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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Discovering the world of Steampunk

Last weekend steampunk aficionados from around Europe met at Fond-de-Gras in Luxembourg for the annual Steampunk convention in Luxembourg.

"Steam-what?", I hear you say.

In Wikipedia's words: "Steampunk refers to a sub-genre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery."

Think of a world set in Victorian England or the Wild West with inspiration from Jules Verne's books and similar stories come to life.

This particular convention is the only one of its kind in Luxembourg and has been taking place at Fond-de-Gras for a few years now.

It is the perfect location, as it has traces of the country's mining past and an old steam-powered train is put back in service for the occasion.

Tophats, goggles, feathered hats and metal wings
The event is getting bigger but is still small enough to make it cosy, with many people dressing up in steampunk fashion, concerts in 19th century style, small food stations and lots of steampunk merchandise to admire and buy.

Batman joined the fun
The good thing about this event, from a sketcher's perspective and other than all the interesting things you find there, is that the people who dress up come to see and be seen, which means they don't mind being photographed or sketched.

As we sat at one of the tables eating delicious scones with jam and clotted cream, I had my pick of subjects. As always, I used my stealth technique at first, but people looked so interesting that I really wanted to be able to have a more direct approach to my subject

Looked just like a lady waiting for her tea in a 19th century London tea room
Luckily, we had very friendly table companions and I asked a gentleman if he minded my making his portrait. He kindly obliged and I must say he was a very patient model.

His name is John Blacksteam and he is one of the founders of the steampunk community in Switzerland. I'm not sure whether it is his real name or a stage name, but it suits him.

He had a very interesting face, complemented by a surprising hat
Maybe we'll meet again at next year's steampunk convention and I'll do another portrait of him.

It sure is fun sketching people in steampunk fashion. It almost feels like stepping back in time.