Full Steam Ahead: A Portrait With Steampunk-Infused Aesthetics

Wordplay aside (however much it amuses this German/English major), I like the idea of paintings that nod to popular Steampunk aesthetics without simply imitating what has already been done in order to fit in with the rest of the genre.  I still want my work to look painterly according to my own particular expectations, after all, and to be true to my original leanings to some extent.  My first trilogy of pieces was quite abstract, in fact-- a juxtaposition of Victorian costumes, gadgets, meandering arabesques, and Early Expressionist commentary, all inspired by a quick sketch.

Steam Bryan [above] is a different take on my original ideas-- it is deeply informed by my recent foray into portraiture, but adds a large measure of fantasy for symbolism.  The piece has quite a bit of texture and in choosing colors, I did not strive for strict naturalism.   Bryan smokes flavored tobacco from a hookah while lounging on his plush sofa, keeps a wonderful lunatic of a black-and-white dog and a scrawny black-and-white cat with Kafkaesque eyes (glaring down at us from the upper right corner of the painting), has a wonderfully silly sense of humor, and listens to a wide variety of experimental/progressive music. . . combined with the way his deep-set eyes become dark wells under the right lighting, he seemed an intriguing subject for a portrait, and only an unusual portrait veiled in decorative smoke would do!  Because of the themes and colors of the piece, many have seen references to Alice in Wonderland in it, an association which I whole-heartedly encourage.  In a way, Bryan as the Steampunk Mad Hatter can be an interesting metaphor for what it can be like to try to be oneself, feel one's best, and remain responsible without losing one's sense of adventure in the modern suburbia where Bryan lives and works.