Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Welcome to River Otter Widget Studios! The home of Michigan steampunk artist Jon Gosling. We are here to bring you relics of a past that never was..A place of what if's and curiosities, where imagination rules over practicality. "So glad you have found us" says the river otter sitting at his gear covered workbench. His fuzzy paw is holding up a monocle with an ornate silver fish handle to his eye, as he watches you enter the shop. "Stay for a spell"he says as he pours you hot Chai tea......
The Brass Age: An Introduction to Steampunk Art
Steampunk art to me is the cornerstone to the genre itself, be it mechanical lamps or gear encrusted watches, neo victorian clothes, or leather goggles that are pieced together by people whose hands embrace the past while a monocled eye looks toward the future. Steampunk (for those who are new to this style) is the ultimate what if. For example, What if there had been computers in the 1880's? What would they have looked like? Something like this is what many envision http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Steamtop.jpg Many artists combine the old and new, So you may see flash drives that are covered in antiqued brass and copper, or as one artist that goes by Datamancer (and is quite well known in the steampunk world) does, tears apart modern computers and keyboards and makes them look as though they are relics from an age long gone by. Over time I will be featuring artists that I feel are helping to define the genre through their art, and adding fun content so you don't get bored and leave me lonley...
Steampunk has always kind of been with me since I have been creating though at first I didn't know it had a name. I lived in FL for 20 years and growing up near an defunct drive in theater was probably where my love of rust began lol. There were these large I-beams that were lying in a heap,just massive with holes the size of dinner plates all the way down them. I used to pretend they were part of a space station and crawl between and underneath to get out of the sun. I distinctly remember the even coating of brown rust all over and tracing my fingers down the beads of welding. As I grew older I became enthralled with the inner workings of things. No clock or functioning toy lasted very long as I always wanted to see how it worked. I believe these to be some of the catalysts for my art now, along with many hours watching my grand mother's collection of VHS tapes. The Time Machine (the circa 1960 version) and Journey to the Center of the Earth were a couple of my favs that really introduced me to the genre without knowing it. Well many years past my childhood and well after I had moved to Michigan, the decay of the city of Detroit kept reminding me of some of those early memories. It's a bad thing I know for the city to be in such disrepair, but it's also very beautiful, haunting even. The windowless brick buildings that were built in the late 1800's are my fav. A number of years ago I stumbled across a website devoted to Steampunk gadgets, and being very much the tinkerer myself I was hooked, I have been into art for many years and am good at drawing ( especially wildlife) and a decent woodcarver, so art is nothing new to me, but this...this was something different. I get a distinct feeling of satisfaction when I complete a piece, and knowing that a lot of the parts I use are recycled materials makes it that much more rewarding, the satisfaction I get from breathing new life to something considered junk to most, a bolt, an air valve, simple industrial items, overlooked by most, now on display for all to take notice.
A Little About Me
I am a Detroit based Steampunk artist that specializes in functional Steampunk art, my lamps have been featured on the front pages of Cephalopod Tea Party and Etsy. I am the Guildmaster for Steampunk Artists of Artfire, and a proud member of the Etsy Steamteam. I work with many different materials and consider myself a mixed media/found object artist. Many of my creations incorporate recycled items that used to have another pupose. I believe that if we can keep it out of the landfill, and breathe new life into an object, than we have done our part as responible human beings. I love animals especially River Otters! (Lutra Canadensis) My fav food is seafood and I HATE beets...I'm a beet hater..I also draw wildlife and dabble in carving wood. I also enjoy fishing in our beloved Detroit river for Walleye and Perch in the spring and summer months. If there's anything else you need to know about me for your stalking information, just ask!
Spiderbots: The Double Edge Sword of Airship Repair
Spiderbots were used to cast light in the tight spaces of an airship's engine and mechanical compartments. The automated, walking robot spiders could flip around in different compositions, aiming light as needed, particularly in tight areas where both working and holding a lightsource would be difficult if not impossible. Initially used by the Royal Fleet for many years with great success. However, Skypirates, being ever clever and dastardly, outfitted Spiderbots with explosives which wreaked havoc in the mechanical rooms of many a Royal Fleet airship.
Steampunk videogame leads to amazing art
Damnation is a new videogame in the shooter style of gameplay, developed by Blue Omega Entertainment, and published by Codemasters just released May 22 2009, for Microsoft Windows, Xbox360, and Playstation 3Set in an alternate planet earth, the early part of the twentieth century after the American Civil War has spanned over several decades, where steam replaces electricity. The game sees the protagonists fighting off a rich industrialist who wants to do away with both the Union and Confederate armies in one swift movement.The lead character named Hamilton Rourke leads a group of freedom fighters in an attempt to protect a Steampunk-cultured, war torn, industrialized America from a dictator.It features many Steampunk elements such as steam power replacing electricity. The game features an option to turn the gore on and off. Damnation has steam-powered vehicles which also have many acrobatic abilities, such as climbing up walls. Check out the official site here: DamnationIt sounds fun, and would be my choice of games right now if I had time to play them! There are some very cool contests running as promos for this game including a PC give away, the PC was built by steampunk artist, Jake of All Trades, This case mod is an amazing concept and design, check it out here on his Flicker page! Jake of All Trades Damnation PC I like the idea that a game has led to the creation of such an artistic marvel and he should be very proud of his work. :)