Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured in Steampunk Graphics

Hello all
I've just received my advance copy of Steampunk Graphics from Graffito. It's a beautifully art directed and edited book full of new Steampunk art from many of the movements well known artists. I had the honor of being invited to write the forward in the book as well as having a number of my pieces of art featured. Here's the cover art and below I've posted the forward. I hope some of you will pick it up and enjoy its content.
Cheers, Kevin

Cover of Steampunk Graphics


The book's forward:

There is no past that lies beyond the reach of steampunk’s capacity to create alternative histories that reveal tomorrow’s possibilities, shaped by the rogue maker within us all.”
Steampunk... the word conjures up fine gentlemen and cultured ladies, captains of 
the air,
 rascally rogues and streetwise waifs, adorned in Victorian or Western garb, outfitted with all manner of Jules Vernesque contraptions. Gears abound, steam hisses, technology
that may be part paranormal, part science-fiction, lies embedded in brass and leather right alongside pistols, swords and walking sticks.
For the general public, discovering steampunk may feel like a fresh concept, but the truth of the matter is that steampunk has long since arrived. What began as a movement in speculative literary fiction has now established itself as a broad, persistent, artistic subculture, regularly feeding and inspiring worldwide creative participation. For decades now, its mechanical, neo- Victorian, sometimes post-apocalyptic aesthetic has heavily influenced major motion pictures such as Sherlock Holmes, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Hellboy, and has seen a generation of gamers grow up on retro-futuristic classics like the Final Fantasy and Bioshock series.
Steampunk has its own legions of followers and participants ranging from the curious to the joyously committed makers and movers of the movement for whom grand adventure and artistic freedom is to be found in reimagining things that others have discarded – gadgets, technologies, ideas. If you’ve ever attended a steampunk event you’ll have found individuals of every type and from every walk of life you might imagine – all greeting each other in crinolines and goggles of their own design, toting their own hand-crafted ray guns and clockwork contraptions.These steampunks are deeply engaged in their own personal expression of a living narrative and delighted by the pure inventiveness swirling around them. It’s Cosplay meets Maker Faire, yet so much more.
Perhaps it’s this flurry of creativity and imagination that has caused designers like Prada to jump on the steampunk bandwagon, and catapult its aesthetic into the stratosphere of high fashion, and, by extension, the global mass market. For some, there is concern that IBM’s 2014 announcement that steampunk would be the world’s Next Big Trend may have sounded the brassy death knell for a beloved subculture, taking its ticking heart and cheapening it through mass market usage with little meaning or commitment to its underlying ethos.
As with any artistic movement born on the fringes, authenticity is critical. However, steampunk’s strength and armour lies in the siren song it sings to the maker within us all.
That call is the promise of the power of continually shifting artistic remix and, by definition, its soul belongs to each individual artist, not to a school or organization. It borders on being an ideology, not a format or defined rule-set. Steampunk is far more resilient and indestructible as a result. For those of us who have found that promise to be true, steampunk is not about an aesthetic subculture that needs protecting from posers, hipsters, bad movies and memes. It’s about the next possibility: ideas and outcomes that our creativity brings to life, often leap- frogging on the shoulders of work others are contributing to the movement, as well as up- cycling what mass culture contributes, rather than being diluted by its participation.
Steampunk’s graphic art is an excellent example of this constant evolution that is baked into
the DNA of the movement, demonstrating the genre’s expanding scope through innumerable, newly imagined worlds.This is graphic art which more often than not has a visual and conceptual mechanicity. Infused into steampunk’s nature is an industrial quality brought to life by industrious minds. Its affinity for the Victorian era is not accidental. The late 1800s was a time when men’s minds thrilled with the notion that the unknown was knowable, and theories modelled on emerging industrial knowledge imagined the universe, large and small, to have a clockwork nature. Today, we have smooth boxes that don’t reveal their workings and in a sense, steampunk contains a rebellion against hidden function and agendas. In a digital age, it delights in exposing the mechanisms that run our world, or the world that may have been, based on our imaginings of a different future for our past.
With so many living edges to the art and ideas that are called ‘steampunk’, there’s often robust and passionate debate within the community over what is steampunk and what isn’t. Is ‘real’ steampunk strictly neo-Victorian, and all other notions of alternate histories faded copies?
Or is steampunk an artistic recombinant superpower, free to be evolved and redefined on an individual basis? Across all the various formats, and categories of expression, it is within the world of fantasy art that steampunk’s expansion is perhaps the most nuanced and self-aware. Originally, the ‘punk’ in steampunk was meant to identify a group of writers or ‘punks’ who were generally creating the steam-era speculative fiction that became the energy and ideas that drove the movement. Now, the term ‘punk’ has evolved to become an alternative technology modifier, applied to ages or genres of art and fiction, limited only by the imagination of the artist. Dieselpunk, saddlepunk, vampunk, cinopunk – on and on. Some of these explorations have brief moments of interest and then fade into the background of the bubbling explorations of the broader steampunk movement. Others, dieselpunk for example, stabilize and come to represent a growing and distinct variation on the original movement’s core.
It is steampunk, though, that continues to undergo constant expansion and metamorphosis, like a visual meme being altered and co-opted over and over through the connected sociosphere. What began as a movement in speculative fiction has enthusiastically grown and expanded
into virtually every major form of creative expression, with constantly changing sub-genres appearing almost monthly. The artists in Steampunk Graphics reveal the sheer wealth of aesthetics that the visual arts aspects of the movement today encompass, yet all, somehow, remain viscerally connected to steampunk’s core.
Kevin Mowrer, Providence, Rhode Island.


Friday, August 23, 2013

Steampunk Assassin's Medallion Prototype!

Hi All
I just got the parts back from the rapid prototype service for the assassin's medal from the design of the order of the Aether Assassin's. It's like Christmas! I love when prototype parts show up in the mail and they simply snap together just the way you designed them.

I was going to buff out the slight stepping from the metal sintering process but I decided I liked the rougher industrial quality it gives the medallion.

I have designs I'm completing now for the ribbon pins that attach high on the vest collar to suspend this large medallion just over a cravat. I've included a screen shots of that design before I send it out for prototype. Can't wait to get those and assemble the whole thing. the latin on the collar pins reads "only the deserving when there is a life owed." The assassins in the book don't just take jobs for hire. The target person has to be someone deserving of being ended. This sets up an interesting secret organization that has to have a doctrine and must do excruciating sleuthing work to insure they aren't assassinating an innocent.

I used an oil stain on the plastic and it worked quite well to give that aged ivory look to the carved skull.

I'm also working on a design for the cane handle for an aether assassin as well, all from the world of my book.

Having fun bringing it to life as I write.
Cheers to all, Kevin


Steampunk assassin's medallion

Steampunk assassin's medallion


Steampunk assassin medal

Steampunk assassin collar pin

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Vyctor Sunglasses Steampunk

I've just gotten back the first of the metal prototype parts for the collar bars and Cravat bar from my last post and I'll be posting those in progress shortly. While that was underway, I've been designing the glasses for my main character Vyctor. I wanted them to be fully functional as I intend to also prototype these for myself.

The temple angle, lens width, ear hook location and nose pads are all functionally adjustable. There's also two small wire bales at the outside of each lens rim for attaching the tooled leather side screens I'm also making. Very practical and I like the way the function gives the glasses the look I wanted.  The miniature thumbscrews at the brow adjustment and the star cinch at the temple are details that dish up the working aesthetic I like. Too often I see glued on gears and no function and that's nice for a collage approach but not what I want from my art and design. I especially wanted these to be nicely industrial, so they are masculine, with a touch of victorian brass work.

I'm researching some of the high detail metal rapid prototyping processes to get the fine detail in the design without the typical striping. I've found some that do medical equipment prototypes using laser sintering and it's remarkable. We'll have to see what the price is...

I've sent these out to a few friends to look at and already have requests for purchasing some pairs.
Now all I have to do is source the flat (authentically victorian with no curvature) precision ground polarized lenses.

Because the design allows for the lower half of the rim pivots down once you open the capture screw on the outside, I can, in theory, have interchangeable lenses (mirrored lenses, dark lenses, clear lenses).

Vyctor Steampunk Sunglass design front view
Vyctor Steampunk Sunglass design side view



Monday, July 8, 2013

Making cosplay jewelry for steampunk costume

Hi All
While continuing to work on Frahnknshtyne, I am also working on doing a really custom costume for the steampunk events this coming year. I decided to stay in the visual themes of the world I've been building and use my ability to design and model in 3D to get some of the hard bits rapid prototyped in metal and other materials. For my character I've decided to be a member of the secret society of Aether Assassins. Lacette from my story is one herself.
I've started by designing and modeling both the high collar bars and the cravat bar as well. I've always loved the machine-like decorative quality of military medals so I've used that to inspire me. Here's a few shots of the parts. I'll post the actual pieces once I've gotten them back and gold plated the right parts and assemble them.

Steampunk cravat bar 1
Steampunk cravat bar 2

Steampunk cravat bar 3

Steampunk cravat bar 4

steampunk collar bars

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The steampunk flying palace

Hello Friends
Today I'm posting a sneak peek of a building that figures prominently in the story. I can't give away it's role nor any of it's many secrets but I really wanted to share the broader view of it with you. As you can see, it's a grand structure that flies aloft with the help of four vertically oriented airship bodies. I can just imagine the view from up this high! The only thing I can tell you about it without giving away any story spoilers is that it is a secret and is one-of-a-kind.
Enjoy and cheers, Kevin

Steampunk flying palace
PS - forgive the constant use of "steampunk" in post titles and image titles. It's one of the unfortunate realities of adhering to search engine optimization so that people can find the work during searches.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Steampunk Storm Trooper!

I just had to finish the trio. I tend to be a bit obsessive in terms of realizing something I find inspiring and doing Star Wars inspired helmets in steampunk style has been a total blast. It just needed the storm trooper helmet to finish off the trio.
Oddly, I found this one the most challenging to do. I didn't want to just push parts into one another from a library of pre-existing bits. I wanted it to feel like heavy castings mixed with internal mech that is suggested on the outside. Doing the giant monacle/lens was the idea of Chris, my eldest son. I really liked adding the assymetry. It not only helped to make it unusual but it solidly brought the whole Gestalt into the world of steampunk.
I hope you enjoy. check out The Vader and Boba Fett inspired helmets as well.
Cheers, Kev

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Steampunk Stormtrooper

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Steampunk Boba Fett

Well, I just couldn't do Darth without doing Boba. In some ways, he's even more fun because the forms are more severe. I haven't yet "dirtied" him up as a proper Boba should be but thought I'd share where it is now. He was a one day project.
I've just added a closer detail shot of the antennae set up on the side of the helmet from some email questions I've been getting. Thanks all for the great comments and encouragement. The response and traffic has been way past what I imagined.
Enjoy and cheers, Kevin

Steampunk Boba Fett

Steampunk Boba Fett


Steampunk Boba Fett

Steampunk Boba Fett

Steampunk Boba Fett

Steampunk Bobba Fett helmet detail

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Steampunk Darth Vader

So, My sons and I enjoy watching Star Wars a great deal. I was taking in episode #4 (the first movie) and had this idea for another take on Darth Vader. I've already done one sketch of him on the blog earlier but this time I wanted to spend time on the leather work and make the eyes much more watchworks and important. There's something so very prussian about his design anyway so leaning into that was fun. I didn't want to do the typical spike on the helmet and opted for a central metal spine instead. I've always enjoyed seeing the various takes on a Steampunk Darth Vader so what's one more...
Cheers, Kevin

PS - I've just added an additional shot with more dramatic colored lighting...just cause it makes him more ominous!

Steampunk Darth Vader


Steampunk Darth Vader


Steampunk Darth Vader

Steampunk Darth Vader

Steampunk Darth Vader

Steampunk Darth Vader

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Colonel

Just for fun and to loosen up I did a digital speed sculpt this morning of this animated character I've had in my head. It's not for Frahnknshtyne but then one must change up the diet once in a while to stay fresh. This character is "The Colonel" also known as Colonel Brumphry T. Trenchman. He's long on stiff upper lip and short on flexibility. He came up through the ranks as a drill sergeant and saved the generals dog one day resulting in a lovely promotion. (I always have to think about story before drawing or sculpting, even when doing it just for fun).
He's been sculpted in zbrush. I love realism but I also love true carricature. I think it forces one to boil out the elements that aren't revealing the characters.
Enjoy and cheers for now, Kevin

Steampunk Colonel Trenchman front view

Steampunk Colonel Trenchman lft 3/4 view

Steampunk Colonel Trenchman left side view

Steampunk Colonel Trenchman rt 3/4 view

Steampunk Colonel Trenchman rt side view


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Steampunk Motorcycle 3D completed!

Here it is. The Gyrostator with all the elements on it. I've added the electricals, the hand brakes, the quilted seat and seat suspension and lots more. The drive is complete as well. Now I want to drive it! I've posted a number of angles on it to get a good sense of the form and details.
Cheers for now, Kevin

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator

Steampunk Motorcycle Gyrostator