Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Cape Revisited

Last March I posted about my top hat being purchased for the NBC show The Cape. Well, last Sunday in episode three Kozmo it appeared in the hands and on the head of magician character Max Malini.

The only problem being poor Max is wearing it backwards! The seam shouldn't be in the front. Later in the episode the Russian villain Gregor Molotov poses as Max by wearing his coat and hat. He also has the hat on backwards! Watch the full episode here.

Useless triva: Keith David, who plays the character of Max and is pictured above, also played the father in There's Something About Mary. His wife's character was played by Markie Post with whom I went to high school.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tauruscat: All Hooked Up

I have taken my replica of Professor Tauruscat's dream helmet from the shelf and dusted it off. Although it has been six months since I last worked on it, I have a good excuse. I've been busy! My leatherwork has been much in demand——and I am grateful for that——to the point of where my wife and I are making a living from it. Huzzah!

In my last missive on the helmet I had completed the insulators which attach to the crest, seen in the photo above. Next step was to cut the crest trim out of 2-3 oz leather and attach it to the bottom of the crest.

Here is the bottom view when the trim is mostly screwed in place. I then set the crest in place and bolted it to the leather helmet.

At that point I could attach the connecting hoses to both the insulators on the crest and the sensors all around the helmet.

Finally I can see what this crazy helmet is going to look like. Now a few blinking lights to give it life, and some aether collectors on the back to power it, and I'll be wearing it proudly to the Nova Albion con coming in March.

For those of you who may have missed the beginning of this saga (or forgotten due to it being almost a year ago) you may read it here from the beginning.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I Make Steampunk Gas Masks

A gas mask is a piece of equipment worn on the face whose purpose is to purify the air being breathed. While it is fundamentally functional it becomes part of the costume as it dramatically alters the appearance of the wearer. This can be perceived by the viewer as either terrifying—as one resembles a monster—or humorous—as one becomes a silly clown.

Modern gas masks are made of synthetic rubber, but historical gas masks—first made in the late nineteenth century—were constructed primarily of leather with metal fittings. In a dystopian steampunk world which might have been, there is greater unregulated industrialization and unexplained disasters, resulting in gross pollution of the air. This in turn leads to ordinary folk wearing gas masks on a regular basis.

As a steampunk artist, my creative challenge is to imagine what this equipment might have looked like. I like to combine the terrifying with the silly so as to invoke curiosity and wonder. The antiqued leatherwork looks like it came from the nineteenth century, but the form of the masks—which might resemble a rhinoceros or an elephant—are pure fantasy.