Art Donovan is the owner of Donovan Design, making handmade lighting fixtures for clients like Tiffany & Co, Bennetti Luxury Yachts and The Four Seasons Resorts. He is a contributor to the Steampunk Home blog and blogs at artdonovan.typepad.com/blog. Art Donovan was also the curator of the Steampunk Exhibition at Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford from 2009-2010. This book is a rare look at the exhibitors and their unique, fantastical designs.
Using their skills from such diverse careers and backgrounds such as artists to engineers, the 17 artists in this book define and display Steampunk as a lifestyle and medium. Using fine woods, metals and found artifacts; these artists make working and practical usable objects. For example; a fully functional computer, set in a wood casing, turned on by a skeleton key, with appropriate clicks as the key turns; defines the artistry. The attention to details and metalworking is unique to the craft. The designs may be Victorian but the inner workings are most modern. The Steampunk artistry is a look into the past with a vision for the future. Most, if not all of the artists adopt an alter-ego from Victorian times and live the character in full costumed array. Steampunk becomes a lifestyle for the artist, one fully displayed on these pages.
I really enjoyed this book. From the costumes, to the artifacts this book held my interest. I wanted to see and touch each design personally. This book allowed me to experience the art form visually while informing me of the entire lifestyle. Well written and photographed, this book is the definitive of the art form that is Steampunk.
When I first saw the listing for The Art of Steampunk on NetGalley, I thought to myself, well there's something that might interest my readers. After all, I read and review a fair amount in the steampunk genre. Featuring an art compilation of steampunk designs is only a logical next step, particularly since I'm an enormous fan of art books.
The Art of Steampunk compiles the work of seventeen artists whose creations were originally displayed at Oxford University's Museum of the History of Science during a steampunk exhibition. Art Donovan, the author, acted as the curator.
To be honest, there's not much for me to say about this book except wow. It's absolutely gorgeous, from the layouts, to the backgrounds, to the images themselves. Even the text is delightfully appropriate to the subject matter. Fox Chapel's production team has done an amazing job of presenting this collection in the most visually appealing way possible.
Of course, that wouldn't mean anything if the featured projects didn't live up to expectation. But oh, do they. These artists are truly talented. The objects they create are detailed and beautiful. But not only that-many of them are functional. Within these pages you'll find computers, watches, and light fixtures-even a rubber band launcher-all outfitted in steampunk style and completely usable.
I'd like to claim that I have a favorite piece from this book-or even a favorite artist. But the truth is, there's so much to enjoy, and so many remarkable creations, that I can't single out a particular one (or two or three). Though I do have a fondness for Daniel Proulx's brass insect sculptures and Ian Crichton's mp3 and camera cases, I would say that every artist in this collection has produced at least one thing that truly impresses me.
People who already enjoy steampunk will love flipping through this book and lingering over each lovely object. As for those who haven't been introduced to the genre before, I can't imagine that this book will fail to be intriguing. The aesthetics alone are well worth a few minutes of browsing, and should that be enough to make new readers ask "What is this?" they can flip to the steampunk primer at the beginning of the book.
The Art of Steampunk won't be released until August, which means that everyone has time to gather up a few dollars and shove them into a piggy bank. And you definitely should-it will be well worth it
I liked the layout of this art book. The opening was very informative. It gives the history of the steampunk movement; from written words to artwork and fashion inspired by them. My favorite was the artist section. From the clocks, jewelry, and modern technology to the less practical(my 6 yr old asked if Dali had created one of the pieces) each piece brought you further into the world of steampunk. There is a bio and examples of all seventeen artists that were part of the London exhibition. Some of the artists only got their bio and then one example of their work where others got 2-3 double pages. This was the only issue I had with the book.
Even reading this on my laptop the quality of the pictures and art was amazing and I look forward to adding this to our collection of art books.
This was the first book I received through netGalley, and this review is a bit overdue.
The Art of Steampunk is a collection of detailed, sharp images of engrossing steampunk devices and trinkets. It's a great cavalcade to watch and I devoured the book rather quickly even though I only saw it on my computer screen. NetGalley won't do justice for this book - I really hoped I would have had a hardcover or paperback version of it. I also downloaded it into my Kindle, but it's not readable on it, which is understandable, since it's mostly about the pictures.
The book is a collaboration from several artists. Some of them are rather bizarre and purely decorative in our world, but some of them would be useful design things to have if you ever wanted to make your home a steampunk haven.
For those who are not that familiar with what steampunk is there's an introduction for it by G.D. Falksen. He tells us what it is, where did it origin from, how is it associated with sci-fi, what is it with the steam and punk? It doesn't end there though, so the introduction to steampunk is quite an interesting read even for those who sleep with their goggles on.
The artist pages are filled with gorgeous pictures of the most intriguing things - even if you wouldn't read a word from the book, the pictures alone are worth it. One of the artists is Richard Nagy who most steampunk lovers probably know from the steampunkified laptop.
Recommendations and rating
I recommend this book for everyone interested in steampunk. Great for a beginner and a great addition for your collection even if you live in a zeppelin.
Synopsis: 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.
Review: An absolutely gorgeous introduction to Steampunk for those just getting into it. Also, if you're looking for costuming or jewelry ideas, or just art ideas in general, this is a really good source for those ideas. Just looking at some of these pieces made me drool a little.
Welcome to the Steampunk movement. Educate yourself with this book, because it's the best non-fiction intro to Steampunk that I've ever read.
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.
The Art of Steampunk brings the vision of the Steampunk artist alive on the page, providing a unique insight into the captivating and dynamic world of a vastly underground genre.
I really enjoyed this beautiful book. At first, you get a steampunk 101 of the genre. They cover many topics having to do with the history and modern day appeal. The artwork is beautiful and you get to know the artists who created it. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who'd like to know more about the steampunk genre or someone who already enjoys it and wants to view some of the best artwork around.
Many Steampunks are creative folk. Welding, soldering, sewing, knitting and other arts and crafts are well established in our community. I have myself dabbled in jewelry-making but for me its just a small part of my steampunkness.
Among the many who do something are the few who do a lot and create amazing things. Their fame and renown has left the Steampunk scene and gone out into the world, via the ætherweb or other media.
One example of Steampunk leaving the ætherweb and manifesting in more traditional media is Art Donovan's upcoming The Art of Steampunk.
I was lucky enough to be asked to review this book and get a pre-release copy. The copy I have got is not fully finished yet, there are still placeholders where images will be in the final version. That is the only not so good thing about the pre-release version. The rest, and the finished book, is just a wonderful visual introduction to Steampunk.
Mr Donovan has assembled a collection of art and artists spanning literally the whole globe. There are master craftsmen presented from California and Seattle to the United Kingdom and Belgium to Japan. The Art of Steampunk is yet another proof of Steampunk being a truely international phenomeneon.
Everything displayed is a masterpiece and the range of objects is astounding. Steampunked computers (courtesy of the famed and often mentioned Datamancer), clocks, jewelry and items. Some of the pieces are oddities, creations of true Steampunk scientists. You will see what I am talking about.
What I also find very nice are the in-character descriptions, references and annecdotes by the various featured artists. It really helps you get into the Steampunk mindset if this is your first contact with the subculture. It is even more effective than the introduction to Steampunk at the beginning of the book, which is very consciese and well done.
Oh, and I almost forgot: If you have visited Steampunk exhibitions in the past, you may recognize a few pieces featured in the book, since many of them have been or are on display.
All in all this is an excellent book. It serves as an introduction for the newcomer and as an inspiration and fuel for creativity for everybody.
Since the book is not yet finished I am not going to grade it here but from what I can see so far it is heading towards the full reinforced squadron of ten out of ten Zeppelins!
If you like steampunk, prepare to be inspired. If you don't know steampunk, page through and find out more about the alternate historical world of Victorian-era geegaws and zeppelins. This is a great collection of imaginative work by artists doing their own takes on the steampunk genre, from jewelry to sculpture to artifact zap guns.
Pros: fabulous full colour photos and detail shots, wide variety of artworks
Cons: some artworks are more appealing than others, some artists only have one page, while others got several pages
The Art of Steampunk is a full colour guide to the steampunk exhibit hosted by the University of Oxford's Museum of the History of Science from October 2009 to February 2010. It included works from 18 artists.
Beginning with an intruduction by the exhibit's curator, Art Donovan and a steampunk 101 essay, by G. D. Galksen, the book showcases a wide variety of steampunk art. From lamps, watches and laptop covers to clothing, jewelry and sculpture, there's something for everyone.
I was a little surprised that some of the artists got several pages in which to desplay their art while others only had one. Perhaps those artists had fewer words, but it makes the book feel a little uneven.
The book itself has an old fashioned feel due to the cream paper look and images of photo corners and yellowed tape to 'hold' the pictures in place.
This is an excellent primer for newcomers to the subgenre as well as a beautiful book for collectors and affictionados.
... it looks awesome. The eye-popping artwork of the 17 international artists is beautiful. We are introduced to each artist with a brief biography and quickly move to their great steampunk art.
While there is a little something for everyone, I got a pretty good chuckle out of the toy-like artwork of Stephane Halleux. Although, without a doubt, the art of Richard "Datamancer" Nagy is my all-time favorite.
...It will make an excellent coffee table book and should generate some interesting discussions. I really enjoyed it and I give it 4 1/2 top hats and goggles out of 5.
Today I had the chance to check out a book written by my friend Art Donovan. He's a good example of both an entrepreneur and a person who combines passion with business sense. He's run a successfullighting design company for years but he got bitten by the steampunk bug a few years back. He's gone on to create both his own steampunk masterpieces as well as to curate several steampunk shows. Steampunk is a fantasy version of Victorian England mixed with technology, it's one part history, one part sci-fi. Items are beautifully crafted, often from other pieces including watch gears or old machines but functionality is important. It's essentially an aesthetic distinction.
The devices in The Art of Steampunk book are amazing but equally fascinating are the stories of the artists. They are a particularly talented bunch of wizards and mad scientists with one foot in history and one foot in the future. They are, put simply, not of this world, and that's just the way they like it. Some create wearable items, others concoct machines or imagine mythical landscapes. The hallmarks of steampunk are intricacy and invention. It's all deeply amazing and for those of us who weren't able to view the exhibition this book chronicles it's a great way to see the full depth of steampunk genius.
The Art of Steampunk is a companion book to an exhibition held by Oxford's Museum of the History of Science in 2009/2010. You can view a lot of the exhibition content online at the museum's website.
There are 17 international artists featured in total, with a wide range of backgrounds from engineers to costume designers.
The book is well designed and also includes a Steampunk 101 for those of us intrigued by steampunk but not quite sure what it's all about. If you're interested in costume or prop design, I do think this could be a nice addition to your library too. I can't really compare with what else is in the marketplace as I haven't seen many books on the subject myself.
Some of the pieces are outright stunning... I think the book shows that it's not just some hobby where people wear a lot of goggles but something that can be art. If I ever win the lottery, I'm commissioning a steampunk clock!
The Art of Steampunk by Art Donovan (August 2011, Fox Chapel Publishing) is a window into a wonderfully creative genre of art today-steampunk. This genre includes clocks and sculpture, costumes, jewelry and artifacts, technology and weaponry, sometimes for use, sometimes to decorate an imaginary landscape or character. Interest in steampunk is growing in the entertainment world and it's not hard to see why when you view the output of the visionary minds focusing here.
The artist author curated an exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University over 2009-2010 and this book is a documentation of seventeen artists' pieces. The first exhibit of steampunk art, it legitimatized this wildly popular fringe style, normally based on fantasy nineteenth-century Britain technology, art and world view, though from an outsider perspective. Popular items such as goggles and airships are on display, but the variety is wide.
One of my favorite parts of this book was the artist photos in each individual section. They framed the point of view of the artists beautifully.
If you are new to steampunk, this book provides a good primer as to what it is. If you are an artist looking for inspiration, the photographs will have your juices flowing.
Even before seeing this upcoming title, I had become interested in this field through the literary endeavors in it, and I'm thrilled to see such high quality, inspirational material to fuel my writer's imagination.
This is an exceptionally beautiful book that will feed your imagination every time you open it!
This book is an absolute feast for the eyes and imagination!
When I first asked to view this book, I had minimal knowledge about Steampunk--I was familiar with the concept and could pick out steampunk pieces, but as far as the philosophy goes, I was clueless. I was really pleased with the amount of information in this book--I had requested it primarily for the pictures, but ended up spending a great deal more time with it than I intended. Having said that, of course, I will probably keep this galley for quite some time and open it again and again.
Thank you so much for sharing this book with me before its publication--I hope that all your readers enjoy it as much as I did!
This month's featured creative is Art Donovan of Donovan Design and curator of "Steampunk: Devices + Contraptions Extraordinaire" at the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford, UK whose new book "The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement" is available on Amazon.com - currently "pre-order" status.
I came across Art Donovan's work in 2007 via an article on "Brass Goggles", the UK based Steampunk blog. Along with several other artists creating new Steampunk flavored designs, Donovan's clock and lamp designs caught my eye because of their inherent craftsmanship and implementation. Where other start-up Steampunk artists are categorized more in the collage or patchwork art domain, Donovan's art is derived from a background in interior lighting design and detailed craftsmanship. Donovan's pieces are not only hand crafted, but more often than not made from scratch which I find much more inspiring than the scavenging and re-purposing often attributed to Steampunk art.
Art Donovan designs for a variety of clients most of whom are not Steampunk related. This pre-existing design background is what gives Donovan the sharply-unique, custom-manufactured look that I find so appealing. His company Donovan Design was established in 1990 as a contract and residential lighting design house. Donovan's designs have a heavy dose of Art Deco stylization which I attribute to his early influences from working with Donald Deskey, designer of Radio City Music Hall.
Art Donovan discovered the Steampunk genre in August of 2007.
"It was the most exciting new style that I had seen in over 30 years as a designer. Steampunk combined all of the interests that I ever had- science fact, speculative fiction, early sci-fi films, history, antique technologies, Jules Verne novels It was even more surprising to discover that Steampunk embraced such unexpected things as arcane spiritualities, traditional Victorian manners and everything else that was thriving in culture of the late 19th and early 20th century."
After discovering Steampunk, Donovan created two introductory pieces, a distressed brass clock and a Steampunk style table lamp, both of which were featured in several Steampunk blogs including Brass Goggles, where I discovered Donovan's art. His next more elaborate piece, the Siddhartha Pod Lamp, cemented his name in the minds of Steampunk fans across the globe and catapulted his design career into Steampunk. Donovan was recently dubbed the "world authority on the visual genre of Steampunk" and is continuing to expand his line of designs. Much of this ado comes from Donovan's having been curator of the "Steampunk. Devices + Contraptions Extraordinaire" exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science at the University of Oxford, UK. The exhibit brought the Steampunk genre to light in the art community as well as proving the quality of art forms within the genre. Donovan also recently wrote his own review of the experience in which he stated, "True Steampunk would be an artifact of grace and artistic ingenuity. It would at first pay homage to the antique arts and sciences but ultimately point to a ideal or concept greater than itself." This "artistic ingenuity" is the very aspect of the Steampunk art community that drew me into the aesthetic so many years ago, and I think Donovan makes a good point when describing Steampunk not as a simple label but as an "artifact of grace and artistic ingenuity" which I find even more appealing when tempered by a studied application of craftsmanship and pre-conceived design.
Art Donovan has new book coming out soon that promises to be a very informative look at the Steampunk art community. "The Art of Steampunk: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement" will soon be available on Amazon.com and I highly recommend you take a look at it when it arrives. More information about Art Donovan can also be found at his blog "Art Donovan: Steampunk Art + Design."
I love the steampunk genre. Books, movies, pictures, costumes, I avidly follow it all. It was nice that someone took this rapidly expanding genre and compiled a book showing some of the creative things that people have done with this idea. The creations in this book were elegant and worth looking at. I saw an earlier version of the manuscript and the final version is incomparable. The backgrounds really help tie things together and give an overall elegant feel to the book.
If I had to choose one word to describe this book, and it describes the steampunk genre as well, it would be FANTASTICAL. Reading through this book made me excited for steampunk again, so much so that I wish my location wasn't so limited and that there were steampunk conventions that I could go to. Since I can't however, reading through this book and looking at the detailed pictures and following up on the creators websites will have to suffice.
Even if you are a long time fan or are new to the steampunk genre this is a great book to either fuel your passion or get you started. Well worth my time and enjoyment.
When I received the review copy of The Art of Steampunk in the mail, I set it on the top of the "To Do" pile on my desk and made a mental note to remember to offer the book as a freebie giveaway here on the GeekMom blog.
Two weeks and several reads later I've decided you can't have it. No giveaways here folks. It's all mine. The good news is you can get your own copy for just $19.95; a price I find astonishingly affordable especially considering the incredible thought and care that went into not only the design, but the quality of printing for this slender volume.
One hundred twenty seven pages of glossy full color steampunk eye candy, the book features seventeen notable steampunk artists, makers and designers. Authored by Art Donovan, the same artist/designer that curated the now legendary Steampunk exhibit at the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford University, the book serves as slim yet meaty primer to steampunk art and design. All of the artists included in the book were also featured in the Oxford exhibit, so if you were unable to attend in person, Donovan's book is the next best thing.
With creations ranging from the delightfully decorative (jewelry and accessories) to the impressively functional (clocks and engines) every page features something to inspire. And don't worry, if you're new to steampunk you are in good hands; a Steampunk 101 guide by scene historian G.D Falksen can be found on page thirty.
Whether you are a die-hard steampunk enthusiast or new to the scene this book is an essential addition to your library. And with the ranks of talented steampunk artists and designers ever increasing, one hopes Mr. Donovan writes a second volume soon.
The world's first exhibition of Steampunk art was held at The Museum of History of Science at the University of Oxford from October 2009 to February 2010. It was a success and drew large crowds of visitors to the museum. This catalog is the result of that exhibition, now in a form where it can be owned, admired, and instructive to those who were not able to make it to the actual event.
In The Art of Steampunk, Donovan attempts to give a summary definition of Steampunk in this catalog, which is meant to appeal to both Steampunk enthusiasts and the layman who knows nothing of the genre and is experiencing it for the first time through the exhibition. We also get a short history of the genre, and samples of work and bios of many of the artists currently creating Steampunk art.
The typography and page layout of this book really worked to compliment the art shown in the photographs, which made the catalog much more appealing to readers and evocative of the idea of steampunk. Nothing can replace the experience of viewing these 3-dimensional art pieces up close and in person, but the photographs still portray enough of the pieces to leave you with a sense of wonder and appreciation for the art.
My recommendation? Have this on hand for when you need a point of reference while reading Westerfeld's Leviathan or Pullman's The Golden Compass. Or just keep it on your coffee table to tickle the imagination of guests.
Before reading this book, I didn't know there was such a thing as Steampunk. I have seen Steampunk work in many movies, but didn't know that was what I was looking at. The idea of Steampunk it to take the Victorian time and put it into modern workings. This book not only explains Steampunk, but introduces those people that are creating this art form. The pictures are dramatic and captivating. If you have an appreciation for art, inventions, or science you will enjoy this book.