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Evolution

In the, wow, nearly 20 years of this site, 10 years at this domain, a lot has changed, and will continue to change.

I’ve been in the middle of another major site overhaul for starters, so you might see some things shift here or there even as you browse.

The store will continue to work as usual, and will continue to carry many, many art prints, art originals, and other things – but I am working hard to get the gallery filled with the 100-some images I have available, in order to make it much easier to see what types and sizes of prints are available for each artwork all in one place… because I realize it can be rather overwhelming to sift through 400 items and feel you are miking the best choice.

I’ve removed eyesores like the facebook feed and the twitter feed, because they took up a lot of space – and it was silly to have them, since you are already here, and most posts over there are about things that are available here.

I’ve also removed them because, well, I am going to use them both a lot less often. Twitter really just seems like a lot of people talking into the wind to imaginary friends, Tumblr and Pinterest seem to be the sport of sharing as many images as possible as quickly as possible, Livejournal is filled with Russian spambots where people once were, and Facebook, since they started promoted posts – well, for 800-some people I see a little “10 people saw this post” at the bottom “insights”, and it all seems pretty pointless.

… as does the internet in general, if all it is to be is a billion people slaving away at sharing things quickly, forgetting moments later for the next sharable thing… not visiting sites, or reading articles, just “liking” them and sharing.

… it isn’t exciting anymore; It isn’t even pleasurable or relaxing anymore – just mind-numbing addictive boredom and a day filled with forgettable moments… click – share – click – share – comment – click – share…

Though I spent a lot of time building up readership on facebook – as have many others with their pages: the best solution seems to be if everyone were to go and start that again elsewhere. I’ll only be there, in the sense that my posts from here will feed into my “fan page”… at least until they make that a paid service too.

On the up-side, this has forced me to get back to what I shouldn’t have stopped doing: updating right here – like I did years ago, finding a few things that well-worth blogging about and putting some effort into sharing as articles and reviews worth typing about, rather than all sorts of things “sort-of ” worth sharing at the click of a button.

I don’t have a mailing list in place yet, one of a hundred things on the slate for these next few days… but if you have a decent browser – there is an rss button at the top.

Please check back often; Aside from posting new artworks and books and such things here, and special offers, I plan to return to posting about music, the art of others, event reviews, and whatever else fits well in this space.

If you came here looking for special offers, well, there are many new prints being added in the process of building the gallery, and many products being marked down until the end of December.

If you would like to see those specials, you can now find many of the newest deals through the gallery.

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Steampunk Symposium and coming conventions

So, we’re back from the Steampunk Symposium, cooling our jets for a few weeks (read: working frantically on other things and preparation for coming conventions).

We had a great time; Aloyisius and his team put on one extraordinary event, and did one seriously good job of keeping everything organized and running splendidly. We would *certainly* love to come back next year to see the next and bigger version of this convention. Many triumphs to expand upon, and, as far as I can see… no mistakes to learn from and that is an incredible feat for a first convention.

I had several panels there, and I hope that people enjoyed them as much as I did… even the second one wherein “hungry” influenced my conversation and concentration a bit more than I would have liked it to have. I’ll learn from this and avoid early morning panels in the future if I can at all… but I did somehow manage to fill a whole hour, and keep people there and asking questions.

I had a tall stage, a big screen, and a digital projector… which I of course did not use. I suppose I like things to feel smaller and more intimate- and have always felt a bit out of place on a stage doing anything other than karaoke-ing 80s and 90’s post-punk tunes.

Outside of the panels, we spent most of the days at our tables, selling art prints and speaking with people – and I experimented by bring many large giclee prints on heavyweight fine art rag paper. I came up with this idea so I could add an alternative above our less-expensive and convention-priced prints, and below that of the giclees on canvas and original paintings/engravings.

In that, I learned pretty much what we had established before: To stick to the $5 through $30 range items. I did however establish that it is not the thought of carrying around some huge-sized canvas print that hinders sales there – but that price, is purely the reason.

People at sci-fi/fantasy/subcultural conventions, myself included, are primarily looking for clothing, accessories, gizmos, trinkets and such… and when it comes to art, they are looking for something more in the souvenir range… perhaps as a keepsake reminder of the convention, to have something that is signed, or simply to show some support for the artists they like.

I’d have to say my first thought whenever I arrive at any convention, is that if I make X amount of dollars, I am going to buy myself a cool vest, a nice pair of boots, a well-made pair of gloves, a new shirt, etc… why should other attendees feel any differently?

It is because of this that I had a thought: Next convention, I will focus more on the smaller prints, and otherwise I will bring the originals for the devoted buyers, and I will be bringing some new things as well… hand-crafted works in wood and brass, mechanical or just practical/handy/decorative… and I’ve got a lot of things in mind, all of which I am excited about having the opportunity to show and offer. I’ll have more on that when I have made them… for right now, it is a bit of a secret.

So, I return home with a great amount of fond memories of the convention, and souvenirs in the form of prints – special made for this convention. Each are rather large, printed on 390 GSM (super heavyweight) rag paper in fine pigment inks. Each are signed, and dated “Steampunk Symposium 2012”. These are *all* rather rare, one of a kind for their size… They are 13 inches by up to 24 inches. Most average about 13×20 inches, and are all beautiful and sturdy reproductions on my work.

Our table at Steampunk Symposium 2012

I *thought* about offering them all as a set… and if you make an offer before any of them sell, I would be more than happy to offer them that way), otherwise: I’ll be putting them up for sale over the next few hours. There are some available now, and by morning I’ll have them all up and available, in their own category here:

https://mykeamend.com/new/products-page/unique-prints/

There is only one of each, so if you see one you like, this is a good time, the only time to grab it.

So, what is coming up? Well, Jfax in June (Grand Rapids), In October we’ll be at Kokomo-Kon in Kokomo Indiana, and are hoping to be a part of Utopiacon in Cincinnati the week after. We’ll be trying to fill in many more spots as we can, hopefully some more guest spots and panels, but we’ll be looking at conventions to just vend at as well… maybe a few to simply enjoy attending. Please watch this space, and I’ll try to be much better about announcing our future appearances in the future.

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The Artist’s life: Myths and Misconceptions

This post is for those who are aspiring artists, those who are living the artists’ life/fighting the good fight, those want to know what the typical artist’s life is really like, those who erroneously assume we are on some pedestal above the working class, and especially those who see us as something lesser than the hard-working masses.

I really enjoy what I do, and I enjoy every person I interact with online, and every person I meet at shows and conventions along the way, when we are able to make conventions anyway.

Often times, I find myself being labeled or referred to as a “successful artist” – and I suppose that, if artists were paid in web hits, kind comments, web features, magazine features, book features, television news spots, peer/colleague recognition, and used bandwidth, that just may be… And, really, there could be nothing better, save for that ever-distracting rumbling from within…

– Some people mistakenly think that being an artist means not having to work – joyfully stroking away at a canvas with a very long brush so we can still recline in a golden hammock, while dining on peeled grapes and supervising our apprentices to urinate more passionately upon a silk-screened soup-can.

– Others assume that being an artist means not wanting to work, as if we spent all of our days on play and recreational drugs, and only picked up a brush to avoid “real work”, or maybe just to have something to offer for money… like that guy on the corner offering to sell you a handful of dumpster findings from his pockets, because he knows you’d rather just give him 50 cents.

For an actual artist, one who lives for art, and lives as an artist, *neither* assumption could ever be farther from the truth:

Now, I am talking actual artists here: Not those jet-setters who would gladly have fame rather than create something worthwhile – Not those coke-headed scenesters to whom “art” is rubbing elbows with the wealthy over champagne while conversing about the deep and existential meanings behind sloppy paint on a half-assed doodle ready-made to satisfy the “chic” galleries’ demand that an artist produce 12 pieces a month to be considered – Not the “I’m gonna splatter this paint on a canvas” guy you see making a living off 5 minutes work per $50 painting (or sometimes $4,000,000 painting).

… No, I am talking about those who couldn’t live without being able to create things worth being proud of, and would gladly die of starvation or lack of sleep if it meant finishing that one last work… which in its conception and crafting is nothing short of amazing, but completed, will never, ever be good enough, but always one step closer… while never anything worth patting oneself on the back over.

Even a step backward is a step forward, every failure is a triumph. We learn through experience, improving our art through noting the good and the bad – and for all the works you’ll ever see, are at least three that get crumpled, scrapped, abandoned, burned, or shot and buried ceremoniously.

Artists included – Any of us who struggle to work for ourselves, are the most tyrannical of bosses – We typically spend 16 to 36 hours at a time on our work between 4 to 10 hour naps, grabbing a shower or a bite to eat when there isn’t an important deadline to meet, or paint threatening to dry on the pallet. (I’ve managed over 150 hours of straight-painting in my worst/best days – bathroom breaks and Mountain-Dew refills excluded).

On the very best days, those hours are spent on art alone, though those days rarely come – so the days get longer and longer, bedtime gets that much further away, just so some actual art can be managed before “day’s end”..some 48 hours later.

If we are doing well online, much time goes into ordering tubes and packaging, ordering prints, wrestling with cardboard and glue to make painting-shaped boxes, rolling prints, printing labels, signing things, making certificates, running to and from the post office… it keeps us from our work, but it is happy work. Sending my art to hang in the home or office of another person keeps us going, emotionally and financially.

The rest of our time is spent writing blog entries, redesigning our sites, managing our “social” network pages, creating sales, adding new products to the web, looking for affordable advertising, logging clicks and cost, submitting to boards and sites and magazines, answering our email, waiting for others to answer theirs, looking for new markets or merch like skins and tattoo flash and tee shirts and such, and doing work for others to make ends meet: Web design, ad design, various other things “artistic” which are not “art” and often soul-sucking – especially that every hour spent here, could have been another hour of painting.

Things being what they have been these years, we spend more and more time on the latter, less and less time on the former, and all those extra hours of tearing our hair out and staring into this screen, mean bedtime is that much further away if we are to get any actual painting or drawing done… because an artist who does not create, is not an artist, but a “seller” if they are so lucky as to be making sales in that time.

And when things suddenly go well… due to some freak internet occurrence, some kind soul with a lot of traffic posting our images, or numerous kind souls posting the same to their friends, Tumbling, Stumbling, Tweeting, whathaveyou, or just the purchase of an original work: When we have shipments out of the way, if we have money left over, what we don’t re-invest in replenishing our art supplies – we use to allow ourselves time for our very best days: A worry free day or week of making more art, maybe sleeping and eating more regularly… maybe even putting ourselves on the list for a convention.

… and for those days of pure art, still working most of the day, we feel like kings; It boggles my mind to see these people who get huge funding and fame for their art, and could actually bear to spend their days just riding out that fame, when they could be using all that money and attention to make bigger and better art… and not just things that will sell or grab headlines simply because a famous person made them.

Truth be told, if art were not so incredibly important to us, we artists could live far, far better begging on the street, or even working a minimum-wage job. We are in a class below “poor”, and often looked at as much less – though we don’t get government money to sit on our butts, no medical coverage, no paid rent, no food stamps, no $5,000 EIC for making babies we can’t afford … Instead, we *choose* not to be a burden on society, we *choose* to overwork ourselves to death, and do so for much much less, and a lot of nothing in between.

We live on caffeine, adrenaline, will power, and most importantly the hope that all of our hard work will someday mesh with the American dream: That determination and sacrifice will pay off in the end.. knowing that having spent years of your life on this pursuit, that giving up now, or tomorrow, would render all that suffering and struggle pointless.

And this is not for lack of skills or knowledge; The both of us are very adept in crazy things like PHP, HTML, CSS, Javascript, Actionscript/Flash, Photoshop, Illustrator, In-Design, and other things that *could* be making us a decent living; We put all that time invested learning into our web sites, magazines, pre-press on our own artworks. We know how to work power tools, we know how to shape and work with lumber, we know how to work with more materials and how to do more things than most people could imagine, because every thing we don’t yet know, reflects something we may one day want to use for art… and we learn it all on our own time, without grants, without scholarships, with no reward greater than simply knowing … and being able to do whatever we cannot pay others to do.

We are thrilled to be able to justify $8 on drive-thru food we don’t have to cook, being able to spend that time instead on art is like Christmas for us… the same goes for trading blown-out boots for the next 2 years’ “new pair” or getting a pair of glasses that are less scratched-up in order to struggle less with the painting. We drive a car the mechanics gave 6 months to live, and have done so for 3 years waiting to have $350 that does not need to go to bills or art. We pay for our medical expenses out of pocket – and just hope for the best on anything we cannot pay for: Abscesses, unknown pains, troublesome coughs, broken bones if they are not compound fractures.

… Really, If I haven’t just cooked up the last breast of chicken and the last egg in order to make sure the cats are fed, or if I am not stressing over catching us up to “$nothing”, it is a pretty good day… yes, I live on the brink of homelessness – and I work very very hard to live on that brink.

For all of our work, despite the amount of homes that have our art hanging in them (including those where the art was paid for), or how many people know us online, or how many places you can find us, or the appearance of our web sites, these hard-working artists are really lucky to make $1 an hour for their 100+ hours a week.

… And I hope I die never knowing what it is to give up on my dreams. If that is sooner, or later – then I hope the the latter as I am not yet where I want to be with my art. Though I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with what I do, I know that choosing comfort or even life over art is death for me.

Any artist who can survive another day, having lived a day as an artist, is a lucky artist

… and I suppose, *yes*, that does make me “successful”.

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– If you are another artist and maybe looking for some clues on how to survive “the Great Art Depression”, it is pretty simple: The secret to survival is to not give up and die. Those businesses who made it through the 1930’s Depression, came out on top, and remained there for the rest of the century.

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– If you are not an artist, and I have provided some level of understanding, or if you simply agree – Please take the time to add to the success of the creatives you appreciate seeing work from. Buy a CD, buy a book, or an e-book, watch a program and wait through the commercials… And though some of the art you enjoy may be a bit dark or crazy for your walls, do something more than just setting a desktop image. Maybe this means giving them $1 – not as a handout – but in appreciation for the millions of hours of thankless work and study  they invested into just getting to the point where you can enjoy an image – or maybe this means telling a few others about their work.. stumble, tumble, blog, do *something*… become a part of the creative process, a part of history, by tipping the scales in favor of what you like to see, hear, or read.

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High Gravity Giveaway

Why “High Gravity”?

Well, My mind is currently enhanced by a (arguably) healthy dose of high gravity beer, I’ve been packaging prints and art all night for Steamcon, and I came to the realization when looking through boxes of prints, that I have *way* too much backstock – the result of guessing what I have in stock when I make large orders to stock up for conventions.

What are the rules? Well… I thought to do a random draw, or a “twitter about this and be entered” sort of thing, but instead: this is a 100% you win something sort of giveaway.

Order something, anything, and I will look at your order: whether it is spooky, or steampunky, or fantasy and find things that will fit into your package and drown you in some freebies.

I know, I know – this is not very fiscally responsible of me. I should just save that overstock, write down a list of what I have, and *not* order more of those things before the next convention… count them as “money in the bank” or something.

But I am not in the mood to do that right now. Take advantage of my mood enhancement, and make a purchase. Order something 8×10, and I’ll throw in some 8×10 *and* smaller prints. Order something 11×14 and I’ll throw in something that will package well an 11×14… you see where I am going?  I don’t – but that is not your problem.

Rather than having you type some sort of keywords or phrases in to your order in *wink* wink* *nudge* *nudge* (you know what I am saying?) fashion – I am extending this offer to anyone who places an order between now, and when I pull down this announcement (or November 19th – whichever is the latest… just in case I choose not to pull this entry from the internets).

Excited? YOU SHOULD BE!!!  Because I am just itching to slather you in lusty gratitude, but will settle for making your order much bigger-er.

So, there you have it. Place an order, get more than you bargained for. And though I might not be saying this when I am un-enhanced: Thank you!!!

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Cats

When using laser pointers to tease cats, my favorite part is where I grab the laser dot off the ground with my hand, eat the laser dot, and act like it was the most incredibly delicious thing ever created.

…Then I sit on the couch for a while acting as fulfilled and blissed as one would after Thanksgiving Day, allowing the cats to imagine just what it was they missed out on.

Putting cat nip behind glass is also fun
Putting cat nip behind glass is also fun
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Goggley Stripey Elf – By Liz Amend

My sister in law Liz Amend makes these incredible fairy figures, and figures by her are always in rather high demand. This one, I just *had* to post here, as it has stripeys and goggles and a very cool nut-shell helmet. It is available here on Ebay.

Harden is an intrepid explorer and photographer and it looks like he is off on another adventure! He wears a little acorn cap (sculpted of polymer clay) and goggles. He has a tiny camera to capture all the amazing things he will see, maybe he might even see a human! Harden measures about 7 inches tall from his head to his toes, but will measure taller with his stand (not shown).

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In the Home Stretch

Gutted
Gutted

Lately, this is what I am doing when I am not painting or messing with this site – trying to build us a living space so we can quit living out of boxes. The demolition is near done – and I hope the building part will be a lot more fun. I envision a lot of trap doors, secret compartments, foldout furniture, piranha with lasers on their heads, and other things. Money being an issue, I suppose we’ll be just be happy to have walls and a floor again.

I haven’t posted much about it here, but since it has kept me from site updates for a while now, I thought just this one post to let you know where I am and have been would be good to do.

Long story short – Beth and I came out here from the Boston area so she could be near her family, and so I could be 1,000 miles closer to mine. Her ex was leaving their old apartment, and it was going to be a great place to stay and launch our convention plans and art shows from.

The kicker, was that it was a bit of a mess – how much of a mess, I could still not believe even when we had been cleaning for months – after many weeks of seeking caring homes for sickly cats, after huge dumpster rentals, after hundreds of trash bags purchased, after shoveling feet down through things I’d rather not mention in order to find the floor… we finally were able to walk through the apartment, but not without breathing masks and rubber gloves.

Cleanup took last October through this May. Teardown and ‘minor’ cleanup has taken since then – I needed to take out ceiling, walls, insulation, wiring, flooring, layers of additional tile and carpeting, sub floor, and in several places the studs and beams supporting… yes, the smell and the grime was *that* bad. Add to this extreme water damage from a long-neglected roof leak, faucet leaks and other things which carried the ick deep into the now rotting wood.

Then there was a delay, not being able to get the materials to tear down further or to rebuild – but thankfully one of my paintings, “The Machine” sold at the best possible time.

Now, at long last I am finally to the stages where I start to put wires back in, walls back up, floors back down, ceilings back up, and start trying to track down cheap fixtures for the kitchen and bathroom, lighting, and other things… oh – a furnace… a furnace would be good.

Hopefully we’ll be able to be somewhat creative with this space design – given that I really need to get back to art, and really need to start putting funds into getting out and doing conventions, we might need to make a lot of compromises along the way.

Our end goal, never mind the spinning doors and secret passages, is simply to have a roof of our own over our heads and our things out of boxes, hopefully before Halloween. We aim to make Windycon in Chicago our official return to conventioning – seriously, I’d just be happy being able to devote my days to art again.

If you would like to support this cause in any way – we’re not the types to say “OMG WE NEED DONATIONS!!!”… What we could use: Print and Art Sales through my store here or at Ettadiem.etsy.com, and new clients.

Advertising design and web programming are my strong points – but I am also finishing up my last commission at the moment – and will be able to take on one more commissioned painting come October.

If you would be interested in the commission you can contact me through this site. If you know people who need design or programming done, please send them my way. And if you like my art, and would like to own a print someday – let me know what you need to make today the day… within reason, I’d be happy to wheel and deal this week.

Thanks for reading,

Myke Amend

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Steampunk as an Art Movement

These days, there is a lot of confusion surrounding what “Steampunk” means. I can’t say that I will clear that up much with this post, but hopefully it will stand as a good primer. Mostly I am just sharing my views here, for discussion’s sake, and perhaps to clarify my perceptions for those who might wonder where I stand on such things.

Some would argue that it is a literary movement above all, pertaining to a return to speculative fiction — imagining what our world would be like had we never invented the combustion engine, or the silicon chip, and the imagining of worlds and concepts still ripe for the picking… exploration, invention, imagination, all those traits most admired in what once was what it meant to be human… something pondered by many of us with a great deal of wonder, and longing.

To others it is a musical movement – as bands return to musical roots ranging from folkish Americana to neoclassical, and strange hybrids of everything in between.

There are also many who see it as a fashion movement as well, setting aside screen-printed tees and sweat-shop alternative apparel for hand-stitched and hand-woven finery, made of tweed, wool, cotton, and leather, mixing the classic and the classy with punk-rock accents, again re-imagining a fantastic reality where time periods and worlds intersect.

All three seem to center upon this principle: That we are tired of mass marketing and mass production, throwing cash at huge corporations in return for another of a million perfect plastic reproductions of the latest barely original fad concept – filling landfills with disposable art and fashion inkjet printed on substandard metal lunchboxes, or upon single-stitched polyester and polyvinyl garbage in the name of consumer whoredom.

… And then there is the art, which follows in these very same lines, wherein we step away from the lazy and uninspired.

With single-lined scribbles and kindergarten-class paper cutouts, Matisse showed us in his later years that lazy and greedy can make for collectible and desirable art; Warhol expanded upon this concept by giving us consumerist and commercially-driven uninspired drivel in place of art culture.

Both of which had a profound statement to make in doing so, to break the mold, and to show us that most anything could be considered ‘art’ and sell for a hefty price, especially where fools with deep pockets and self-proclaimed art connoisseurs were concerned.

With these, came “Pop Art”… a movement wherein millions of people, out of some sense of financial masochism, shovel money into the pockets of those who make no effort at concealing that their art is all about taking money from others in return for nothing or next to nothing – wherein those who wish to be ‘chic’, create the ‘cutting edge’, with which to gouge their own eyes in order to blind themselves to the fact that the irony and novelty wore off some twenty years ago…

… or perhaps it is the irony within irony which holds the scene together. Pop culture these days seems to center upon the principle of raising those who should be at the bottom, to the very top, because seeing those who are less than we are in great esteem allows us to imagine that we might someday do the same. The worst local band is always the local favorite, the most addle-brained diseased wastes of flesh humanity has known – they dominate reality TV, the most stupid and inane stunts get the most plays on youtube, as talk of them dominates bandwidth on the internet. Ours has become a society wherein we worship disposable idols fashioned of regurgitated crap, as a means to raise ourselves, while lowering our own expectations for more comforting levels.

Steampunk art, like steampunk culture in general, is the opposite of this; Like steampunk fashion, steampunk literature, and steampunk music, a step backwards in time, to an era where effort, skill, and craftsmanship for an artist were more important than mass-friending sprees, media sensationalism, a pretty face behind the brush, and viral videos – Steampunk is all about the adventure and joy found in making, and the celebration of worthy, if not awesome individuals who are indeed quite a rare find in what they do, how well they do it.

I would like to say I am speaking solely of dedication to fine materials, surface preparation, the layering of paint, painstaking attention to detail – because such things would serve me… but though such things can be in the “spirit” of steampunk, the true steampunk works are a step above thinking in two dimensions, and further than simply fashioning the three-dimensional with stationary and psuedomechanical  parts.

The true and iconic artists of this movement are those who build thrones of wood and brass with full functioning gizmos built within, giant unmovable unbelievably complex brass telescopes for their backyards, insanely complicated tool packs for their own workshops, custom cases for their self-made theremins, or huge metal treehouses, towering tesla coils for the masses to enjoy in public places — and much like anything truly steampunk:

…probably not for sale.

We all know Steampunk is a DIY culture, but the truest spirit of steampunk is not just DIY; It tends to be DIYFY (Do it yourself, for yourself), or DIYFE (Do it yourself, for everyone).

It isn’t “steampunk art”, if one would not not prefer to either keep it for themselves, or share it with the entire world — If it doesn’t hurt to see it go, if the amount of work put into it isn’t beyond whatever cash amount it might bring in today’s market.

Everything and anything else I would tend to consider simply “steampunk-inspired”… which is how I would class my paintings, drawings, and prints; Admittedly, I often tend to use the word “steampunk”, because “steampunk-inspired” is simply not a very good search term.

There are a lot of wondrous steampunk-inspired things on the web, and if you are on twitter and a member of any etsy or steampunk crowd, you probably see everything from Steampunk toe-rings to Steampunk toilet brushes offered about every half second – some of these things amazing, some not, most at least fascinating on some level – the best of these hand-made from the ground up.

It makes me think of the wonderfully, refreshingly horrid and grotesque ’90s incarnation of the gothic art movement, wherein the beauty in darkness was explored, grunge and grime were made pretty, which was quickly reduced to big eyed girls in stripey socks and clompy shoes decorating everything from lunch box purses to cheap perfume… made a franchise by mall stores and non-alternative bands and labels seeking to add themselves to the hype.

Instead of stripey sicks there are gears, instead of skulls, there are …gears. Some of these things made by those simply wanting to cash in in what they have miisconceived as a cash cow… but others are made by brilliant and wonderful artists with limited means, made for people with limited means — these days it is very hard to make the works we would like to make, and still make them available to others. The artists and crafters tend to be as limited in resources as the buyers are… and perhaps a better word than “Steampunk” would be “Depression Punk”… but let’s face it: No one wants to be reminded that we are in a depressed economy, and it certainly does not serve any artist or other seller to speak of such things in their sales pitch.

Actually I love seeing a great many of these things – and I see many, many shiny bits of brass and silver that I wish I could buy… and that they are handmade, admittedly is often “steampunk enough” for me. I can still feel better in the fact that I am going for items that are fairly unique, and works of art in their own, greatly so in comparison to possibly similar things sold in stores.

As for my own works… I do wish that I could make many of my works “true steampunk”, hiding gears and mechanical functions within the fabric and frames of my paintings – making them do something more than just looking pretty. But what would a steam-powered panting do, besides using steam power, gears, and cams to… sit there… as a painting does?

Such is a concept I obsess over too often, and though I think of many good ways to do such things – the amount of work and materials needed vs. what people would be willing to pay for such things always proves to be an obstacle – as the intent of selling tends to ruin the concept from its very conception.

The spirit of Steampunk tends to die where commercialism steps in, as anything with ‘punk’ in the name well should; It also ceases to be where quality and craftsmanship take back seat – but saying something is “not Steampunk”, should never be a terrible thing, or seen as a terrible misdeed. Things can be incredible, beautiful, even awe-inspiring – and not be purely steampunk. Such things can even be liked by many of us, even embraced by the majority without the label needing to apply.

I am Myke Amend – and I make steampunk-inspired artwork, though I do hope and plan to be more of a maker and a tinkerer – as soon as I am able to… when materials and time are less of a luxury.