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Our Gallery: The Crazy World of Sam Van Olffen

The Dieselpunk Encyclopedia is proud to present Sam Van Olffen, one of the greatest dieselpunk artists.
For starters, a short quote from his conversation with Tome Wilson (Dieselpunks.org, Aug. 27, 2009):

This will sound strange but I don’t think that anything comes directly from my brain. I’m just a vector, a kind of supra-physical translator. I’m not kidding. I just use information to make pictures, much as a computer makes pictures with binary language. My synapses translate data which comes from I don’t know where. That’s my role.

Another quote, from an interview published on jacksondeep.com (Oct. 8, 2010):

I’m more interested in the past as a way to understand the present and how in less than one century we all became “citizens of the age of the ephemera” as Alvin Toffler said pertinently. The lost civilizations, the great conflicts, men, discoveries, etc., whole those new quantic waves that were shaping the face of humanity. Needless to say it was more impressive than… Facebook!

There’s a lot to argue about but let’s put the argument aside. And proceed to the third interview, for the Gatehouse Gazette (#8, August 2009):

I have always wanted to create universes and characters, tell stories. I have always been attracted by science fiction and fantasy worlds, robots and monsters.I like big cities, pollution, oppressive atmospheres and everything connected with death. I like architecture and above all I like history. I let things happen. With all these elements combined you get dieselpunk. <…> You are right when you think dieselpunk fits my own style more. It is darker. Dieselpunk is the psychopathic son of steampunk.

Mask

Mask

You probably know that the art of Sam Van Olffen is often labeled as ‘steampunk’. Well, it’s easy, with all these top hats and balloons, Belle Epoque and Art Nouveau aesthetics. But the artist sees himself as a dieselpunk, expanding the genre’s limitations, crossing the borders, threading new paths. Let’s take a look:

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A Steampunk Opera (The Dolls Of New Albion)

Dieselpunk is a fantastic reimagining of the period from about 1920 through the 40s. Dieselpunk tends to be darker than its steampunk cousin. It’s flexible in that it can incorporate stories which do NOT take place in that time period but are heavily permeated with that period’s feel and flare. A noir style detective piece set on the planet Zamboozala 6 for instance would be dieselpunk if the feel were indeed central to the piece. Stories set around the technology level of the period most certainly count too.

Thus it is that we list the 10 best Dieselpunk movies made, even though in almost all cases the film makers did not set out to make their films be “Dieselpunk” or indeed were even aware of the term.

10. Captain America

The most recent on this list, and while not the jaw dropping classic some of the others ones are, it’s a…

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Summer Report

Six months ago, we started this website. Now it’s time for summing up a bit. No need to tell us that the stats are oooh sooo boooring, everybody knows it. To add a dieselpunk twist, we’ll mix the numbers with some fantastic creations of Tolga Toykoç aka ttvortex, a concept artist from Turkey (to see higher-resolution images please visit his gallery @ Deviantart).

XB-7 Death Dealer by ttvortex

XB-7 Death Dealer by ttvortex

Now, to the stats. More than 52 thousand visits. Daily average: 283 hits. Not bad. Still we have to work a lot to surpass the success of our Grand Opening (Jan. 1, 2012) – 2,107 visits in one day!

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Our Gallery: Pocket Modernism

These days, many good Dieselpunks think about purchasing a pocket watch. Stylish accessory as it is, such watch gives some reasons for a doubt: isn’t it too old-fashioned? Too steampunk-y? Too far away from the Interbellum aesthetics?

OK, the Diesel Era legacy is very diverse. Most pocket watches offered today are loosely based on the so-called “classic” examples, Victorian or Edwardian or even 18th century timepieces. But a closer look at the actual watches made between the two world wars reveals that this useful device can be ultra-thin, ultra-modern and ultra-sophisticated. It can be digital, you know – in a Dieselpunk sense of the word. Here is a small gallery to help you believe in the watchmakers’ genius. Probably it will also help you to make your choice.

Ulysse Nardin Watch with 10 Complications. 1936

Ulysse Nardin Watch with 10 Complications. 1936

Old-fashioned, you say? Just old-fashioned enough to match your pinstripe suit or military-style outfit.

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Posted by on June 16, 2012 in art, dieselpunk, inspiration

 

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Our Gallery: News from Diesel City

The world will never be the same.

Why?

The answer is simple: there’s a new book, just out of print, 200 pages capable of changing your world forever. You probably thought that Dieselpunk is about bizarre machinery, heroic aviators and cynical private detectives, movie divas and pretty flapper girls, Art Deco and Streamline Moderne aesthetics… But it’s much more than this.

Diesel City cover by Stefan

Stefan Prohaczka, the author, calls himself a “diesel powered artist”.  We believe it is an understatement: a man responsible for a score of Dieselpunk masterpieces should be called a pillar of the genre. Three years ago he joined the Diesel crowd and since then contributed a lot to various projects, from Dieselpunks Network to our Encyclopedia (see the emblem). After a salvo of pictorial series, covers and stand-alone posters here comes a ‘black box’ containing not only familiar images but also some information – finally deciphered.

Diesel Hero by Stefan

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Our Gallery: Jon Hall’s Air Power

We are proud to present the creations of Jon Hall, an outstanding dieselpunk aircraft designer who builds amazing flying machines using LEGO plastic bricks. His work is highly acclaimed by both LEGO enthusiasts and dieselheads all over the world.

Mr. Hall wrote in his Flickr profile:

“I’m a thirtysomething graphic designer ( and ex- computer game artist, and ex- film and tv animator, and all round geek ). I live in London with my girlfriend and my 2 sons. I’m currently working at book publisher Dorling Kindersley’s Licensing department where I work with companies such as Pixar, Lego, Marvel, Lucasfilm and Disney to produce books based on their films and comics etc.”

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Leonardo Da Vinci

Here is a small selection of his aircraft, created in 2009-2012, with some comments from the author:

Savoia 21

Savoia S-21
A Lego model I made of Porco’s seaplane from the Studio Ghibli film ‘Porco Rosso’

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Our Gallery: Dieselpunk Timetools

Some dieselpunks do not need a watch. They are happy with their computers, cell phones and all kinds of gadgets, each one fitted with an electronic clock. For those who are looking for a “timepiece in style”, we are here with some tips.

Disclaimer: Dieselpunk Encyclopedia is a non-commercial body. All images are posted here on their aesthetical, historical and educational value only.

Since the Diesel Era was the Golden Age of aviation, pilot’s watch is a most obvious choice. But don’t hurry to shop for oversize multi-dial timepieces – nearly an inch thick, two inches wide, weighing half a pound and sporting a huge crown. First of all, will it fit your hand? What is good for the former Governor of California is good for someone else not for everyone. Second of all, sometimes understatement is the best statement. And the Golden Age aviation timetools with all their complications and navigating/calculating capabilities, were of modest dimensions. 70 years ago, a 42mm-wide watch, “normal” by today’s standards, was definitely oversize. The vast majority of aviation chronometers and chronographs were 35-39mm wide (w/o crown).

For example, this Omega WWW watch,* issued to the RAF in 1944, is 37.5mm wide:

Omega Cal. 30 T2 British Military WWW 1944

Omega Cal. 30 T2 British Military WWW 1944

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Our Gallery: Alternative Military Style

Looks can kill. They can also ignite a discussion.

Last year, one Anarchist lady accused our fellow dieselpunks (those who sport military style outfits) of pro-Nazi aspirations and proposed to adopt the Spanish Republicans / WWII Resistance as a source of inspiration. Indeed, the irregulars’ looks have a lot in common with the “punk” component of the movement but we cannot ignore the desire to reflect the “orderly” aspect of the Diesel Era.

Speaking for this Encyclopedia’s staff, we must say that no one of us sees WWII German uniform as “cool” or “sexy”. It will be always associated with the crimes against humanity and any attempt to revive it inside dieselpunk crowd should be condemned (WWII reenactment is another story). On the other hand, it is simply stupid to label a guy who modeled his outfit on the New Jersey State Police uniform as a “Nazi sympathizer”.

It is true that some elements of the German militaria are widely imitated and commercialized, especially in the Far East. One of the reasons for this is the lack of information on other uniforms. The common knowledge is limited to the looks of the US, British, German and post-1943 Soviet servicemen. This limits our imagination. To broaden the horizons, we decided to publish a few examples of late 1930s – early 1940s uniforms.

Uniforms 1 - Australia

1941 Mar., Syria, Private, 7th Division
1941 May, Tobruk, Private, 9th Division


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Our Gallery: The Future That Never Was

Let us begin with a few quotes from donaguirre‘s gallery @ Deviantart:

Eldorado, a former colony of the Kingdom of Albion, became an independent monarchy in 1776 (“No Eldoradian King – no eldoradian taxes !”), when the King of Albion addressed the elected King of Eldorado as “mon frère” for the first time in the “Dépêche fraternelle”, which is nowadays exhibited in the N.H.City National Museum. Monarchy became constitutional with the end of the Eldoradian civil war (1861-65), when the confederate states abolished absolutism. The Kings name is Jacob ever since (the royal coat of arms reads “Iacobus Rex”), but most Eldoradians use to refer to his majesty as “Jack”.

Two Elekktra-II support airships maneuvering in the docking perimeter of Atlantis station. Elekktrae docked the MPRP on a regular base to keep both, technical installations and crew, operational. A common air force nickname for HE-II standard support vessels was “Milk Cow”, abbreviated as “MC” in radio code.

An early Elekktra class (HE-I) rigid airship entering the landing perimeter of the Westworld Testing Facility “WTF”, (sometimes called “Where The F***), also known as “the dry castle” or “napkinworx”, as the area was situated in the Western Territories’ vast desert regions and due to Citizen Hugges’ often documented habit to scribble ideas onto napkins while in a restaurant to “save them for mankind”, expecting his technical staff to bring them to fruition exactly as seen on his 30 second blueprint.

The Future That Never Was by donaguirre (2010)

The Future That Never Was by donaguirre (2010)

…in short, a whole brave new world with its own history, folklore and humor. Sometimes dark, sometimes full of sunlight, always streamlined and uncompromisingly dieselpunk. Welcome to the Future That Never Was!

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Our Gallery: Postcards from Shanghai

This gallery is inspired by a discussion @ Dieselpunks.org. Just a few quotes:

Atterton: One place that seems iconic for the 30s and 40s is Shanghai. It seems to have been an interesting blend of east and west, as well as popularizing the look of women in red qipaos.

Cap’n Tony: Certainly All Things Chinese (in Western eyes), be it Shanghai or Chinatown, Mandarin Dresses and silk sport coats, Ming vases and Chinese architecture, Opium Dens and Tea Houses, or (unfortunately) Yellow Peril & Dragon Lady stereotypes, are intrinsically linked to the Diesel aestetic.

lord_k: In my eyes, 1920s-1930s Shanghai is the Dieselpunk capital of Asia – with its Deco architecture, rapid development and everything Western mixed with everything Oriental.

Komissar Hass: Personally having lived in Shanghai for some years in childhood, and having visited it last spring once more, I can say that now it gives a feel of some morbid, yet fascinating “oriental-capitalist-revolutianary-communist-mafia” dieselpunk mix simultaneously with classic cyberpunk images.

Matthew Seibel: I’d love to read a Dieselpunk story set in Shanghai… that’d rock! And we’ve got a perfect setting for the story.

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