Today I’m chatting with Shane Bevin, who will be sharing his works with us at the upcoming Adelaide Steampunk Festival, 2018.
Shane: I was born in the year that men first walked on the moon, I spent most of my school lunch money on Time Pilot, Moon Patrol and Xevious…the dawn of the video game era.
My first computer was a ZX81…1 KB of ram (although I had the 16KB expansion pack), a 3.5 MHz processor and any colour on screen you liked (as long as it was black or white). As an art tool, it was somewhat…er…limited, but it slowly took over my life.
I am a techy kinda guy, with a techy kinda brain, but I do consider myself an artist as well.
Most of my artistic time is spent off the computer and as a sculptor/model maker at heart I love to stick bits of junk together to make something cool…or weird…or weirdly cool.
I am now a full time Lecturer in Digital Media at Flinders University and my day to day job involves…well…making stuff work and teaching others to let their creative brain loose.
K: The Adelaide Steampunk Festival will be showcasing your steawmpunk VR world this year. How did you get involved in the Steampunk Festival?
S: I first became involved in the Steampunk Festival as an exhibitor in the SALA exhibition of Steampunk Works at the Railway Museum. Last year my partner Marina and I had a stall where we sold a variety of goods.
S: I have always been interested in the works of Poe, Lovecraft and Wells and in the middle of a googling session for Cthulhu images I found myself in a collection of steampunk images. I went down the rabbit hole and never came out.
My introduction was the art and aesthetic of steampunk and this is still the aspect of the movement that interests me most.
K: What does steampunk mean to you?
S: To me, steampunk is an aesthetic. I love the worldbuilding that goes along with the movement and I enjoy immersing myself in the alternate universe. For me though, it is the art side that drives my work. I like the adhoc and cobbled together nature of the aesthetic…the mix of scifi, fantasy and horror…the gadgets and gizmos…the new and old crossing paths.
K: Do you have a favourite steampunk movie, book, music?
S: Most of my time is spent immersed in the art of steampunk and even though I don’t necessarily seek out movies, books and music, I do enjoy when the steampunk aesthetic weaves its way into other areas of my life. One of my other loves is cyberpunk and it is fun to play the two movements off each other. I did love John Carter of Mars, Steamboy and the hints of steampunk that come through in the work of Myazaki and Studio Ghibli.
K: You’re currently creating a VR steampunk world to share with the attendees at the Festival. I’d love to hear more. How did you get into creating VR worlds?
S: I encountered virtual reality for the first time in the 80s and 90s. As a fan of cyberpunk and video games the idea of immersing myself in a virtual world was a dream come true. The implementation of the hardware back in those days was problematic, but the re-emergence of virtual reality with the technology of today has rekindled my passion.
K: Did you study and where did you study?
S: I originally studied to be a teacher but also studied Digital Media and both areas came together over the years. I am now a lecturer in digital media at Flinders University/CDW Studios in the Visual Effects and Entertainment Design Degree.
K: Is this your job, or your hobby?
S: It is absolutely both. Digital Media and art are a lifestyle choice rather than a job and I am lucky to be able bring all of my skills together as a teacher, artist and designer.
K; Do you create the narrative for your world first, or jump into designing the gadgets and inhabitants first?
S; I tend to create a narrative first and then start on the elements of the piece. Steampunk allows for the audience to bring some prior knowledge to the piece, so the worldbuilding already has a bit of a headstart. The design is informed by the narrative.
K: How long does it take to design a complete element/object in your world?
This is a variable that is difficult to define as some elements take longer than others. In this case there is a mix of 3D modelling, image manipulation, animation, physical sculpture and painting. This overall piece has been a few months of evenings and weekends to bring together.
K: What is your favourite design element, and will we get to see it at the Adelaide Steampunk Festival?
S: My favourite design element is “weathering”, the idea of bring age and narrative to a design. I love to try and bring story to a piece, the feeling of age brought to an artwork created in the present.
K; What can we expect from your Steampunk VR experience at this year’s festival?
S; The VR experience I am presenting is a slice of a bigger piece of worldbuilding. Pop on the VR headset and you are transported to the deck of the Feisty Barnacle, an airship in the midst of a battle. My conceit is the idea that this is the final battle of The Aesthetic Wars, a battle between the forces of Deco, Gothic, Modernist, Nouveau and Steampunk. For the viewer it should feel like you are there on the deck…you are the captain…you get to see the battle first hand.
And now for a small taste of what to expect at Adelaide Steampunk Festival next week; here’s the teaser trailer for The Final Flight of the Feisty Barnacle.
K: Where can we find more of your work?
- Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/shanebevin/
- Website – http://spacebovine.weebly.com/
- Website – http://www.tardigradesandtentacles.com/
- Twitter – @spacebovine
Thanks for sharing with us, Shane. I’m in awe of people who can create digital artwork. I have a love-hate relationship with computers and couldn’t program my way out of a soggy tea bag. I’m looking forward to immersing myself in your amazing world.
You can experience Shane’s steampunk VR world next weekend at the Adelaide Steampunk Festival – National Railways Museum, Port Adelaide.
All images and videos supplied by and ©Shane Bevin,
except Steampunk Festival banner.