Do you want to collect steampunk art?

I’ve heard about steampunk art many years ago and dismissed it as something faddish or something that new and artist wannabes would like to dabble into for drama and attention, perhaps.

But a couple of weeks, Rein Escaño, a friend, hauled me to an art gallery on Ortigas Ave, for the opening of an exhibition of steampunk art.

Members of Steampunk Artists Philippines at Secret Fresh Gallery in Ronac Art Center in Ortigas

Members of Steampunk Artists Philippines at Secret Fresh Gallery in Ronac Art Center in Ortigas

The Dark Knight, a metal sculpture by Ram Mallari

The Dark Knight, a metal sculpture by Ram Mallari

So, there we were at Secret Fresh Gallery in Ronac Art Center on an early Sunday evening with members of the Steampunk Artists of the Philippines. The exhibit they called “Steamtrooper Unleashed” ran for two weeks at the posh art gallery with a café and an honesty store up front. It was an exhibit that marked the group’s third year in steampunk art.

I thought, it was just something those guys do when they are bored or passing the time away. But talking to one aficionado, a dentist, who said his dental office in Quezon City has been decorated with punk art since the time he encountered the art movement in the Philippines, it dawned upon me how it has crashed onto the mainstream of visual arts scene in the Philippines.

I asked around how much a painting would cost and I was bowled to know that it could fetch more than a million pesos…and there are buyers!

Senator Manny Pacquiao,I was told, picked up a chess set from one of the artists! 

Chess set, one of the most valuable pieces in the exhibition

Chess set, one of the most valuable pieces in the exhibition

The pieces in the exhibit were eye popping; a combination of industrial, neo-classic, and photorealistic visual style. The inspiration of each of the piece I looked at seemed straight out of a science fiction novel or futuristic sci-fi films fused with Victorian era style.

So, what really is steampunk art?

Says one art writer, “the term itself comes from science fiction novels and coined by author Kevin Jeter. It’s all about fusing the usability of modern technology with design aesthetic of the Victorian age.”

Says young fiction author Caitlin Kittredge, “It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans.”

Steampunk art has grown to be a big movement now in the Philippines extending its reach even to interior design. Go to Ronac Art Center in Greenhills and ask where you can find members of
Steampunk Artists of the Philippines