This week we are talking with Ed Thayer, better known as Steampunk Eddie, 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 Eddie, thanks for joining us this week.
Steampunk Eddie: Thanks, nice to be here.
AA: What an amazing experience to be on the first steampunk reality show on TV. As a brief summary, how was it for you?
SE: BADASS. It was the most amazing experience in my life.
AA: How long have you been involved in the steampunk community and what brought you into it?
SE: About 3 years. I was doing some construction/rehab for a local Steampunk Theme Brewery. This is when I was first introduced to “Steampunk”. I thought it was so “me”. During the build I took scrap materials and found objects and took them home to my workshop. I ended up creating a 7’4” tall mechanical clock that became the showpiece of the new Brewery.
AA: How long have you been building and creating things, and how did you get started?
SE: I’ve been building custom cars and motorcycles for the past thirty years. I have been an artist my entire life … so this new Steampunk was just another creative outlet.
AA: What is it about steampunk as an aesthetic that appeals to you?
SE: I love the vintage era when everything was handcrafted and then by adding the futuristic element – it gives it the wow factor.
AA: What are some designs or materials that you tend to work with the most?
SE: I use everything. Everything from copper, brass, steel, wood, gears, motors, paint and even an old boot if necessary.
AA: What are some signature elements in your work that make it stand out as recognizably something you created?
SE: Most of my work either, moves, lights up or has a functional purpose. That’s why it’s called “useable art with an attitude”.
AA: What is something that you’d like to create but haven’t done so yet?
SE: My dream piece would be a big wind-powered sculpture in a public space. Something that makes people stop,stare..and never forget.
AA: How has your work changed over time? What are some key lessons you’ve learned along the way?
SE: I always try to top my last piece. My masterpiece has not yet been created. The major lesson I would like to share with other makers is – don’t compare yourself, your work or look to others for inspiration. My method is to depend upon my own creativity – not to seek other artist work as an inspiration. I have to be true to my own creative soul and by comparing or seeking others work just takes me out of my creative zone.
AA: Viewers of the show know that you were eliminated in the ### episode, but let’s start at the very beginning of the process. How did you first hear about the show and the opportunity to actually be on it?
SE: I was invited to exhibit at a prestigious event where I met a fellow artist who later urged me apply. I did and the network casting service contacted me shortly afterwards.
AA: What was your interest or motivation to be on the show?
SE: My motivation was to give myself dedicated and uninterrupted time away to create the art I love. In fact this was the first time in my life I was given the opportunity to solely focus on my art. As most artists I have a lifetime of responsibilities and obligations to fulfill so I was looking forward to the time away and being challenged – against nine other top artists.
AA: Pop Magnet was the casting company chosen by Pink Sneakers, the production company, to find candidates for the show. What can you share with us about the interview process that you went through with them?
SE: It was a piece of cake. I say that because I was just being “me” throughout the process. I know myself well enough to know that I couldn’t operate if I tried to be anything different. The casting company saw that and thought I would be a great addition to the show. Although there were times of uncertainty I knew at the end of the day if I was true to who I was they would ultimately decide if I was a good fit.
AA: The final part of the selection process was a sample challenge to steampunk a common everyday item. What was your item and what did you do with it?
SE: I created a BADASS steampunk hot air balloon from a typical world globe. It was BADASS.
We’ll break here in chatting with Eddie.
Join us for the conclusion as he continues to share his experiences on the show.
Keep up to date with Eddie’s latest news on his website.
Also, check out his exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.