Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism


Those who were wishing a few years ago that steampunk would crawl into a hole and quietly die must be gnashing their teeth at the way the sub-genre continues to flourish. (See Pinterest for examples from the increasingly wild world of steampunk fashion.) If anyone reading this is visiting Seoul in the next couple of months—or even living there—then they’ll find some of my book covers on display at Artcenter IDA. Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism is a look at the wide range of steampunk aesthetics, from graphic works to three-dimensional constructions, clothing, and so on. I’d like to credit the promotional design above but I’m not sure who’s responsible. Good type design whoever it was.


Five of my covers are on display, including the three I’ve done for KW Jeter’s novels. Mr Jeter, as mentioned before, is the man who first coined the term “steampunk” in the 1980s. This isn’t the first time my artwork has appeared in South Korea—when I was painting cards for Magic: The Gathering in the 1990s there were Korean editions printed—but it is the first time anything of mine has been exhibited there. The exhibition runs to mid-May.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Steampunk Calendar
Words and pictures
Nathanial Krill at the Time Node
Fiendish Schemes
Ghosts in Gaslight, Monsters in Steam
Steampunk Revolution
The Bookman Histories
Aether Cola
Crafting steampunk illustrations
SteamPunk Magazine
Morlocks, airships and curious cabinets
The Steampunk Bible
Steampunk Reloaded
Steampunk overloaded!
More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos
Steampunk Redux
Steampunk framed
Steampunk Horror Shortcuts

3 thoughts on “Steampunk: The Art of Victorian Futurism”

  1. I don’t wish it would die at all. I simply wish it weren’t so damn popular, as very nice works by those who came before who knew what they were doing are having their works rebooted by young naive hipsters with corporate-backing since steampunk and other sub-genres that were once safely at the fringes, are now lucrative businesses in this age of empty remakes.

  2. The co-option is inevitable since it’s such a distinct aesthetic, one that’s very easy to imitate in a superficial manner. One thing I mentioned in the piece I wrote for Eye magazine was that it’s the most widespread and immediately recognisable aesthetic of the present moment, whether you know its origins or not. That makes it attractive to commercial interests.

  3. heh, humanity can’t help but be polarized I suppose. What’s a golden age for one demographic is poisonous for another. Today well, you have your Vandermeers and your Brittons in the English speaking world at least, but by and large, fiction and movies don’t interest me much for the most part anymore. On the other hand, painting and music are vibrant as ever in my opinion, one simply has to delve beneath the surface to access the gold so to speak.

    I really hope that Tangiers game is something special but I’ll try not to think on that too much. Thief was stealth as well, and owed very much to steampunk, cyberpunk, the the occult. This reboot they did recently was utter nonsense and most of those already familiar with the material agree with this sentiment.

    I will say this, fashion has really become more interesting than its ever been with the mainstreaming of many of these once fringier arenas. Here’s another tumblr that I’ve come across that’s not strictly steampunk, probably more at modern-primitivism, but still indicative of widening commercial influence.

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