Monday, April 29, 2013

Steampunk Artist Eric Horn, Revisited

May 16 & 17 the Duluth Art Institute is celebrating the Second Annual Steampunk Spectacular featuring art, fashion, live entertainment and more for Midwest enthusiasts of the Steampunk genre and the creative people who make it happen. I first met Eric Horn at the world premiere of his graphic novel Chronicle (Part I) at a Friends of Industry event in the summer of 2011. Think Jules Verne. Think futuristic contraptions that might have been conceived 120 years ago. Think of a world where flight and travel and life is all steam-powered and imagination-driven. Eric Horn is a talented artist and illustrator who helps bring this world to life.

EN: What is it that gets you so jazzed about the upcoming Steampunk Spectacular?
Eric Horn: I'm excited for a few reasons. First, last year we only had a month to plan for the event and it turned out to be amazing. The second reason is that because we had more time to plan it is bigger, with more to do and see. For years now I’ve been wanting to have a Steampunk convention here in the Twin Ports. It would be fantastic seeing steampunks from all over swarming the streets of Duluth and Superior. We have so much to offer here that fits nicely into the genre and tends to be the type of things those who are Steampunk enthusiasts like to attend such as the Depot, William A Irving, Glensheen Mansion, and other such attractions. This is an opportunity that if done right will greatly benefit the community as a whole. It also gives people a chance to get dressed up and have some fun.

EN: How did you first take an interest in the Steampunk genre?
EH: I was originally introduced to it by a good friend, Erin Gunderson, who designed her own jewelry. She would make cool necklaces with nuts and bolts and gears. I was in my early twenties, around 2000. She’s now in Portland.

EN: Where did “Friends of Industry” come from?
EH: My involvement with Friends of Industry started with Gustave (Campanini) doing a piece for the Artist Kamikaze. He needed detail work done on this piece because he doesn’t do small detail well. I went to his studio and we came up with the idea of creating this show featuring my graphic novel. It was produced like a world premiere with live music and many of the guests wearing their Steampunk designs. Gustave wanted the show to be something with the word Friends in it. Eventually the space became an artist retreat and clubhouse after this show.

EN: What was the inspiration for your graphic Steampunk novel Chronicle?
EH: I’d been wanting to do a comic book for years. Every story line I came up I’d re-write and not like it. As I looked into Steampunk online I said, “Hey, it makes sense if I put my story in the steampunk world, a lot easier to do …. I kept trying to write a story for the modern day, but it wouldn’t work with the elements I wanted to have. But when I put it in Steampunk it could go anywhere. I started working on Chronicle about three years ago. I’d met Richard Rosvall at the Roller Derby and at Carmody’s but never really talked to him. Then I saw some of his work on Facebook and I sought him out to use some of his stuff in the comic.

EN: Can you explain the process?
EH: It begins with imagination. Then we create costumes and scenes and take photos which I then hand-draw based on images I’ve Photoshopped.

EN: How much time do you spend on your drawings? 
EH: Well, that all depends on the piece. Some of my pen and ink drawings have taken me months to do, putting in a couple of hours a day on them. Some I have cranked out in under two hours. As for my self-titled Over Art style (Over Art is when I take a photograph and then ink over it to give it an animated feel and look) I can do a piece in usually a day or three. The longest I have worked on something is years. I have one piece that I still have not finished because of the amount of ink involved, and I also lose focus on finishing it and put it away to work on something else.

EN: Where can people see some of your work? 
EH: People can find my work on my Facebook page. They can also follow the work I do in the studio and other group projects on our "Friends of Industry" Facebook page. I have also been doing Instagram for some time now which is a neat way to expose works to a large audience with ease. We’re currently trying to develop a website, but so far life gets in the way. I have works hanging up at Goin’ Postal in Superior including some new pieces which will be in our May 10 show during visual arts week.

EN: I'll be there. Thanks.

Top right: Photo by Andrew Perfetti