Artist in Residence
Electric dreams Imagine if Nikola Tesla was not just a brilliant inventor, but also an accomplished fantasy artist…
Diosdado “Dodie” Mondero’s studio is less an art studio and more a journey into the world of a steampunk inventor.
Back in 2014 our basement was flooded by a severe storm that knocked out the power. We were walking around in three inches of water – it was a stressful time.
We had to throw out many large personal items that suffered water damage, which freed up space. And it was during the clean-up process that I realised this was a blessing in disguise. I had an opportunity to start over and create my dream art studio.
As I was brainstorming some ideas, I asked myself what interior appealed to me the most? I remembered how impressed I was when I saw steampunk cosplayers attending the San Diego Comic-Con back in 2008, with their Victorian fashions
I also built more unusual items, such as three atomic death rays, and even made my first Jacob’s Ladder
combined with custom-made accessories. I’ve always loved the Industrial Age, and that was my light bulb moment. I decided to create an Industrial Revolution-themed studio with a touch of steampunk.
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I started by repurposing my vintage drawing table, which I originally picked up in a dumpster. It was a lot of fun making it look as if it came from the late 1800s. And the more work I did on the table, the more ideas I had on how to improve it. I even asked my neighbour to weld and fabricate a new metal base to it. There are so many metallic parts and details on this table that it’s ended up weighing a ton.
My drawing table was inspired by Nikola Tesla. I imagined it was the type of table you’d find in his laboratory, and found a brass ‘T’ that I mounted in its front as a finishing touch. I continued to buy more antique items that defined the Industrial Age – anything from the late 1800s to the 1920s. I also built more unusual items, such as three atomic death rays, and even made my first Jacob’s Ladder that generates 15,000 volts.
After seven long years, all my hard work and passion that I put into creating my ultimate dream studio finally paid off. I remember standing at the bottom of the stairs and looking around at what I had created, and knew and felt in my heart that this is the room I could finally die in. Mission accomplished! After studying fine art and commercial advertising, Diosdado worked as an art director at an interior design company. He left the firm to launch Mondero Studios in 1995. You can explore more of Diosdado’s art at www.monderostudios.daportfolio.com.
I attached a camera lens to a 1911 swing arm that I use when I do live drawing demos on Facebook. I love to stay authentic to the period. This was the old layout of my studio back in 2010. It was great having a creative space that I could call my art studio, although I had no thoughts about decor until after the flood.
An art studio needs to have a lounging area for chilling and rocking out! I love guitars, so when I find time and am in the mood, I play a few riffs before bedtime… and of course, catch up on my ImagineFX issues! I paid homage to the master of fantasy art, Frank Frazetta in my oil painting Battle of Dragonia. My close friend Angie Jones modelled as the Dragon Queen.