This week we are talking with Ave Rose, who was one of the ten contestants on Steampunk’d, from GSN, the Game Show Network. Steampunk’d is the first steampunk reality show to be broadcast on cable television.
Airship Ambassador: Hi Ave, thanks for joining us this week.
Ave Rose: It’s an honor.
AA: How was it for you to be on the first steampunk reality show on TV?
AR: It was exciting. The challenges and over all premise of the show really fit my skills as an artist.
AA: How long have you been involved in the steampunk community and what brought you into it?
AR: Since around 2012 I started vending at almost all of the major steampunk or steampunk related conventions in California and Arizona. I vend and attend steampunk balls in San Francisco and Los Angeles, I am often hired to create steampunk accessories or costumes for people doing steampunk performances or events, I was featured in an indie steampunk documentary. I started vending because people who attended my art shows asked me to submit to be a vendor in these types of shows.
AA: How long have you been building and creating things, and how did you get started?
AR: In 2011, I started creating miniature robots out of watch parts that I called watchbots. From there I moved on to creating their environments from clockwork as well as adding movement to the sculptures. And now my work has evolved into incorporating other exotic materials such as taxidermy and scientific specimens, adding a hint of macabre to the steampunk fantasy. I was never good at visual art in terms of drawing, painting, or sculpting from clay. I often longed for the ability to show the whimsical visions of magic I still held onto from my childhood and never thought I could.
Then in 2011 I had a emotional breakdown and my life was at a standstill. During this time I remembered that as a kid I would collect tiny objects into glass bottles and jars. Usually they were dead insects, pretty rocks, dried flora, or whatever mechanical bits were left on the floor of my father’s garage.
My treasures would either delight or horrify whoever I showed. These childhood memories inspired me to search my home for all tiny things that I felt attracted to. The most important was my discovery of a few old broken watches. With a razor blade I took them a part piece by piece. My imagination went wild and I began to see little robots and little factories.
Soon after, I began to make clockwork miniature robots and their mechanical environments. With no background in art or mechanics, I had to teach myself everything through books and the internet.
AA: What is it about steampunk as an aesthetic that appeals to you?
AR: As a kid I was a huge science fiction and fantasy fan. So without actually knowing what steampunk was , I was fascinated by the steampunk ideas from stories by authors like Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and H.P Lovecraft. And I was heavily influenced by the steampunk aesthetic featured in stop motion short films. Using these books and films I created a fantasy world of my own and used it to help me cope with a rough upbringing.
AA: What are some designs or materials that you tend to work with the most?
AR: Clockwork, antiques, insects, bones, taxidermy ephemera, gemstones, meteorites, flowers, plants, doll parts.
AA: What are some signature elements in your work that make it stand out as recognizably something you created?
AR: So far I’m the only one I’ve seen that creates miniature robots out of watch parts in my specific style, calling them watchbots. Also I don’t know of any one else who uses real creatures, gemstones, and other exotic materials in mechanical moving sculptures in the style of steampunk.
AA: There are several pieces that I find very impressive! What is something that you’d like to create but haven’t done so yet?
AR: I’ve been dying to create an automaton where several of my creatures play musical instruments created from clock bells and chimes. I’ve been planning it for sometime but it’s a huge project and I don’t have the time or the resources to take such a long time off to make it. Maybe a museum will pay me to do it one day.
It’s time to break in our chat with Ave.
Join us next time when she talks about applying for and getting onto the show
Keep up to date with Ave’s latest news on her website.
Also, check out her exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.