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Steampunk Vehicles in the Limelight

Obtainium Works celebrated its seventh anniversary with an art car exhibition in Vallejo

Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Imagine an auto showroom run by the Mad Hatter, and that will give you an idea of the scene inside the Temple Art Lofts Gallery in Vallejo, California, where the Victorian fantasy explorers of the Hibernian Steam Empire, aka Obtainium Works, have set up shop this month. The steampunk-infused arts organization is celebrating its seventh anniversary by exhibiting its art cars in the gallery, and with camera in hand, we paid a visit on Saturday afternoon.

Many of the vehicles have appeared at recent events such as Vallejo’s Mad Hatter Parade. Three — the Steampunk Pirate Ship, Kristie’s Flyer, and Wine Trike — were seen in a 2018 episode of “Jay Leno’s Garage” on CNBC. Others have been in storage, and this was our first chance to see them. Several vendors of steampunk wares were also on hand.

The Hibernian Steam Empire is the creation of Obtainium Works leader Shannon O’Hare, aka Major Catastrophe. He imagined an alternate reality in which Ireland is a world power and its Ministry of Insanity uses steam-powered vehicles to explore the far reaches. (Hibernia was the ancient Roman name for Ireland.) The empire’s flag (green with a big golden gear) flew proudly near the gallery entrance.

You can see the highlights below. The exhibition will also be open on Friday, March 22, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A wrap party with drinks, appetizers and karaoke is scheduled for Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The gallery is located at 707 Marin St., Vallejo, CA 94590, but the entrance is on Virginia Street.

Artist info: 

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