Connect
To Top

Check Out Victoria L. Szulc’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Victoria L. Szulc.

Hi Victoria, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’m a multi-media steampunk artist. My love of Victorian history and its influence started with a middle school field trip to the Missouri History Museum to learn about the 1904 World’s Fair.

I was hooked, fascinated by the clothing and especially the immense hats. As a teen, I was immersed in the 80’s music “British Invasion” of Punk and New Wave music. Steampunk is a perfect blend of these inspirations.

I’m a Webster University Art grad with a focus on drawing and illustration. But I also took a variety of courses including sculpture and creative writing with helped expand my creativity.

About 15 years ago, I started to explore steampunk as an artistic theme. I was already an experienced artist and COSTUMER (as in costumes), so I started an Etsy store featuring my accessories. It featured everything from jewelry to hats to shoes and vintage clothing. I started writing books about this same time and self-published them on Amazon and social media.

This was also the rise of the iPhone and social media which made photography more accessible to me as an artist. I had participated in shows and festivals when I could, but posting on social media brought more attention to my work.

I began to land more styling and costuming gigs, networking with other amazing photographers, stylists, and models, all the while developing my fictional world of steampunk “Society” spies in my books. I began to attend more Steampunk-themed events. I eventually became a juror for Soulard Art Gallery’s Steampunk Art shows a few times and started the Big River Steampunk Festivals fashion show In Hannibal, MO over Labor Day weekend in 2017.

Since then, I raised the bar on all my work. I’ve been rewriting and putting new covers on all my steampunk and gothic horror books which are being re-released over the early summer. I’m working on a steampunk fashion book, collaborating with other photographers and models.

I just wrapped up another participation with the annual Mannequins Project and provided help to the St. Louis Public Library’s biannual fundraiser “Stranger Than Fiction” which was Steampunk-themed. I like to say I’m a renaissance woman living a steampunk life.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It’s not always been easy. All of my working life, I’ve had a full-time job (until recently), a part-time job, and worked on my artistic endeavors.

I’ve somehow made it through two recessions and a pandemic. I lost my mother and older sister after long battles with Multiple Sclerosis and in January, I lost my father to Covid. My mom was my biggest supporter. When she died, I was severely depressed for about two years. I still love and miss her every day.

There were many times I was completely overwhelmed by the amount of work I needed to do and I was flying by the seat of my pants and the generosity of friends when I was broke, fiscally and emotionally. I’ve been extremely blessed to have moral support.

In 2014, I exited the media field (I was working behind the scenes in TV and radio). I was done with corporate America. I decided it was easier to work creative part-time jobs. Right now, I’m the caretaker and weekend manager for the Campbell House Museum. I like to say the house is magical. I’m culturally fed every day!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
As a steampunk artist, I love the mix of science fiction and Victorian history. It allows my imagination to run unfettered. It also keeps junk out of the landfills as I make the majority of my hats and accessories from items that would normally go in the trash.

There’s nothing more satisfying than running a successful event or shoot and seeing the photos afterward. Editing can be a bit of a pain, but the results are gratifying. I know when a project is well done when people know my particular kind of steampunk. It’s flattering to be told they recognize my style and work.

With the books, I’ve placed in a couple of Amazon competitions. I’m now widely published (new books coming on all ebook platforms including iBooks, GoogleBooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble) so I’m looking forward to seeing how well they do with expanded reach.

What do you think about happiness?
Spend time with my family and creating. I also love animals, especially dogs. I love getting “in the zone” on a piece whether styling/shooting or writing. It’s like the rest of the world falls away and I’m right where I want to be.

Pricing:

  • $50 an hour styling/photography fee
  • $100 pastel/charcoal 8”x10” pet portrait
  • $2-1,500 price range of accessories and costumes
  • $10-50 paperback and hardback books
  • $2-10 ebooks

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Victoria L. Szulc and Michele Berhorst

Suggest a Story: VoyageSTL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Local Stories