Mark Eliot Schwabe is a jeweler, but not in the ordinary sense of the word. True, his fabrications are meant to be worn, and certainly fulfill the personal adornment requisites of a classic brooch. But what makes his work really stand out? Each piece is a meticulously crafted miniature sculpture offering playful riffs out of the SteamPunk playbook!
That attention to detail and superb craftsmanship didn’t come out of nowhere. Early in his career, Schwabe served as an apprentice goldsmith to his father, James Arthur Schwabe. His father’s principal customer was Cartier, and as a young man Schwabe worked on many pieces that became Cartier jewelry. In college, he studied sculpture with Richard Stankiewicz, the 1950’s pioneer of steel assemblage sculpture. “He taught me to ‘see’ and to compose,” Schwabe recalls. “He also taught me to weld.” On completion of these studies, he earned a Masters in Sculpture at SUNY Albany. Wanting more, he went on to earn his MFA in Sculpture at SUNY New Paltz. Enthralled by science fiction, in the 1990’s he got a dream job. He was asked to sculpt miniature versions of many Star Wars “vehicles”. Works included the Millennium Falcon, the X Wing Fighter and the Death Star.
Mark Eliot Schwabe makes sculptures to be worn. They combine fine art principles with his affinity for machines, moving parts and SteamPunk imagery. To this rich mix he brings his lifelong interest in all things mechanical, from airplanes and cars to spacecraft, both real and imaginary. He states, “I love the SteamPunk genre, the whole retro-futurist concept is fascinating and fun. It gives the artist great liberties, but, at the same time, it requires intense attention to detail.”
Schwabe has exhibited widely in the US and he IS an exhibit in The Steampunk Museum (an on-line museum “Exhibiting the inspirational people, events & artifacts of the steampunk community.”) -Paradise City Arts Festivals 2016