Today we celebrate the art of rodolforever, a Mexican illustrator and graphic designer who developed a passion for comic books and superhero movies – and it shows!
Here is a short selection of his posters and illustrations embracing Art Deco and Ancient Greek mythology, Expressionist movies and Conan Doyle, vamipres and robots.
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Diesel Era was the golden age of speed records. Every new achievement instantly sparked a need to achieve more. The pace of progress was breathtaking: in 1900, 100 miles per hour sounded like science-fiction; by 1910, it was an already broken limit; in early 1920s, new sleek aircraft reached a 200mph mark; in 1930s, there were cars running at 300mph and floatplanes (yes, floatplanes!) hitting 400. Everything moved faster – not only automobiles and aeroplanes but also trains, passenger liners and warships.
Of course, it’s not a world records list. Just a gallery for your entertainment and inspiration. But believe us, there is a lot to see!
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Today, we are proud to present Waldemar Kazak, an illustrator from Tver, Russia. Mr. Kazak is very active in the media. There are just a few dieselpunk-related works in his portfolio, but quantity doesn’t really matter: Mr. Kazak is a house name in the diesel crowd and his art is appreciated by the dieselheads all over the globe. Here are some paintings, in chronological order – from 2008, when his DeviantArt gallery was discovered by dieselpunk community, through 2012.
Dystopian dieselpunk can be fun. It is possible to turn horror into a cartoon. And humor can provoke serious thoughts without being too weird or too bitter.
A symbol, a trope, a hallmark, a cliché – call it by any other name, the airship is inseparable from Dieselpunk. Our alternative skies are full of dirigibles, real and unreal, peaceful transports and dangerous battleships. These giants can be seen as the ultimate expression of Diesel Era spirit and, at the same time, of contemporary retro-futuristic vision.
The most famous airship career ended in a disaster. But the Lakehurst explosion was probably the saddest episode in a long chain of disasters, and the Hindenburg was the largest and most luxurious of many Interbellum airships, some of them well forgotten. Let’s see what we can incorporate into our Dieselpunk setting.
Only recently we discovered a modern artist who perfectly combines Diesel Era artifacts with today’s attitude. His artwork won’t seem out of place in a 1930s club or post office or gallery. But is it old-fashioned? Just well-rooted.
A short note from Bonner David Gallery website:
LaDuke’s narrative paintings are a combination of memories, dreams and everyday life, and as such his work remains open-ended. Paintings which tell a complete story from beginning to end are not compelling to him. He puts a lot of personal iconography into each piece, but does not wish to dictate a strict narrative.
LaDuke prefers viewers find their own interpretation of his work. Ideally, LaDuke’s desire is to paint works which create more questions than answers. Viewers are free to imagine multiple meanings in his work…
We can add something: Robert LaDuke’s post-modernism has a lot in common with 1920s and 1930s metaphysical art. The objects – all these aircraft, locomotives, skyscrapers, cars and trailers – are recognizable and realistic but the atmosphere is surreal, enigmatic, unpredictable.
Let’s open our eyes and turn our imagination on.
A few months ago, we did our best to furnish your Dieselpunk setting with 1910s artifacts. Not Diesel Era yet but certainly not Steam Age. How should we call this period – Edwardian? Maybe, but King Edward VII left this world on May 6, 1910. Proto-Diesel? Too pompous. Let’s agree on a somewhat less spectacular but chronologically correct term – Transition. A bridge between two great eras, embracing old and new aesthetics and ideas.
Today, we’d like to celebrate Speed and Power. For example, the car above, the Blitzen Benz, is powered by a 21.5-litre 200hp engine. On April 23, 1911, Bob Burman – remember the guy with goggles? – piloted it to an average of 228.1 kilometres per hour (141.7 mph) over a full mile at Daytona Beach, a record that would not be surpassed until 1919.
Dieselpunk Encyclopedia is happy to present: Tim Huhn and his Art Deco Series.
On the Just Looking Gallery website there is a short info about the artist:
After graduating from the prestigious California College of Arts and Crafts with a Bachelors degree in Fine Arts and Illustration Huhn worked as a commercial illustrator for companies such as Disney, Universal Studios, Sony & Mattel. After leaving Los Angeles and the commercial world of art, Huhn began to develop a body of fine art while living on the Central Coast of California. Huhn’s experience as an illustrator has enabled him to work in a number of mediums and styles including photorealism and art deco.
We can add something:Tim Huhn’s artwork bears more than a passing resemblance to the famous WPA murals. It’s fun to see a modern artist who, just like his idealistic forerunners in 1930s, is not afraid of figurative art. An artist whose creations are full of positive spirit.
Francisco Salamone (1897-1959) was an Italian-Argentine architect who lived and worked in Argentina, built in just four years, between 1936 and 1940, more than 60 buildings in 25 municipalities of the Province of Buenos Aires.
Monumental Art Deco buildings, including cemeteries, municipalities, slaughterhouses, squares and bridges.
They were forgotten until recent years and today they are revalued. (Source)
It’s hard to define the style of Salamone – maybe it’s a very special kind of Art Deco, influenced by Italian Futurism, maybe “monumental modernism” label suits it better. Anyway, this architect (you can read more about him on Dieselpunks.org) built a perfect setting for a Dieselpunk story, dark or bright, Ottensian or Piecraftian.
Let’s enter this strange world of municipal edifices, slaughterhouses and cemeteries.
Dieselpunk is proud to present The 19XX Organization.
Somewhere in the 20th century…
not long after the end of the Great War, those who were capable of hearing it, received a revelation… another Great War was coming. This coming war would push the limits of technology, split the atom to create the power of a small star, and bring together forces more evil than the world has ever known. That this war would happen was man’s fatal destiny, but the outcome of the war and the details of it were not as clear. A weak League of Nations banded together to form a group. A group capable of doing what those countries could not. A group of adventurers, explorers, and scientists from every allied country to search the globe and fight a battle far from the public eye. This group is The 19XX, all the public has been told is that they are fighting for all of the good in humanity to survive the nineteen hundreds and beyond.
Their mission is to track down every powerful relic, every modern and undiscovered weapon, and every magic incantation ever uttered on the earth’s crust, because the forces of evil responsible for the next Great War would be searching for the very same thing. Nothing in the realm of the tangible or intangible is off limits when the fate of the entire world is at stake.
You can set your dieselpunk story in Gotham or Metropolis, Librium or Antarctica. You can build the most incredible structures and fill the streets and hangars with every kind of weird machines. The sky is the limit! But you need something more: the atmosphere. No matter how optimistic you are, the genre simply cannot do without a bit of darkness. Stylish darkness. So, what about Noir?
We won’t bore you with academic definitions. Just two quotes from a highly readable TV Tropes article:
The Anti-Hero is the most common protagonist of the Noir — a man alienated from society, suffering an existential crisis. Frequently portrayed as a disillusioned, cynical police officer or private-eye and played by a fast-talking actor, the Anti-Hero is no fool and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He faces morally ambiguous decisions and battles with a world that seems like it is out to get him and/or those closest to him.
The setting is often a large, oppressive city (filmed in dark and dusky conditions to create a moody atmosphere), with Mexico often playing a big role. Familiar haunts include dimly-lit bars, nightclubs filled with questionable clientele (including, the Gayngster) whom the lead may intimidate for information, gambling dens, juke joints and the ubiquitous seedy waterfront warehouse. At night in the big city, you can bet the streets are slick with rain, reflecting streetlights like a Hopper painting. Most of the characters (including the lead) are cynical, misanthropical and hopeless all the way through the film, and never find true redemption.
Desolation. Suspense. Dark air electrified with danger and sin. Shady spots lost between back alleys. Strong drinks and heavy smoke. Dim lights. Charcoal coats and sharkskin suits. Black gunmetal. False friends. Ladies you never can trust… Don’t get paranoid. And if you do, remember: even paranoids have enemies. They are following your steps. Now!