Review: The Art of Steampunk by Art Donovan

The Art of Steampunk seeks to celebrate the world of Steampunk: a world filled with beauty and innovation.  A world in which steam power and technology intertwine to create machines that are not only functional and practical, but unique and striking.

Inside, you will find the fantastical and stunning artwork of Steampunk artists from around the world.  The 17 artists featured on these pages, among the frontrunners of the Steampunk genre, have had their work displayed at an exhibition at The Museum of History of Science at the University of Oxford, UK and have attracted the media attention of BoingBoing, one of the world’s largest blogs. Their artwork consists of everything from clocks and watches to light fixtures and jewelry, but every piece demonstrates hours of painstaking work and devotion from its creator.  You will find that the artists themselves are just as unique and colorful as their masterpieces.  Fully embracing Steampunk ideology, many have adopted a Victorian alter ego—a mad scientist persona to match the complicated intricacies of their artwork.


I feel it’s safe to say that The Art of Steampunk is awesome. Sure, I love Steampunk, but that doesn’t mean someone who has no idea what Steampunk is, or a newbie to the culture, can’t enjoy it.

During late 2009 to early 2010 at The Museum of The History of Science (at The University of Oxford, UK) the first museum exhibition of Steampunk was held and eventually The Art of Steampunk was born. The Art of Steampunk is a showcase of what was at the exhibition with a set of photographs showing the beautiful and inventive work of the artists. It’s a great book for those who couldn’t make it to this exhibition, but wished to.

The Art of Steampunk begins with introductions to the author, to what the book is about, a section explaining what Steampunk is that both veterans and newbies alike can enjoy and learn from, and then we’re introduced to the artists.

For someone who already loves Steampunk I can tell you that this book is not one of those slap dash type of collections which veterans and people immersed in the culture will be disappointed with, but you must keep in mind that first and foremost this is an art piece. The Art of Steampunk shares information, but it’s mainly an array of beautiful and inventive works created by people who love the subculture.

I can also say, that for someone who follows Steampunk artists already, naturally I came across a few I already knew of and follow, but I also have been introduced to others I didn’t know about. Granted I’m not living the culture, but I’m also not a newbie. As for newbies, there are a lot of great artists who you can discover in this collection, Daniel Proulx, Eric Freitas, Kris Kuksi, and Datamancer are only a few I love and recommend.

I read The Art of Steampunk in less than half an hour, but that was the first time, to make sure I soaked up all the information it presented. Since then I’ve looked through it more than once, but taken my time, because this is a collection that should be perused at leisure and something that you can also come back to again and again, while still appreciating it. The creations are gorgeous, from transforming modern day technology to fashion, and The Art of Steampunk is definitely a collector’s piece.

  • Genre: Non Fiction – Art
  • Demographic: Steampunk and Art Appreciators
  • Rating Out of Five: 5
  • Format: eBook provided by NetGalley
  • Find At: The Book Depository
  • Published: 1st of August 2011

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