Steampunk – Where Art Thou?
Created by anastasia on 3/4/2013 11:33:08 PM

New correspondent Anastasia Hunter gives her review of the SteamPOP gallery!


Anyone who has been asked – “What is steampunk? - will know that there are as many definitions as there are stars in the sky. But imagine if you could explain it by tying it to something you and millions of other people already love. What else could bring a smile to one’s lips faster than seeing steampunk mixed in with all your favorite pop culture icons!


The place to find this brilliant and amazing mix of pop art & steampunk is none other than the Rothick Art Haus just a couple of miles north of Disneyland in Anaheim, California.


Our discovery of the SteamPOP exhibit was steampunk serendipity at its best! Clockwork Couture, the premier steampunk retail store operated by Donna Ricci in Burbank, California, was holding a Geek Chic Artisan event which my fellow steampunks had planned for weeks to attend. While pondering the sheer magnitude of steamy delights in this shop of wonders, we found a stack of postcards advertising a variety of other steampunk events in the Southern California area.  


At first, the SteamPOP postcard seemed like just a typical steampunk oversized brown postcard with a clockwork gentleman complete with top hat and spats, until you looked closer. With a subtlety and intricacy only a pop artist can bestow, the insides of the clockwork man included symbols for all of my favorite pop icons. Star Trek, Transformers, PacMan, Ghostbusters, an apple, mouse ears, etc. The description read, SteamPOP – Pop Culture through Steampunk Goggles.


Turning it over, again my mind bubbled over. On a white background, was the outline of the infamous Nautilus submarine yet again made up of dozens and dozens of pop icons and symbols! And so much more!!! You could lose yourself for a few minutes or hours as you continuously discover layer upon layer of symbols and designs that you have known and loved for a lifetime.


Just below it read: Opening night Feb 9th 6pm-10pm. We could not believe it! It was opening that same evening and agreed that we must stop by the gallery to see what it was all about.


The Rothick Art Haus was simple to find with lots of available parking. Located at 127 South Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim, California, just a few long blocks north of Disneyland, we could not wait to get inside. 


White walls and warm light greeted us and the many other steampunks, many who attended in steamy attire. Everywhere we looked, we could not help but to gape in wonder. All major pop culture icons had been steamed up by a talented collection of artists, including a kinetic mouse trap sculpture by Dan Benedict that would forcibly snap shut every couple of minutes making all the newcomers jump in self conscious alarm. 


Even pop icons that you would not typically think would have a place in steampunk were represented including Scooby Doo, Adventure Time, a Ouija board, Homer Simpson, Black Hole, and Docto Who by artist Brian Kesinger. Twenty nine incredible artists contributed to this amazing exhibit!


The air was afire with lively discussion as groups of all ages made the circuit around the gallery. Every display received great amounts of attention as the attendees debated which piece was their favorite. Was it Lincoln versus Vader or the Princesses? Phineas & Ferb or the Avengers? The possibilities were endless!


On departing, we discovered a variety of prints were being sold and I came home with a half dozen that continue to bring out a grin every time I look at them. Move over Star Fleet as I bring you the Steam Fleet! Ackbar Mouse Traps – Building a better mousetrap since 1865. Catwoman and Harley Quinn never looked so good being bad in their steamy attire!


So now when someone asks me, what is steampunk, I have a slightly different answer. Now I show them art that is both new and familiar while describing what the wild and wonderful world of steampunk is all about. This is the power of steampunk - letting our imagination bridge the gap between the old and new, then making it uniquely our own.


Anastasia Hunter has been volunteering and costuming at various West Coast conventions since 1991. She is currently the Chair and Director of Programming for Gaslight Gathering 3 - a steampunk convention in San Diego, CA. 


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