
Alternative future is a favorite sub-genre of Science Fiction&Fantasy forms of art. Cyberpunk, Atompunk, Dieselpunk and others generally define the inspired era, reflecting the level of technological advance. However, none of them has reached the popularity of Steampunk, the fantasy based on industrial revolution and Victorian era.
I have personally fell in love with Steampunk several years ago and I am doing Steampunk designs for the past two years (some examples around this article). It started as a hobby, but now I am occasionally selling my stuff and dreaming of doing this as a whole-time job.
What is so interesting about Steampunk? I will share my personal thoughts here, which, I believe, are shared by many other Steampunk enthusiasts.
a revolutıon so understandable
First the technological perspective. The Industrial Revolution, as the name suggests, was an unprecented big step for the mankind, laying the first stones on the way to mass production. The major invention leading all was the steam engine, a much more majestic power than those of humans and domesticated animals. The use of steam power (and later electrity) enabled us to build machines of enormous sizes. 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 only some cogs and some brass rods, which look like pipes, in a nice setting is enough for a Steampunk look. In fact, if you put 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 these machines meant 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 craftmanship, mechanically or aestheticallly.
Putting all together, the Industrial Revolution symbolizes the equilibrium point for me, during the ages long transition of production from human to machines.
a fascınatıng look
Besides its’ technological aspect, Steampunk is also visually very alluring. Looking from the perspective of the color theory, copper and brass seamlessly fit with the brownish atmosphere of Steampunk, which is due to all the industrial smoke. Moreover, when they shine, they create wonderful contrast with 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 and even move across the Atlantic, to have a Wild West version of Steampunk clothes.
(My wife and me, dressed in Steampunk for Helloween 2016)
Steampunk creates a fantasy world of very cool clad men and women, living in the time of a great but understandable technology. That’s the magic of Steampunk for me and, as I’ve told earlier, for many others.