More than two years ago, I was lucky enough to get an advanced electronic preview of Art Donaovan’s The Art of Steampunk. Now, The Art of Steampunk, Revised Second Edition: Extraordinary Devices and Ingenious Contraptions from the Leading Artists of the Steampunk Movement has been released and I can only say: I am blown away!
Not only because the print version seems so much more real than the electronic version of the first edition that I have got but also because of the expansion of the material. Art Donovan has expanded the selection of artists considerably and also added some background on the Steampunk subculture and new developments since the first edition. All in all it makes for 40 pages of new material and now also encompasses costume designs, paintings, collages and photographic manipulations.
Mr. Donovan has also expanded the range of featured artists into countries some may not know have an active Steampunk scene: Finnabair, a lady from Poland (you can find her on Facebook and she also has an official blog) and Filip Sawezuk, who also hails from Poland but now resides in Australia. Mr. Donovan has also chosen two more big names to include in the book, Evelyn Kriete and G.D. Falksen. Both are so well known, especially in the US scene, and their work so prominent, their presence in the book does not really add much.
I would have thought it much better for showing the full scope of the global subculture to add one or two artists from countries with very active scenes but who do not feature in the book at all. Decimononic of Spain and Sven Möller (a.k.a Admiral Ravensdale) of Germany come to mind.
But this is the only grievance I have with this book. It gives a beautiful and expansive view of the visual art produced in the Steampunk scene. It also serves as a good introduction to Steampunk itself. After going through the book, everybody should have a definite idea of what Steampunk aesthetics are all about.
9 of 10 Zeppelins.