Steam Train

Today we’re taking a close look at the steely beauty of old steam trains. See how their intricate machinery has inspired painters, photographers, and designers.

• Valerio D’Ospina’s Locomotive captures the dynamic and forceful energy of a steam engine with frenzied brushstrokes pushing forward the steady pace of its machinery. The train appears at the brink of dissolving into abstraction, like a pulled-together Pollock. Read an interview with the artist here.

• This photograph of the Michigan Central Railroad, taken in 1904, shows a worker oiling up the great beast.

• Huang Yong Ping’s Leviathanation, named after the Biblical sea monster, is a surreal nightmare, extending out of a train with a bestiary on its head.

• Amelia’s Round and Round is a photograph framing one wheel of a locomotive, with a silver tone that reveals the richly worn surface.

• Charlene Freeman’s Iron Horses 16 documents rust encroaching slowly on the cracked numbers of a train.

• This T-Shirt by Aaron and Jay of Locomotive Clothing Co. outlines the silhouette of a Royal Hudson Locomotive in white on a brown background.

• Plum & Posey’s Necklace is a wax seal, made of oxidized silver, with a tiny steam train.

• Darren Thompson’s Trains and Buildings depicts the pale glow of sunlight warming up, and slightly dissolving, the straight lines of urban architecture. This particular scene is reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s empty cityscapes.

• This Pendant by dmdmetal is a silver sliver of a graffiti artist painting the side of a train.

• These Cufflinks by Compass Rose Design are made of vintage brass railway uniform buttons with steam trains.

• Karissa Val Tassel’s The Steam Train is a close-up of the builder’s plate of a 1920 engine.