Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Tony Snipes - Question and Answers

This blog post is the second of two in recognition of Black History Month, in which I focus on influential African Americans in Dieselpunk.

Tony Snipes is the Founder of Portsmouth Aeroshipbuilding Co. Many of you may recognize him as a guest on the Dieselpunk Podcast. Recently, Tony was kind enough to answer some questions for you, dear reader.


Tony Snipes

  • Tell our readers about yourself.

I'm Tony Snipes, mild-mannered Media Marketing Executive by day...SciFi/Fantasy Illustrator by night! I've been a visual artist all of my life, but have dived deep in my craft with the boom of the internet. (It's mostly because the medium has allowed us to reach any part of the world with our passion!) I've worked professionally in the advertising departments of Newspaper, Broadcast TV and now Broadcast Radio, learning how to reinvent each traditional media outlet with the boom of the Digital industry.

  • How do you define “Dieselpunk” to non-Dieselpunks?

I define "Dieselpunk" as a subgenre of Science Fiction. It is a "retro-futuristic" creative expression reflecting the historic era of the "Jazz Age", the Art Deco era. Taking place from about the start of World War I until about the era of the launch of Sputnik. It's a blend of that historic era that includes either sci-fi, fantasy or magic.

  • If you could only have 3 Dieselpunk movies in your DVD collection, which ones would you have and why?

"SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW"-because to me it's the best visual example of the genre.

"CAPTAIN AMERICA THE FIRST AVENGER" -because it's the best mainstream example...and to me, the one of best examples of quality in storytelling of the genre (without looking like a video game!)

Peter Jackson's "King Kong" (2005)-because it's a great example of the Dieselpunk era with the twist of fantasy/horror versus the usual sci-fi addition. Also, because it was deliberately filmed to make modern theater goers feel like those that saw the original in 1933.

  • Tell our readers about the Portsmouth Aeroshipbuilding Co.

It’s the 1940’s and the world of The Portsmouth Aeroshipbuilding Co. has access to technology before it’s time. It’s a world rooted in the true shipbuilding history of my hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia. 

  • Do you have any new projects in the works?

Coming off the publishing of another annual calendar, this year I plan to dedicate most of the year to publishing an illustrated "coffee table book" to serve as an overview of the Portsmouth Aeroshipbuilding Co. experience. It's called "GUIDE BOOK".

  • February is, of course, Black History Month here in the US. While the Diesel Era saw a long-overdue recognition of African American art and literature, such as the Harlem Renaissance, it also saw horrible racism with the Second Klan's rise and Jim Crow laws' entrenchment. As an African American man, how does this dark source material affect your vision of Dieselpunk?

For many years I've been passionate about discovering the rich, hidden legacy of African American history. I've used art and events to pass on what I've found on to others.

The Dieselpunk genre has allowed me a dynamic and intriguing backdrop for retelling of African Americans in history. Discovering that African American medics served at Normandy on D-Day...being introduced to jazz pianist Hazel Scott who'd go on to having her own TV show in America...all while these greats pass through our gates as aeroships float overhead. This is my way of reclaiming our hidden history and sharing it with the world.

  • Is there anything else you would like to say to my readers?


Please be sure to stop by and visit The Portsmouth Aeroshipbuilding Co on Facebook at:

Thank you!

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