0

Sometimes an art installation is more than just a nail in the wall….

Laying down the body of the device.. from YouTube
This may look like the demise of the device, but it was just the beginning of the install at the museum.
When you have a vision this large, it takes large equipment to get it moved. The Body had to be laid on its side in order to fit through the streets of Grand Rapids.
We were all proud that the device was able to be lifted by crane, laid on its side, driven 12 miles, lifted back up by crane and set down still square.

1

Steampunk and Surrealism.. just go together

If you’re not on my list of friends, or followers on any of my feeds. then chances are you are coming in for Artprize related things, have seen us on […]

If you’re not on my list of friends, or followers on any of my feeds. then chances are you are coming in for Artprize related things, have seen us on the news, or just stumbled upon this page – and you may not quite know what “steampunk” is.

In a nutshell, Steampunk is a return to the days when people were familiar with the technology they used, nearly intimate… but not in any sort of naughty or profane way… I am sure there is another name for that…

… but what I am talking about: Those times when something broke, the owner knew how to fix it. If the part was broken, they knew who to go to to have the part made, if they didn’t make it themselves. Everything was quality: quality materials, quality craftsmanship; The things you owned, if they broke (which was far less likely), you fixed them, because they were just that awesome… nice wood, bits of brass or steel… every part, every gear, every cog, crafted with pride and often decorative for no good reason other than to say “I made this, and I did a fantastic job of it”.

On the flip side of using old technologies, familiarizing ourselves with them, revisiting old inventions and designs that were unsuccessful perhaps due to a lack of the proper materials or support technologies – is familiarizing ourselves with the technologies of today, on the same level that people were once familiar with the technologies of their day.

We splice, we cut, we reprogram e-proms, we wire in computers or computer parts for controls… maybe powered by a sterling engine, or an 1800’s-style solar energy, or a gasinator, or whatever the heck we can make out of a bucket of discarded scrap and some broken antiques… we use, and re-use *everything*. Ours is a culture of reliability, sustainability, eco-conscious, and an opposite to the modern day way of throwing away what is broken or discarding anything that is more than three weeks old for the next new thing… another piece of plastic, old the day it is unboxed.

But again, it is about quality, pride, and ingenuity…

Which is much like any good painting or other artwork…

Art should focus is on quality and craftsmanship… like the paintings of our  beloved eras, where people actually cared about what they were doing: from the canvas chose, the gesso layered, into the pigments picked and mixed by hand – with great attention to detail and every detail about the details.

… That sort of realism and attention to detail one would expect of John Singer Sargent – and other proud artisans- from those days before everyone grew up expecting to be a celebrity or famous… without any required effort or skill… the age of entitlement, and this “the Emperor Has No Clothes” mode of assessing and promoting art in order to satisfy the sort of fast-food way that has filtered into every aspect of life and business.

No paint dumps here, no splotchy works painted with various unspeakable body parts, no sob story, or heartwarming tale, or intriguing title to make up for lack of work or imagination… skill, and attention to quality are  essential.

In this, there is something incredible quite about seeing a real-world object recreated perfectly with pen or pencil or in paint – yet… quite incredible considering that such images used to be done entirely from eye or from memory… but we live in the age of cameras and scans and enlargements – which not only renders realism tedious and completely unnecessary, but somewhat lackluster and less than special these days. These days, there isn’t much point in having a perfect pencil drawing of en existing object, when it could be photographed, and likely was photographed before the drawing.

Surrealism, is applying the actual skills of old, while going above and beyond to create images of things that do not, did not, might not ever exist, and pushing one step further towards “cannot” for those who apply themselves. In effort, and application, it excels to be something beyond mere abstract and beyond realism.

There is that exciting spirit of inventiveness and imagination, combined with the traditional dedication to hard work that was once the mark of artisans, artists, and craftsmen – seeking to make the unreal real, or at least seemingly likely if only in its own self-contained and self-made world. For this reason alone I feel it fits remarkably well with the genre, which based in speculative fiction, both requires and inspires these sorts of works.

Steampunk, craftsmanship and pride in work aside, is about imagining and re-imagining – looking at the future through the eyes of the past, and vise-versa – to create something bold and new, plausible, perhaps even possible – mixed with a wonderful touch of impossibility and improbability – the subculture in itself is a sort of surrealism – more than merely fantasy, bound to science, history, practical knowledge, self-reliability, and sustainability- it ties the real to the unreal, tangible and intangible – and inspires us to dream the impossible, while exploring the very fringe of possibility.

Our project, is in the spirit of steampunk and in the spirit of surrealism. Fantastical in nature, and tedious in its crafting. Bordering on impossible and improbable from the very beginning stages… yet certain to happen. do or die. Everything from the painting itself, to the structure it is painted on, to the structure surrounding it, and the engines powering it, embodies this spirit… the best woods, the best primers, the best paints, and painstaking effort in every detail from the planning up…

I am very proud to be a part of this project, and do hope you come out to see it between the 21st and the 28th. I also ask you to take the time to register to vote (at a number of official Artprize hubs throughout downtown), and vote for our project. Voting is highly important to this contest – and the beauty of this contest is that it allows the people to decide what is art, what isn’t what is good, and what they would like to see more of.

Hopefully ours is a project that leaves you wanting to see more from us. I feel it will be, we’ve worked very hard to make it so.

Thank you for supporting us, and for your interest and participation, this has been a wonderful experience already,

Myke Amend

0

Team members and sponsors needed. Join the Infernal Crew!

We have 24 days to go before our set up for Artprize at the Gerald R Ford Museum, and we have a lot of work  to do. Just how big […]

We have 24 days to go before our set up for Artprize at the Gerald R Ford Museum, and we have a lot of work  to do.

Just how big this project is, from the wind collector built by Todd Cahill, to the structure being built in Kokomo Indiana by David Braun of Cogbots, to the huge drum being built to support the mural, to the mural itself is astounding – and then there are all of those less visible but equally important parts needed to keep this project going and to make it a success… transportation, shipping, supplies, extra hands to move the big parts around, lay down primer and paint, brushes, rollers, sprayers, and so many other things – and we would really love to have you on board for this project.

We could really use some added artists and painting help – people who can fill in color, or detail on the big drum – a 3 month project that will have 23 days from start to finish – and we need your help at whatever your comfort level is with painting. Myke would be happy to have you, and happy to lend pointers, tips, and insight where and when requested.

We also need painters on standby for when the outer structure arrives from Kokomo Indiana, as well as set/stage design enthusiasts to help us transform this thing into the Steampunk aesthetic with bits of slavaged brass, copper, and various vintage bits. We are incredibly fortunate to have paint donated by Repcolite paints, and more on the way from DickBlick – but people to help put the paints onto the exhibit would be an incredibly helpful part of this exhibit.

As much as any of these – added hands would be greatly appreciated. Myke has a three person job going down at the warehouse provided by Van’s Delivery Service. On the better days he has help, but there are many hours where an added hand to lift a big part or steady a beam would be incredibly helpful if not essential.

Street teamers, or just a person or two to man the art show/exhibit/merch table at the build site, meeters and greeters would be especially helpful also.

And we still have room for a few sponsors: This project turned out to be way more expensive than anticipated, and we have all been working out of pocket for over a month now. Myke has been scraping change for odd parts and supplies and gas on his end, and we are coming up on a point where we’ll need funds to move the huge structure from Indiana, as well as funds to get Todd Cahill and Amy Kinsch out here for Artprize, as well as finding a place to stay for all 4 of the out of town artists for their time here.

We could use sponsorship in the form of , of course, cash donations to keep the project going and on track, but also gift cards for building supplies and tools or tool rentals, gas, caffeine, red bull, ice, other odds and ends  – from travel agencies or airlines for getting Todd and Amy out here. Donations are being taken by the Kokomo Arts Association (a 501(c)3)  for “the infernal device project”

Purchases of T-shirts, coloring books, prints, original artworks would be greatly appreciated; Some of these things are available here online – all are available at our warehouse – and open houses are every day from 5 to 10 PM for anyone who would like to see the project, grab some merch, lend some support, or lend a helping hand.

Our Warehouse is at 2474 Turner Avenue NW, a stone’s throw from the Deltaplex. Come in at the blue “Jarob” sign, go past the second ramp, and look for the orange buckets marking our lot. If the doors are closed, look for the Infernal Device sign on the door – if they are open, just look for the large wooden drum in the garage bay.

0

News, Helpers Wanted, Sponsorships available

We’re back from our guest showing at this year’s Maker Faire Detroit, and it was a blast, of heat and relentless Sun… but we also had a blast there.

Infernal Team - Myke Amend, Todd Cahill, Dave Braun

The Infernal Crew - Myke Amend, Todd Cahill, Dave Braun - Photo taken by our friends at The Steampig Experiment

Maker Faire made for the perfect opportunity for we artists to meet up in person, exchange parts, take measurements, and make pans for the final build – and we met a lot of wonderful people there; Many which were about as enamored as we were with Todd’s beautiful work on his wind capturing device.

Todd Cahill's Wondrous Wind Device

Todd Cahill's Wondrous Wind Device at Maker Faire Detroit

I brought the outer shell the drum with me, and the early prototype, so as show the general scale of this thing to onlookers and teammates alike, but with the high winds and without the proper frame built yet. Plans to piece it together temporarily were set aside in order to avoid damaging it.

We saw hulking fire breathing mechanical dragons, bikes disguised as giant cupcakes, the beautiful stage setup  of Theater Bizarre, antique traction motors and other farm machinery, and so many wonderful gadgets and inventions – many of which being piloted around the event.

Below: Todd Cahill talks some about the Wind Device, which will be at the very top of our huge kinetic sculpture. Sorry about all the wind in the microphone, but if you can’t hear Todd, you can still follow his hand movements…

Now we are back into full swing preparing for Artprize. Dave has the base structure completed in Kokomo Indiana, we have the wind device safely tucked away  at Van’s Delivery Service, and I have the drum *mostly* assembled – another day or so and the building part of it should be *mostly* done.

 

Dave - Framing the base structure

Dave - Framing the base structure

We will however need urgently to start fund raising again in order to stay on target, this will include fund-raising parties and picnics, selling more wares here on our store, and maybe a little bit of passing around the hat in order to get those last little things we need, and to ensure that all of our team members and parts will be able to converge on Grand Rapids over the following weeks to meet at Van’s Delivery Service for the pre-build, and to bring the machine finally to its Artprize venue: The Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum.

We will also need a *lot* of help – from street  teamers, to event organizers, to helpers with painting – and hopefully some of those things that will make this come together a *lot* more smoothly.

Supports for Drum

The Supports for the drum which will be the 21-foot spinning mural.

We would *really* like to find some great companies or teams who do:

– Painting on large scale… auto painting companies to repaint the wind devce all nice and new, outdoor painting contractors to do the base painting on the drum and the structure

– Paint suppliers to help us with the incredible amount and assortment of paint that this will take

– Suppliers of art supplies, for the art paints needed and brushes and other assorted supplies

– Hardware stores for all the extra bits and pieces, and to ensure we have what we need on hand at build time.

– Lumber suppliers for those last little bits of lumber we will need – and some carpentry help on hand would be greatly appreciated.

– Metal fabricators to help us with the two 8 foot diameter and 1 foot tall cylinders we will need for the footer and cap of the mural.

– PR help to keep our press and momentum going, and to help us regain what slipped when we were in such heavy work mode.

– Artists – student or professional – Yep. I wanted to be painting this thing in June, but having to cover the last month’s worth of work and parts and travel out of our own pockets, and being the only person wrangling this huge 7-sided construction job… the drum is only just now reaching completion. I can finish it by September… but with some skilled painters to help out, we can finish it even better, make more out of it.

The Kokomo Arts Association, a 501(c)3, is helping us and there to collect whatever gift cards, supplies, parts, or donations of cash we can get. If your company is interested in partnering with us in this way, or if you know someone who might be  – please contact us via our contact page: http://infernaldevice.net/Artprize/contact/ – in return we can offer your logo on our banners, our web site, and our promotional materials – as well as inclusion in our postings, tweets, facebook updates, and elsewhere – PLUS the opportunity to be a part of something huge and positive.

0

New Shirt Design

Well, actually it is an improvement and upgrade on the previously proposed tee shirt design. Now that we’re ready to go to production on these, I started off doing some […]

Well, actually it is an improvement and upgrade on the previously proposed tee shirt design. Now that we’re ready to go to production on these, I started off doing some graphical cleanup and decided it would be cooler if the shirts were two sided and had fancier text on them.

I’m catching up from the kickstarter – having sent out files and orders for all elated prints, the coloring books, the downloads and other rewards we offered – the limited edition tee shirts for the kickstarter were needing some rework before final printing, so I decided to go ahead and rework these as well – so I could order all of them at the same time.

If you have already ordered shirts, you might notice that the new price is a dollar more – don’t worry, you’ll be getting your shirts for the price you paid.

All shorts ordered up to now, or ordered now, should be ready to ship on or around the 15th of June. So, if you are reading this after then, they are already to ship.

These will be sold until this batch of 50 or so shirts sells out, and then we’ll be introducing a one-sided design using the device as the large image on the front.

PURCHASE:
purchase link: http://infernaldevice.net/Artprize/store/fundraising/infernal-tee/

back:

front:

front (closeup):

back (closeup):

0

COOTIES

Well, it looks like I am devoting myself this year to finally finishing up my children’s book – but for now, I am working really hard at making our kickstarter […]

Well, it looks like I am devoting myself this year to finally finishing up my children’s book – but for now, I am working really hard at making our kickstarter successful.

We are beyond dedicated to making this happen… so much so that I stayed up all day and night putting this special drawing together (image below), which will be available in printable PDF format exclusively to everyone who donates $1 or more though our Kickstarter.

A $2 purchase of a good piece of fine art paper from your local craft store, plus this download, and you’ll have this silly piece of my steampunk storybook for your wall… $3 total investment, and no shipping.

We’ve also received an unpublished text by G.D. Falksen to add to our kickstarter offers: An Original Never-before Published Exclusive Short Story by award winning author G.D Falksen; You get a hard copy of the short story in a binder, decorated with exclusive print by Myke Amend (an illustration of the story within) – each illustrated cover HAND EMBELLISHED, numbered, and signed… making for a *very unique* work of literature and art combined.

Other offers include everything from exclusive prints from me, the Airships and Tentacles Coloring Book, the Airships and Tentacles Scrapbooking kit, Original Paintings, and other incredible offers as *much* less than regular price…

We’ve had some good fortune this week, blogged by Warren Ellis, tweeted by Neil Gaiman and Kyle Cassidy, you may have seen us mentioned by Vernian Process, Abney Park, Nancy Overbury, and other greats… who we will be sure to mention more in depth when we compile our big list of People Last Against the Wall…

Please help us to keep this momentum going. 7 days remain, and we are nearly 30% there. Your donation of $1, retweeting, reblogging, or otherwise spreading the word of this project can put us over that hill.

Cooties - Available only through our kickstarter

Cooties - Available only through our kickstarter (click to enlarge)

0

Coloring Book

So, I’ve been trying to think of something really good, but inexpensive that I could put together as an added incentive to be a part of our kickstarter, and in […]

So, I’ve been trying to think of something really good, but inexpensive that I could put together as an added incentive to be a part of our kickstarter, and in staying up all night making a new engraving – it came to me…

This coloring book.

When I was a kid, Advanced Dungeons and Dragon’s Monster manual, and their Dieties and Demigods, had some rather awesome illustrations in them: All black and white. I loved those illustrations, but I loved them even more when I caught a Glimpse of my friend Brian’s book… which he had taken colored pencils to for each and every illustration. I thought it pretty amazing how with some simple color over the black and white of the pages, those illustrations really came to life. They were simple to color, because the shading was already there – which made for a basic coloring level, with lots of room for improvisation, and advanced looking results.

I thought to myself this AM, “Hey… all these engravings I’ve been doing would be perfect for this”,and so I set to gathering up pages for a coloring book… and with all the engraving that I do, I have a *lot* of them.

Here are the images that will be in this coloring book… which will for the time being, only be available through our kickstarter for an $11 donation (which includes Shipping and Handling). The coloring book is 26 full pages, and ready to color.

You’ll notice that some of the images below are colored, because I copied really quick from my gallery. These images will be uncolored in the coloring book version.

You can get this coloring book by donating $11 through our Kickstarter. Like all donations, no credit cards are charged until the Kickstarter has ended (11 days from now) so if you are waiting till payday… please feel free to go ahead and pledge now.

0

New Video

This new video for our kickstarter and Artprize pages shows our piece in place on the river. Thee 3-D model and lighting for the model were done by Ben Amend […]

This new video for our kickstarter and Artprize pages shows our piece in place on the river.

Thee 3-D model and lighting for the model were done by Ben Amend (My nephew), and combined with a few days of work on my part, and the music of Vernian Process, it came together fairly well for a three day project.

The track included in this video is an old Demo version of “the Delta Queen”. You can hear the final recording version at VernianProcess.com

0

Myke Amend talks About The Device

Myke put together this video last night for our kickstarter page, it explains the project, and how we’re going about this. He also does a (somewhat clumsy) demonstration of the […]

Myke put together this video last night for our kickstarter page, it explains the project, and how we’re going about this. He also does a (somewhat clumsy) demonstration of the device… due to how incredibly directional a blow-dryer is as source of wind. He manages to successfully target the device and pull it together in the end though.

He forgot to mention the new rewards such limited etchings on brass, paintings, and the like – but, if you’d like to know more, we’ve got a writeup about the project here:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/infernaldevice/the-infernal-device-an-enormous-mechanical-and-pai

0

Gaining Steam

Our Kickstarter has started to pick up in activity over the past few days, and though we’re at about 2% with 40 out of 45 days to go, the chart […]

Our Kickstarter has started to pick up in activity over the past few days, and though we’re at about 2% with 40 out of 45 days to go, the chart is looking rather parabolic in its beginnings which has us feeling pretty optimistic about the monumental undertaking ahead of us.

If you aren’t familiar with Kickstarter, they are *the* platform for launching and funding creative projects. Money is only donated if and when the artists reach their goals, meaning that investors can be certain that either the project *will* happen, or the funds are returned to the investors. It is an all or nothing deal for both sides involved.

In addition to being a part of art history in the making, donors get the added benefit of rewards offered by the artists in return for donations. Ours range from heartfelt thanks, to signed fine art prints by Myke Amend, tee shirts, official sponsorship status, and so much more.

Much thanks goes out to Overflow Cafe, Guy Cox, Amanda Young, Dana Young, Megan Brown, Mr. Shreck, Mrs. Shreck, Chris Baar, and several anonymous donors. We are grateful, and proud that you chose to be a part of this project.

We’d also like to thank Pamela of Totus Mel Tats, who in addition to being a core member of the Etsy Steam Team, runs the arts and crafts blog and feature spot Wunderkammer.

Last, but certainly not least, we’d like to thank One Girl’s Treasure Eclectic and Fashionable Resale, a vintage and used fashion reseller on Lyon street in Grand Rapids’ beautiful downtown area, who in addition to being a great venue for emerging and experienced artists alike, also backed Cirque A Circa for last year’s ArtPrize event.

Victorian Lace

Victorian Lace: The intricate tatted stylings of Totus Mel, available on Etsy

One Girls Treasure

One Girls Treasure: Fashionable Resale in Grand Rapids Michigan