Thursday, February 16, 2012

Art Challenge: Japan

In my opinion Japan is the epitome of a steampunk country- once they got ahold of their first pieces of steam and industrial technology, they put their culture of passionate practice to work and in a few short decade exploded into a superpower. While much of the traditional culture fell by the wayside, they still went forth into the modern world with a style all their own. What do you see when you think steampunk Japan? Well, let's see what this week's artists envisioned from the Land of the Rising Sun.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

CYL: Kilty as Charged: Folk Dress of the British Isles

A badass looking granny in Welsh costume c. 1905 (Linda Jean)

Failte! I know what some of you are thinking: Britain? Isn't this the very same country that was the powerhouse behind the largest imperial force during the 19th century? Perhaps the most mainstream and stereotypical representation of the era that most steampunks base their outfits, prose, and characters off of?


Yep it is. But the three-piece ditto suits and bustle dresses weren't everybody's traditional clothing. Even in the British Isles, there were cultural minorities with their own specific modes of dress that were still being used- even in the heady era of the empire. Let's take a look at the Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and perhaps a quirky local culture or two!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Art Challenge: The Maghreb

(Pendersleigh and Sons cartography)

Turns out when you announce that the weekly art challenge is the 19th century Maghreb, you get a lot of colorful images of pretty Berber ladies. Frankly, I'm overjoyed- because you'll find in these images a lot of research into the garments and embellishments of the Amazigh culture and despite the stereotypical allure, no exposed midriffs. This week's challenge results also go to show that it doesn't all have to be brown and earth-tones to be steampunk. Let's have a look!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Art Challenge: India

India c. 1857
Holy crow, our first week of the Art Challenge couldn't have gone better, in my opinion (the fact that we had not only more than one submission, but seven on the premiere edition makes me giddy as pie). For this and the next few weeks, the challenges are going to be fairly straightforward- a large or well-known culture to make it easier for researching and brainstorming, not saying that conceptualizing multicultural or any steampunk is by any means simple. Still, I don't plan on throwing any curveballs (like Brittany or Fiji) for a while yet.

India was chosen not only because several people requested it, but  it's powerful creative appeal (also I'm reading the Mahabarita for class...). Think of India and NOT have something very unique pop into your head- whether it be elephants, grand rajas, chai tea, sumptuous or millennia-old civilizations. Let's see what some very talented artists dreamed up:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New feature: Weekly Art Challenge

A Qing/Manchu-1860s inspired wardrobe design I did last year.

While researching and writing for the blog helps me a great deal in my own academic and artistic endeavors, what I really strive for is a greater appreciation for global themes in steampunk. Plus, I want to see how other artists apply the things they see here and elsewhere in their own work. So, we're going to start a new feature.

Concurrently, with the offiicial facebook page, MfS:tST will be issuing a weekly art challenge. Every Wednesday, a theme will be announced: perhaps a character trope, a geographic region, a culture, maybe even a piece of literature. Anyone who wants to participate will have until Wednesday morning to create a piece of steampunk or retro-futuristic art in keeping with the theme and submit a link. Wednesday evening, I'll gather up the links, post them on the blog, and announce the next week's theme.

What's welcome? Well, art! It could be 2d or 3d, digital or traditional media, a short story, a poem, a design draft- anything you want. I just request the following:

THE RULES (and requisite fine print)
-You must do some research for your pieces. A. This will show you some mind-blowing details and facts you can integrate. B. ....well, do you read this blog?
Research recommendations: University libraries and collections (many of which can be found online and free of charge), scholarly works (I recommend google scholar if you don't have access to things like JSTOR), museums, and of course- books!
- If you're taking a photograph of your piece (such as costumery/fiber arts, jewelry, or sculpture), please make it of a decent quality.
-Poetry or short stories should be preferably linked to something like livejournal, deviantart, or a blog like blogger/wordpress to avoid clutter.
-Watermarks are completely acceptable. Rights to the artwork will be kept by their creators and will not be used without their express permission. All imaged and links will be credited and can be linked to a personal website or gallery if desired.
-I (Miss Kagashi) have a right not to post particular pieces if I feel that they are inappropriate, such as cases of: Exceptionally graphic violence, blatant insensitivity or ignorance about the culture represented, or exploitative nudity. I'm no puritan by any means, but this isn't a porn site... other than costume porn, maybe.
-This is NOT A CONTEST. It costs nothing to submit your art, however I am not offering prizes or payout for submissions (except maybe some free publicity on the blog and facebook page).
-Have fun, be creative, and stretch your artistic wings!

Remember: be sure to watch and check the Multiculturalism for Steampunk facebook page for more information and the week's them. Happy creating, world travelers!