As a newcomer to the Steampunk community, let me give you my interpretation of it. Like most things, I was first introduced to the culture by friends. According to these individuals, this is a culture based on the artistic expression of a retro-futuristic world based on all things steam powered. As I spent time with these folks, I began to learn more about what it meant to be a Steampunk. Apparently there is more to it then wearing goggles. At first, I didn’t think it would be something that would really catch on. How wrong I was. As I am typing this, the community behind Steampunk is rising dramatically, spawning many events. One reason I believe that Steampunk is on the rise, is that it is “normal person” friendly. Unlike most deviate demographics, this one tends to be far less shocking, yet still facilitate expressions of individuality. Often, I would witness curious bystanders from all age levels and walks of life take an interest and quickly make themselves a part of the community. In my pursuit to immerse myself into Steampunk, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lots of wonderful people. These same people have been very helpful in welcoming me into there way of expression.
As far as I know it, the style of Steampunk seems to be strongly, but not limited to, Victorian dress and mannerisms. A major source of fiction most Steampunks like to reference is the writings of Jules Verne. Often, Steampunk is a depiction of how the past envisioned our future and technological advances. This generates a lot of exciting and interesting attire and props. I often find the people in the Steampunk world to be rather friendly and creative. As mentioned above, the age range that you find people tend to vary greatly. Were as most are college age, I’ve have also met a lot of Steampunks that were both children and older adults. The fact that this expression can entertain such a wide range of people is a good sign that Steampunk is going to be around for a long while. Speaking for myself, this community has been most accepting of my eccentricities. As per most groups like this, there are some downsides. Since how Steampunk is fairly young, there is still much debate as to what constitutes as Steampunk, and what doesn’t. A few times in my exploration of this art, I encounter a lot of gray area that makes it difficult to tell if something is appropriate to the style or not. At its core, an artistic expression, I feel it does it a great disservice to define it too much, at risk of denying creative liberties. The only other set back that could exist, is that there is a large difference between someone who is new to the scene, compared to someone who has been in it for a long while. It certainly shows, which people, has put a lot of time and effort into there attire and costumes. Unfortunately, this sometime leads to elitism. If the veterans are not careful, they could scare off a lot of future Steampunks. Luckily, I have not really experienced any issues like that. As I have said before, I find most people in this culture to be friendly and fun.
Over all, I find Steampunk to be a very entertaining and welcoming form of expression. Attending a Steampunk event is a good way to dress and behave in a contrary manner to our normal lives. There are also similar demographics that share a similar ideal to Steampunk. One of my personal favorites is Dieselpunk, which is much like Steampunk, but depicts a slightly more modern aesthetic. Opting out Steam power for gas power and the attire tends towards the 1920’s mobster. Another style that has been around for a while that is a little more different is Cyberpunk. Were Steampunk deals with a retro future, Cyberpunk often express a dystopian possible future. There are many more varieties and groups that could be listed. As it stands, Steampunk is probably the largest of them all. For any who would be interested in Steampunk, should definitely give it a try. As far as my advice to newcomers to the scene like myself, Make some friends in the community and learn from them. As you become more involved, start working on small projects to add to attire, and build up from there. Part of the appeal is the also the resourcefulness people utilize to use for props. Sometimes old junk and thrift stores can be a gold mine for a Steampunk. The last and most important piece of advice I have to give to a newcomer is to have fun with it, and make exciting new friends.