Steampunk is an artistic genre that began in the 1980s and 1990s. Steampunk is a combination of science fiction, fantasy and history. It is based on existing ideas, such as the clockwork machines of the Victorian era, but includes situations that don’t exist in reality, such as travelling through time or humans living in deep space.
Tattoos that bring Steampunk to Skin
Steampunk art is often filled with clockwork elements, mostly depicted in yellow metals such as brass. Often the casings of these clockwork mechanisms will also be made of brass or copper. Because of the antique nature of steampunk designs, tattoo artists can create a wealth of textures within a steampunk tattoo design such as shiny metal, leather, wood and in some cases, rust. Most steampunk tattoo designs show mechanics that aren’t rusted, but for those who want an authentic appeal, wear and tear can be added to the design to give the impression that the clockwork in the tattoo has survived many decades, or perhaps even traveled through time.
Steampunk ideas are often based on alternate history. This means that a fictional story is set in a previous human era, but the author has literally re-written history so that mankind experiences something other than what really did happen. In this way, steampunk artists and authors can send characters from Victorian England to alien planets or through time to a period of the world that remains a mystery to scientists.
There are several famous authors who have unwittingly affected the realm of steampunk. In 1818, the author Mary Shelley penned the novel Frankenstein: or the Modern Prometheus. In the book, Shelley describes a psychotic scientist who brings to life a humanoid creature built out of body parts of the deceased. Harnessing the power of lightning, as described in the book, must have seemed a terrible and terrifying act for readers of the 19th century. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein novel has inspired other authors and artists to design machines that can perform miracles just as the machine did in Frankenstein, bringing the monster to life.
H.G. Wells is sometimes referred to as “the father of science fiction”. His book The Time Machine (1895) told the story of a man who builds a mechanical buggy that transports its passenger through time. The idea of time travel is science fiction because it hasn’t yet been achieved by scientists, only imagined by authors like H.G. Wells. The imagery created by Wells’ novel is what gives the Victorian flavor to steampunk art and tattoo designs.
Steampunk Tattoos for Mechanical Animals
Steampunk is sometimes referred to as Victorian fantasy, because of its connection to the Victorian era experienced in England under the reign of queen Victoria. The influence of Victorian art styles on steampunk tattoos is the addition of other Victorian elements into the design such as lace, corsets and parasols for women and cravats, canes and pocket watches for men. Steampunk tattoos will often depict these items in a different way, adding to the alternate reality often described in steampunk art.
Some steampunk tattoos are a form of removed flesh tattoos, the kind of body art that creates the illusion that the skin has been removed to reveal what lies beneath. In the case of removed flesh steampunk tattoos, there are often mechanical parts shown “inside” the body, such as cogs, wheels, chains and pistons. These tattoos are also referred to as removed flesh clockwork tattoos or removed flesh mechanical tattoos. Whatever the name, the effect is the same; the tattoo artist has created an optical illusion on skin, giving the impression that beneath the flesh and skin, the person is a steampunk robot.
Animals and other organic elements are sometimes included in steampunk designs. Clockwork beetles are fairly common, as are dragonflies and other insects. Sometimes an organic element like bird wings will be combined with a steampunk machine to create a way to mechanize the wings and re-animate them.
The genre of steampunk merges elements from science fiction and fantasy, history and prophecy. It is a highly complex art style that is still gaining popularity through media such as comic books, novels, movies and animations. Steampunk tattoos are still fairly rare, even though they are interesting to look at.