Arts and Culture

Artist Camryn Forrest featured in The Art of Steampunk -- and at Cherry Creek Arts fest

Local artist Camryn Forrest is featured in a new edition of author Art Donovan's The Art of Steampunk that's coming out this month. It's already received extreme praise from publications like Wired and New York Journal of Books for its inclusive look at steampunk, a genre that is growing in size everyday. Forrest specializes in snow globes and water globes that contain miniature and "curious" inventions. Her artwork tells a story, a story that fits well with the steampunk slogan cited in the book: "What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner."

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"Camryn's delightful globes feature tiny Steampunk dreams and fantasies, the miniature Steampunk icons frozen in time," Donovan says of the Colorado artist's inclusion in the book. "Her work is not only charming and unique but she is able to camouflage the dark side of the Steampunk fantasies that are frozen in time in her beautiful snow globes."

Forrest has lived in Colorado most of her life. "At the moment, I'm obsessed with making my art," she says. "Seriously. I wake up in the middle of the night with fresh ideas I have to scribble down, and I worry when I'm driving and can't write a note or sketch that I'll lose it -- and I often do have that slip of an idea disappear before I can get to a pencil. I have stacks of notebooks full of ideas waiting their turn in the studio. It's just tremendously fun and rewarding to envision things and then figure out how to make them happen. It's constantly on my mind, what I'm working on, what I'm going to start next."

Steampunk offers opportunities for an artist that no other genre has. "Steampunk often includes an element of adventures, past and present, and the artwork can reflect that a piece has been somewhere or done something," she says. "It's not fresh and pretty, but tells a story with the handwork and the wear and tear. I find it tremendously appealing that every steampunk artist and writer gets to create their own world and their own timeframe; there's no right or wrong as long as you commit to the story you are telling."

Forrest often finds her ideas from the world around her; things as simple as a book cover or a painting can get her creative gears turning. After she gets the idea, she says, she finds a way to make a 3D model out of it -- often as a snow globe. She credits with "snow globe engineer" Reid Grossnickle with making them possible: "He has the thankless job of figuring out how to make them waterproof and rustproof, no matter whether I've used clay, metal, leather or wood or some random object of unknown material, such as a toy from a gumball machine. "

Forrest has so many ideas, she has trouble finding the time to turn them all into art. But she has no trouble working with her fellow steampunk artists; while there might be competition between artists in other genres, there's very little here. They're all part of a movement, she points out, and supportive of each other. "I'm honored to be in the same book with so many artists' creations," she says. "I am in awe of some of the beautiful artwork out there."

And you can see Forrest's artwork this weekend; she'll be at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival starting on July 5. In the meantime, The Art of Steampunk is now available from Fox Chapel Publishing at 800-457-9112.

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Noah Reynolds