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Archive for the ‘Sculpture’ Category

Odd Beauty Press coverage…word gets around!

22 Oct

I’ve been talking about the steampunk museum exhibit that my work is being shown in, currently running at the Southampton Arts Center in New York. The exhibition is called Odd Beauty: The techno-Eccentric World of Steampunk Art+Design, and it includes 20 steampunk artists (including myself) from around the world! There has been quite a lot of press local to New York, but I’m passing on the links to the publications which have done articles on the exhibit. This exhibit has drawn international interest and record attendance of the museum already and it still has several weeks left to run.

The list of article links is below…drop by and give ’em a read!

The Independent

Southampton Press

Hamptons.com

The East Hampton Star

Dan’s Papers (01)

Dan’s Papers (02)

Dan’s Papers (03)

Sag Harbor Express

The curator of the exhibit, Art Donovan, who himself is an artist says,

“The Southampton Arts Center has never seen such attendance or press coverage for any other exhibition.  Clearly,  having feature articles published in all the newspapers helped. That has never happened before for any show or museum in the area.
The Board of Directors is stunned by the reception to our exhibit and after seeing how popular the show is with visitors, they plan upon making this show a yearly event.
I guess it doesn’t get better than that!
Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.
 

Odd Beauty: The Techno-Eccentric World of Steampunk Art+Design

29 Sep

I’m so excited to post about something that is really cool regarding my art. I’ve already made comments and posted some links on Facebook, and this will wind up being posted there too, but this is the first I’m blogging about it.

A couple months ago, I got a phone call from a man named Art Donovan who said he was curating a steampunk exhibit in a museum in Southampton, New York. This exhibit, called Odd Beauty: The Techno-Eccentric World of Steampunk Art+Design, was to include “20 of the most renowned and influential steampunk artists, hailing from seven different countries – Japan, UK, US, France, Canada, Australia & Switzerland.” Art said that he felt that airships/dirigibles were iconic in the steampunk world and that he desperately wanted airships in this exhibit. He had searched online and in his repertoire of steampunk connections (he himself is a steampunk lighting designer), and I was the one he found who was creating airship sculpture that he said embodied the genre and was doing the level of work he was looking for!

Photo of a skull against a black background with a radiating structure of brass wires and hoops symbolizing steampunk art

Needless to say, I was flattered and immediately excited. He said if I was interested in participating, he was looking for a 2-3 piece representation of my work, and that it could be for sale if someone was interested and inquired about it. He asked if I could have work in Southampton by September 20, as that was the load-in date for the exhibit, which would then run until November 12. Long story short, I agreed and said that I would move some pieces from other galleries and finish a new piece I was working on so that I had 4 pieces to bring!

Rather than package and ship them and risk damage, my wife and I loaded all 4 airships, secured in weighted cradles and headed for the Hamptons! When we arrived late the next day, Art was thrilled with the pieces and kept looking and looking at them and said several times that he knew he had made the right decision in calling me. What a great feeling! Because of prior commitments the following weekend when the exhibit opened, I was unable to be there, however, the exhibit will feature several famous artist who will perform and lecture, including singer, songwriter and performer, Thomas Dolby (of “She Blinded Me With Science” fame)! Thomas has been a favorite of mine for 35 years and was arguably steampunk before it was even “a thing.”

I’ll keep you informed as to developments as they happen and post photos of the exhibit as soon as I get them. For now, here’s a link to the Facebook page Art Donovan has put together on the exhibit.

https://www.facebook.com/steampunkmuseumexhibition/?hc_ref=ARQm4er47TMeMdkU5cT0PcWi-PmroHTcTQp3KsFOFz9OVFWhe3kw_BCCaSfTvnLKGWQ

This exhibit promises to make a huge splash, not only locally in the Hamptons, but in the steampunk world at large and I am truly grateful to be a part of it!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Repurposing, Artsmith style

23 May

You may know that I am an avid “repurposer” when it comes to my art. Doing the steampunk airships and steampunk hot air balloons that I do, I try to use as many everyday objects as possible, especially things that most people don’t even try to recycle. I find that the most common things we use without a second thought often make the best pieces in my sculptures. These pieces very often have unique and complex shapes that are easily disguised as something else entirely.

As an example, the photos below show a few views of a steampunk hot air balloon gondola that I recently completed. As you can see, the elements that went into it are very common things that once dismantled, rearranged, painted and reassembled, look nothing like the original materials, but now have an entirely new and beautiful life!

Photo collage of the construction of a steampunk hot air balloon gondola using repurposed found objects.

Repurposed object steampunk hot air balloon gondola

In my next post, (which I admit have been few and far between lately…), I’ll post a bit of a “Beginner’s Guide” to show you my process so you can get some ideas to inspire some of your own repurposing projects!

What kinds of other projects are you working on? I’d love to hear from you. Drop me a comment!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What kind of people buy my sculptures?

22 Nov

Q: Who is it that wants to have one of my creations? I ask myself this question often because knowing who wants your stuff and how to get it to them is important!

A: The answer to the question varies a bit because I’ve had lots of very different people buy my work. I guess it starts with people who enjoy the steampunk aesthetic since most of what I’m doing right now revolves around steampunk one way or another. And, most of the steampunk stuff is airships or hot air balloons. I think that’s because in addition to steampunk being a visually cool genre, steampunk airships are a whimsical and fantastic look at a “what if” world. Steampunk airships are awe-inspiring and amazing, so even if you weren’t a huge fan of steampunk before, one of my sculptures would convert you!

Photo of Victorian style steampunk airship sculpture Anastasia,  36" long, (Maki size).

The Airship Anastasia

So, people who like steampunk, but what else? Certainly people who want that aesthetic to be a part of their home or business. I have had people commission pieces for their homes and I’ve had people commission pieces for businesses. The most notable were the two airships that I did for a Chicago corporate holiday party last year. Once their appearance was done at the party, they were to go to hang in the company’s corporate offices. The company, you ask? GOOGLE!

I guess the people who would buy my work boils down to people who love and appreciate steampunk and want to have elements of it on display in their homes and/or offices and are willing to pay what I ask for my work. It isn’t cheap…there is simply too much love, attention and time put into each piece. Like any serious artist, my pieces are like my children and it hurts me to see them leave the nest, but I love seeing the joy they bring to those who want them and I’ll continue to build these fantasy filled creations for as long as I’m able, but I’m not getting any younger. Better get yours while you can!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Asking the Universe for my next big project

25 Sep

They say that if you want something, you have to ask for it. Some of the philosophies in metaphysics say that you merely need to speak something into existence. Well, I guess I’m doing that now.

I want to have my work discovered by a major movie studio that is producing an epic steampunk film. The reason they contact me is because they would like to use models for the old fashioned feel and aesthetic, rather than use CGI to create the airships that are a large part of the movie.

Black and white photo of a reel of film showing a loop close-up.

In this scenario, they have seen my airships online or in person in the gallery I’m in. They love what they see and they want a meeting with me to discuss what they’re looking for. I like what they are trying to do, and I agree to be a part of their art and creative team. (You’re supposed to be very specific, right? OK, here it is) That project takes a year to do and the resulting movie is so fantastic that it gets a ton of recognition and attention. That attention leads to other steampunk art opportunities and before long I’m very busy building cool steampunk pieces for other studios doing other projects.

There, how’s that for a universal ask?

I’d love to hear about what you want from the Universe. Don’t be small about it, and be specific. The Universe needs you to be specific…the opposite of specific is vague and that gets you nothing!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk vents from repurposed lids – Artsmith Craftworks

10 Aug

In my DIY Fridays YouTube series, I post videos on how I turn various objects into pieces to add to my art. Most of these objects are every day things that I find, some are scrap, some are disposable items that I hate to see tossed in the trash. Plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, wood, toys, etc, can all be used to create amazing art with a little paint and patina for aging!

In this video, I show how I repurpose those cool little plastic lids from squeeze applesauce into vents that I put on my steampunk airships.

Let me know what you’d like to see from me in video and ask me what else I repurpose!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk airship parts from found objects

15 Jun

My main artistic philosophy is to create cool art from repurposed and found objects. Today, I thought I’d show how I imagine these pieces and parts into steampunk airship features. Enjoy the video, and please give it a like, share it with a friend and subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

My artistic process – Artsmith Craftworks

03 Jun

When I build my steampunk airships, or any other piece of art, I have a bit of a process that I follow…loosely, I guess. Sometimes I start with a sketch, sometimes I just grab pieces and start putting them together.

In the following video, I describe that process…or processes…

I’d love to hear what artistic process you use. Drop me a comment and please subscribe!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Repurposing cardboard into steampunk airship gondolas – Artsmith Craftworks

09 May

One of the major activities I engage in when creating my art is repurposing everyday objects into something else. A couple of the things I repurpose the most are paper and corrugated cardboard…  simple and seemingly utilitarian materials that we all take for granted. Not me. I look at these materials with love and excitement. I’m passionate about art using repurposed materials, but at the very core of my being, I love paper and other materials made with paper, such as cardboard, fiberboard, handmade paper, recycled paper, papier mâché and on and on.

In today’s post, I include a video in which I talk about how I transform scrap corrugated cardboard into the framework of the steampunk Victorian airship gondolas I create. Once these cardboard pieces are put together, I cover them in a variety of outer skins, from wood to copper and brass to steel or other metals. Of course, what I use is not really wood or metals…it’s paper…made to look like metal. That’s just how I roll.

Enjoy!

What materials do you like to use in your art? I’d love to hear your comments! Also, please share these posts with other friends and artists you know. Let’s get a conversation started!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Propeller process

07 Mar

I get asked all the time how I made a particular part on one of my steampunk airships. I’m also told that I should do DIY pictures and videos, and truthfully, I do take progress photos when I’m working on an airship. I do this because I have always thought that someday I’d do some sort of steampunk DIY book or something.

With that said, I thought I’d post a few photos showing how I did a particular propeller for a particular airship. Of course, this is only one example, because I’ve done dozens and dozens of different propellers in many different ways.

This one is made using a scotch tape core and 8 of those little plastic tasting spoons…you know, the ones they have in samples passed out in grocery stores. So they started like this…

Photo of repurposed pieces to be used in making a steampunk airship propeller.

Then I cut slits in the outer ring of the tape core and glued the ends of the spoons into them. You’ll also notice that I cut a thin cardboard ring that was glued to the top side of the tape core for a smooth look. For plastics, I either use super glue or E6000, depending on how the pieces go together and what stresses they may be subject to. Super glue is great for “matching fits” and the E6000 is a gel-like glue that can fill small spaces and it a bit more flexible, so it was what used in this case. As with all volatile glues, don’t breathe the fumes. Use in a ventilated area or wear an approved respirator!

Photo of repurposed pieces glued together, making a steampunk airship propeller.

After all the glue dried, I then spray with a copper spray paint for the metal look I wanted. I use a couple different ones depending on the desired finish. In this case, I used Rustoleum’s Hammered series in copper color.

Photo of copper painted propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

Finally, I used a couple different green acrylic paints to add a patina or corrosion look to the propeller. Some people like the shiny copper look, but I’ve always been partial to the patina look and think it adds realism and character to the piece.

Photo of copper painted and patinaed propeller made of repurposed materials to be used on a steampunk airship.

So this is what you wind up with after adding the patina. See how it looks rusty and aged? This is why I like it so much. After the patina, I’ll add accents like copper rivets, (just blobs of paint), which adds contrast and interest and even a bit more realism.

What techniques do you like to use? Send me comments and photos and I’ll be happy to show what some of you are doing!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What I love most about building my steampunk airships

22 Feb

What makes me the happiest when I create my art, specifically, what part of the process do I enjoy the most? In the video below, I talk about this and even show you around my workshop a bit!

What do you love most about your artistic process? What part excites you most? What part makes you day dream about it? Drop me a line in the comment section and let me know!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

How large are my steampunk airships?

13 Feb

When people see my airships online or see photos of them in other places, they nearly always ask me how large they are. Often the photos I’ve taken have no way to show scale and since they are quite detailed, it’s difficult to tell how large they are. In the video below, I talk about the sizes of my airships.

In future videos, I’ll show how I choose individual pieces to get implemented in my airship construction. You’ll see how something discarded as junk can become wondrous, whimsical and magical as art! Cardboard becomes copper by painting, plastic when reused as building material becomes amazing art. When you recycle old stuff into art, it becomes cool stuff.

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

What inspires my steampunk airships?

09 Feb

I get asked often what inspires the airships that I build. How do I come up with ideas? What kinds of materials do I use and how do I choose what found object becomes what part of my airship build? In the video below, I talk about that process.

In future videos, I’ll show how I choose individual pieces to get implemented in my airship construction. You’ll see how something discarded as junk can become wondrous, whimsical and magical as art! Cardboard becomes copper by painting, plastic when reused as building material becomes amazing art. When you recycle old stuff into art, it becomes cool stuff.

What art have you created by repurposing something? I look forward to your reply, just use the comment section below!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

My artistic philosophy

05 Feb

Why do I create artwork using repurposed materials? Well, aside from the fact that the found object craze in art is in full swing, I do it because I see magic in shapes. In the video below, I describe my artistic philosophy.

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk Victorian airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

I love happy collectors!

22 Jan

When I get a phone call, a text or a comment on this blog with inquiries about my work, I obviously get very excited. Here is an opportunity to make someone happy by building the steampunk airship of their dreams. Sometimes they have some parameters for the build, but other times, they will say, “I like the one I saw at _____!” Or, “Can you make one similar to_____?” Then I’m off creating their piece.

The cool part is when they take delivery of the piece, usually via carefully packaged ground carrier. The emails I get, assuming no damage, are great…

<><><><><><><>

“Hi Stephan,

It arrived safely yesterday and my husband loves it! We hung it today (no mean feat as it involved drilling holes in solid concrete), and it is flying proudly in our study. Pix attached.


Thank you so much for your creativity and care – and for getting this done on a tight deadline. We will enjoy watching “Zeppo” fly for many years to come.”

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

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“I am impressed, its an amazing work of art. I know u said it would add more work and time to put the red scalloping on the balloon I was wondering if that is still an option? i think it would bring the colors into balance or proportion by adding the red to the center of the balloon. let me know what think u can do. like i said it is a truly amazing piece of work. i had no idea what to expect and it really came together. thank you for taking on this project for us and making the short time line.”

Collage photo of a commissioned blue and white steampunk hot air balloon with red banners and flags.

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Then there was this one, which was a two airship order for a Production Designer in Chicago who was hired to stage a steampunk Holiday party for a large company…

“They’re absolutely gorgeous. Be sure to give me some of your business cards and any other info you have. I’m sure that they’ll be a big hit and people will want to know the artist who made them. I’ll take pictures of them installed for you to put on your website.”

Then when I inquired as to how things went after the party…

“They loved everything. The zeppelins are going to hang in the offices. I am waiting for photos now and will share them when they come in. I passed off your cards, so they know who made them. Hopefully it leads to some business for you!”

This was the customer who when asked who his client was (the one throwing the holiday party) replied…GOOGLE!

I haven’t seen the actual party photos of the airships in place, but I’ll post them as soon as I get them.

I love happy collectors!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Airships in Chicago

14 Dec

Early in November, I got a call from a man named David Krause of Big Works, Inc. Seems David, or “Big” as he is called, was hired to stage a corporate holiday party in Chicago. The theme of the party was to be steampunk and he found my website and wanted to commission two medium sized airships. After some discussion about specifics, I got busy working on them because he had a deadline of November 30, since the party was on December 3rd.

Since Big wanted progress pictures sent, I snapped a few shots as I went along…

Photo montage of a grunge steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks. Commissioned by Big Works, Inc.

Airship #1

Photo montage of a Victorian steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks. Commissioned by Big Works, Inc.

Airship #2

When the airships were finished, Big drove from Chicago to Michigan to pick them up personally and take them back so they would be safe. When he arrived, he was very happy with them and excited to reveal them to his client.

Next post, I’ll include photos of the staging at the Chicago party, as well as reveal who the client was…hint…it’s a VERY well known company!!

As always, I look forward to your comments…

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

The “Hot Rod” Airship

16 Nov

A steampunk airship can take on many personalities and styles. I say this because steampunk itself embraces many sub-genres and styles and is very often blatantly anachronistic. The steampunk airships I have built have ranged in style from more classic Victorian to Grunge, and from Angry Warship to cannon-lined Pirate ship.

This airship that I built this past summer had yet a different look. I was inspired by a child’s toy to do an airship that was reminiscent of a 1950’s hot rod.

Photo of Hotrod steampunk airship sculpture

“Hot rod” Airship

The airship fins have a flame pattern and the gondola has a “boat/car” look with that 50’s feel. It must have been as desirable as I thought it was when I built it, because it sold in less than a week at The Artisan’s Bench in Brighton, where I have many of my works for sale.

Closeup photo of Hotrod steampunk airship flame fins.

Hot rod airship flame fins

 

Closeup photo of Hotrod steampunk airship gondola.

Hot rod airship gondola

I currently have an airship in process that has a horn-shaped gondola suspended by a single pillar. I’m not sure what style I’d call THAT one, but it illustrates the variety possible within the basic shapes I often use. Other varieties possible include variations in the shape of the airship envelope itself, which I may do sometime soon. Funny thing is, the favorite seems to be the classic Victorian arrangement, with a ship-shaped gondola suspended with netting.

That’s OK…it’s a cool look…

I’d be happy to hear what ideas you have for airship configurations. Please comment with your ideas, and be sure to like my Facebook page!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Airship Zeppo flies in Sarasota

30 Oct

I recently finished a commissioned airship order for a nice lady in Sarasota, Florida. She had seen the website and wanted to order an airship for her husband’s birthday. She liked the Victorian airship I had done that was purchased by my friends at Legendary Escapes, (home of Ask the Pool Guy). That ship had beautiful filigree on the bow and fins and was what we’ve come to call th “Maki size”, which is about 36″ long, plus or minus. She didn’t think she had space for one that size, so she decided to go with the smaller sized airship I do that is about 18-20″, but she wanted the filigree. So this is what the airship looks like, delivered and hung in their office. It’s a great location because it seems to float in an opening between their office space and the room beyond…sort of a balcony/overlook. When she sent me the photos after they hung the airship, she called it “Airship Zeppo”, so here’s Zeppo in flight…

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Airship “Zeppo” flies at it’s new home

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Photo of a steampunk airship by Stephan J Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

I think the airship looks fantastic in it’s new home and I hope that the new owners enjoy it for many years to come!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Steampunk Airship delivery to Legendary Escapes!

04 Aug

This past Thursday, one of my latest creations found it’s way into the “clubhouse” and offices at Legendary Escapes Swimming Pools, and is now sailing next to it’s older sister ship, the “Original Maki”. The matriarch of Legendary Escapes, Sandi Maki, who the “sister ship” was named after, couldn’t resist the almost magnetic lure of the new airship when she saw it and sought at once to make the purchase!

Below is a video, shot by Sandi herself, of me talking about the newest addition to the airship collection at Legendary Escapes.

The owners of Legendary Escapes, Al Curtis and Sandi Maki, have always been ardent supporters of Artsmith Craftworks and the artworks that I create using repurposed and found objects. You can find them at the link above, and their very active Facebook page here.

Photo of Maki size medium Victorian Steampunk Airship by Stephan J. Smith of Artsmith Craftworks.

Maki Medium Victorian

Drop me a comment line and let me know what you think of the new airship!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.

 

Prepping found objects for use as art media

19 Jul

In my last post, I spoke of re-purposing being the thing that was nearest and dearest to me artistically. However, I couldn’t use found objects in my art without a little preparation first. In many cases, pieces you find will look cool as is and will need no further preparation, but lots of things will. Below is the short list of material types that I usually use in my work, along with the description of how I prepare them to be used.

1) WOOD – Wood is easy. The surface has a “tooth” to it, even when sanded smooth, so most paint types adhere well. A little scuffing up with sandpaper is often all you need to do to get your new paint to stick and cover well. Wood is also easily shaped and cut if you need to modify the overall outline. You may need to seal the wood with a water based coating before painting to keep the paint from soaking into the wood and looking weird.

2) PAPER – Paper is also easy to use, and believe me, I use it a lot! On my steampunk airships, the areas of copper sheeting and plating are not copper at all, but rather painted pieces of smooth cardstock or cereal box cardboard. It takes paint of nearly any kind, it’s easy to cut into any shape, most glue types work on it and it bends fairly well. You do have to be careful that it doesn’t buckle or separate when bending it though, or it will not retain the metal look. Sometimes paper will need to be sealed before painting if in has an uncoated surface. Metallic paints look dull if you don’t coat the paper or cardstock surface first. If done right, you almost can’t tell that cardboard is not metal.

3) METAL – I don’t use very much metal except for wire and other fasteners like thumbtacks, pins, staples and such. I do use an occasional washer or bolt, but often they’re for ballast and weight more than for construction. When they’re visible, I try to leave them in their nature metallic look with a bit of painted patina or wash for looks.

4) PLASTIC – I wind up using a great many plastic bits and pieces. Like I’ve said before, I save milk jug and peanut butter jar lids, caps from toothpaste, packing and packaging materials, etc, etc. This stuff often has a lot of cool or utilitarian shapes, but the nature of plastic is that it’s very shiny and smooth and it’s usually brightly colored. I do a lot of steampunk stuff and bright colors are definitely NOT the palate, so the pieces need to be painted or stained in some way. The problem is, even when using paints that are specially formulated for plastics, they often don’t adhere well or they flake off if flexed or scraped. And many of the paints you may want to use are not formulated for plastics at all. So… you have to do a decent job of preparing the surface to be painted. I often use a fine grit sandpaper to rough up the surface, however, if I’m using a found plastic piece that has a complicated or grooved or textured surface, sandpaper doesn’t work well. I tried using a scrubby wheel and a dremel tool, and that worked okay, but I now use a vibrating parts tumbler with sand in it. I then use a plastic primer and then my metallic paint.

5) GLASS – I don’t use glass much in most of my work except in my mosaics, but that doesn’t mean you can’t. Many people use repurposed glass as sculpture, in garden art and in window applications. I think mostly, it just needs to be clean and dry so that it accepts glue or other media.

Most anything can be repurposed, you just need to use a little imagination. Experiment with pieces of your own using stuff laying around the house that you don’t want or need anymore. Don’t forget to use the stuff you’d normally throw away as trash!. Have fun and send me pictures of your work!

Stephan J. Smith is the artist and sculptor at Artsmith Craftworks in Swartz Creek, MI. Using recycled and re-purposed materials, Stephan builds a myriad of sculpted wonders, including fantastic and whimsical steampunk airships that have amazed and delighted fans for years. A passion for reusing and up-cycling found items into beautiful and amazing art is what drives Stephan to make art that both teaches and inspires. Stephan also does commissioned work and is available to do talks and classes on re-purposing/up-cycling and may be reached at ArtSmithCraft@yahoo.com or at 810-516-7381.