Charles Mason II, who appeared on the Game Show Network’s Steampunk’d last fall, is a prop maker based in Portland, Ore. Midwest BSFA talked to him about his creations, how he got started and what he’s been up to since appearing on the show.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get into steampunk?
Mason: This might sound crazy but I have always been part of the steampunk movement but didn’t realize until someone said, “your stuff looks steampunk-ish.” Soon after that friend of mine suggested that my stuff looked steampunk, I did a long search on everything steampunk and a whole new world opened up for me.
Midwest BSFA: As a maker, how do you define steampunk?
Mason: I try not indulge in that question because it means so much to me that it has no limits no boundaries of its existence. For me, when I create it just happens to look futuristic and alien. It’s my signature style.
Midwest BSFA: How did you get into the maker scene?
Mason: One thing I noticed in my studies of everything steampunk is that people had specific characters. It was a good start but I went deeper. I wanted to make a character after myself. So I thought long and hard about it and it dawned on me that I love to create so I will be a maker like a mad scientist.
Midwest BSFA: Who/what are your influences?
Mason: Paige Gardner, RJ Foster, Maurice Grunbaum. I enjoy original works of art and these beings bring it every time.
Midwest BSFA: I read somewhere that you used to be a chef. Are there any lessons you learned from that field that you used when putting together your creations?
Mason: Yes, I sure did. I was a pastry chef for ten years. Being a pastry chef trains you to be patient, precise and balanced. I learned when not to overdo a piece, which can lead to a messy out come. One of my favorite ideas was to blend steampunk with and my pastry work together. I create a very realistic steampunk gingerbread train with popcorn steam coming out of the top, coffee grounds for coal and a fire light that flickered.
Midwest BSFA: What was it like being on Steampunk’d?
Mason: It was tough, I’m not going to lie. I have never created in a time crunch before. I actually think steampunk shouldn’t be created super fast it won’t have a good outcome. But what worked best for me was to use my artistic ability to get through the competition. Not just steampunk but real art from the heart. It’s amazing when you are put through a tight time crunch what comes out of your heart and soul.
Midwest BSFA: What kind of projects have you been working on since being on the show?
Mason: Where do I start? Well, I have invented the airship nightlight, created a new character, the “Neptunian,” and upgraded my Krank Shaft armor. But most important all my commissions.
Midwest BSFA: Whats your favorite creation and why?
Mason: I have so many awesome creations but my favorite would have to be my Krank Shaft character. He gives me strength ,shows my true talent, and when he enters a room, humans stop everything they are doing. He is a reflection of everything I am.
Midwest BSFA: Anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Mason: I want to thank you all for being so supportive. We are the most supportive group and I love you all.