Tea, Automatons, and Time Machines

Steampunk’s Nostalgic Re-Imagination of Contemporary Art


Contemporary art must get inspiration from somewhere. In Tea, Automatons, and Time Machines, the subculture of Steampunk art is studied in relation to art history. Addressing three main topics within social and environmental justice, a comparison of art styles and creativity stems from an artist’s passion within popular culture.

Using arts-based research methods and personal introspection viewed through the lens of nostalgia, a unique perspective of art history studies comes to life. Nostalgia, being primarily a psychological study, is used as a lens to view art, culture, and memoir into a complete research project.

We live in a world in need of change. Historically, artists have provided a means for change through their work and the lives they choose to live. The vastness of art history provides plenty of room for inspiration and interpretation. In this study, the contemporary sub-culture of Steampunk looks nostalgically at Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco eras in a way that paves the way for social change and environmental preservation using fantasy, cos-play, and art to demonstrate needed changes. Through the art and culture of Steampunk, we explore areas that could use improvement in our modern world, and yet, they do tie in with similar occurrences of the past. We find that we’re not that different but with art and demonstration, we too, can make positive changes for our future.

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Misti McCanna-Porter, Ph.D. (2020), Union Institute & University, serves as Executive Director of PMC Arts & Culture Foundation. She has published art, poetry, and articles within popular culture studies. Her current research is on heirloom skills and memoir.

1 Why Steampunk?
 1 Research Exploration
 2 Research Introduction

2 Creative Introduction: What Is Steampunk?
 1 So, What Is Steampunk?

3 Research Overviews
 1 Chapter 4: Tea – Victorian Ideals and Steampunk Culture
 2 Chapter 5: Automatons – Steampunk Art and Its Predecessors
 3 Chapter 6: Time Machines, Nostalgia and Sentimentality in Art
 4 Chapter 7: Methodologies
 5 Chapter 8: The Quriosities of Art
 6 Chapter 9: Creative Conclusion – Closing the Cabinet of Curiosities
 7 Chapter 10: Scholarly Conclusion

4 Tea: Victorian Ideals and Steampunk Culture
 1 Victorian Ideals and Morality

5 Automatons: Steampunk Art and Its Predecessors
 1 The Artist’s Role?
 2 Steampunk Art
 3 Steampunk Arts and Crafts
 4 Steampunk Art Nouveau
 5 Steampunk Art Deco

6 Time Machines: Nostalgia and the Arts

7 Methodologies: All in One Train Car?

8 The Quriosities of Art
 1 Personal Nostalgia and Reflection
 2 The Artist
 3 Artist’s Statement
 4 Note to Self
 5 Personal Nostalgia
 6 Tea
 7 Environment
 8 Watcher
 9 Automatons
 10 Education
 11 Time Machines
 12 Gender

9 Creative Conclusion: Closing the Cabinet of Curiosities, Concluding Statements
 1 The Exhibits

10 Scholarly Conclusion

All interested in popular culture studies, Steampunk, arts, art history, or memoir. For anyone interested in arts-based research or nostalgia studies.
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