Exploring Gears and Bolts/Steampunk Aesthetics

For my upcycling project, I am exploring the steampunk/mechanical aesthetic. I have seen a couple examples of this online where sculptures are made out of scrape gears and parts. I am looking to do the same thing from bicycle scrapes I attained from old bikes that I have owned as well as scrape parts found in the DIDL. I believe that it shows not only how these parts can be used to make working machines but also if placed carefully can also be used for beauty in sculptures and models. Although steampunk is not exactly what I am going for, this a close representation that encompasses what I am looking for in my project.  The steampunk design can be traced back to the mid 20th century from books as well as movies such as 20,000 leagues under the sea with the submarine design. Many artist that incorporate steam punk include H.G. Wells, Jules Vern, and modern artists such as Philip Pullman, Scott Westerfeld, Stephen Hunt, and China Mieville. The aesthetic first became popular in its niche around the late 1980s and is considered a “retrofuturistic” look. The idea is derived from the industrial revolution and mid 19th century when metal mechanisms became popular with innovation and intellectual progress. Taking the machines and “over mechanizing” them to extenuate the effects of mechanics. For my project I want to blend the steampunk with my gears to sculpt a medieval sculpture. Trying to bridge the seemingly mutually exclusive genres. Which would again be a “retrofuturistic” look. The motorcycle bolt sculpture is is by Craft Palace and is a image they took for their YouTube channel. The second picture depicts an alien which was created for Bagitau.net which is a creator’s website. And the third is directly from the Word Press Media Library.

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4 Comments. Leave new

  • Knapp! Love the aesthetic you’re going for and just like Austin, I’m excited to see your upcycle project! I do think that your idea might not fit fully inside of the ‘Steampunk’ category – which is totally fine, I’d just be curious to hear you redefine or create your own name for the look you’re working on! Other than that I think you’ve got an awesome idea going and your goal of taking what most people would see as scrap or trash and turning it into something unique and beautiful is exactly what this project is going for. Nice work.

    • Mr. Butte,
      Thank you for taking the time to reply on my blog post, I agree with you assessment regarding my project not really fitting in the steampunk scope. If I were to redefine/ create my own aesthetic I would call it “Nexuris” a twist of the word nexus, intended to show the joining of two separate things. In my case it would be scrap parts and figurine/sculpture. I hope you find this helpful! Please feel free to talk to me about it in class. Best regards, Joe Knapp

  • Hey Knapp!
    You have a really awesome idea for your upcycling project. I personally am excited to see how this turns out! With regards to your post, I think a little more detail and images on the SteamPunk aesthetic would be more informative and appreciated. You focus a lot on your upcycling project more than defining and discussing the SteamPunk aesthetic. For future posts, I think it would be a good idea to also add in sources for your information so that others can explore and do their own research. Other than that, this is a good first post!

    • Ross,
      I agree with your astute analysis; I couldn’t bring myself to fully commit to saying my upcycling project would be fully under the steampunk aesthetic. So in my post I ended up focusing on what my project would be specifically and the aesthetic that it can potentially catheterized under. If you want to learn more about the aesthetic It is more specifically, please refer to my other replies on this post. I hope you find this helpful. Best Regards, Joe Knapp


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