Defending my Steampunk Street Cred

First let me say that this post is not intended to defend steampunk as an aesthetic or movement or philosophy. There are ample other places online to debate that.

This post is simply a statement about my "steampunk" "dieselpunk" figurines. Which some people are annoyed by.

I like steampunk. I like dieselpunk. They are both super rad.

As an artist I'm obliged to use words to describe my art. I must do this because it's the only way to get Google to acknowledge my website, and send compatible interests my way. I like to share my art. It's also my business, so I like very much when the sharing of my art results in a sale. Because then I can buy some noodles, and eat them. And noodles are good.

But there is a problem with this scheme of noodle procurement. When you use words to describe something, you run the risk of that word transforming from a simple descriptor, into a LABEL. Many words have become labels. Goth, Steampunk, Dieselpunk, NewBrow, LowBrow, Pop Surrealism, Geek …. blah blah blah, the list goes on.

Labels are rather annoying. Labels often have clouds of angry people swirling about them, shouting loudly and waving flags, trying to defend some kind of imaginary ground. I'm not interested in labels. I prefer words. Well actually, I prefer pencils and paint even over words.

So this brings us to the point.

I draw and paint. I have many many influences in my work. (Lots of them are super rad. I'll blog about that later.) A few years ago I attracted the labels "fantasy art" and "fairy art". More recently I attracted the labels "steampunk art" and "dieselpunk art". These are all fine. Personally I don't see myself as any "X" artist. I'm just Brigid. Who likes to draw and paint and really enjoys painting metal bits, wood, cracks, sad eyes, wingy things and keys. I also paint flowers, but I don't really enjoy painting flowers. Yet I paint them still. Huh.

But I digress…. Part of my business is that I do concept art for manufacturers. Sometimes I draw something totally new for the company, other times they work with images I already have. They say "We need something steampunk, people like steampunk!" And I show them my mecha sad dolls with wings on, and missing limbs, and they say "Is that steampunk? I don't see any Cogs?!" And I smack my head against the desk and tell them, that despite the shocking lack of cogs, many people who enjoy steampunk stuff, like these things I draw.

So they take the designs, and make pretty things from the designs, and they give me some money, and I buy noodles.

The company that buys these designs and makes these products is not evil. I would not work with them if they were evil. Believe me, I've met evil in the business world. It had frizzy hair and wore too much make up and Jinkies am I glad that's over.

The movement of steampunk is about self expression and definitely has a huge do-it-yourself aspect. It's about recycling and upcycling, and the beauty of a functional object, well made of warm, rich and classic materials. It's about the victorian's penchant for the glorious adornment of simple objects, and the engineering of fantastic things. It's about doing these things for yourself.

BUT, I have admired the works of steampunk artists and maker's and I have bought the things they made. I didn't make the goggles on my top hat, or my pocket watch, or the enchanting feather brooch I wear on my amazing leather vest. I didn't make any of these things. Other artists designed and made them. Just as I designed these statues, which were made by this wise company, who had the good sense and exquisite taste, to use my designs.

They are not a large company. Yes the items were made in a factory. One at a time, in small batches, all hand painted.

I am one artist, barely eeking out an income from my art. You are still supporting an independent artist when you buy these figurines. A portion of your money does go directly to me for noodle buying. And I ADORE you for it.

If you don't care for them, please don't purchase them. I will not be offended. But if you like my design, and you think it might look nice sitting on your mantle, please do buy it. And tell me, and let us be new best friends. Because any patron of independent artists, is in my small view of the world, a truly remarkable person. They are a person who appreciates things for the beauty inherent in them, and not for the labels by which they are defined.

Thank you all!