Art is a highly multifarious range of visual or performed works that express the creator's ideas or skills and appeal to the viewer's senses or emotions. Art can be created with anything, and not necessarily any one thing. When different media or materials are used to create unique visual art, it is called mixed media art.
The use of mixed media began around 1912 when Cubists, like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, started adding collages to their canvases. Gradually the art form became widespread as artists developed increasingly open attitudes to the media of art. Surrealists, Abstract Expressionists, Pop Artists, and Brit Artists jumped onto mixed media bandwagon and expanded the art vocabulary.
Mixed media art is an art form which doesn't place restrictions on people who don't know how to draw or don't have good fine art skills. It is a creative field in which anyone who is keenly interested in creating something can participate. Once you select an area of mixed media art, it requires mastery of particular skillset and ingenious use of specific materials.
Varied materials like cloth, wood, paper, etc., can be used to create mixed media art forms like assemblages, recycling, journaling, and collages. The main difference between multimedia art and mixed media art is that multimedia art has non-visual elements like video, sound, literature, etc., while mixed media has only visual elements.
Types of Mixed Media Art
Artists are always innovating and experimenting, to create original, bold works of art. Let us look at the common ways used to create Mixed Media art, combining different methods and mediums.
- Sculpture: Many times, a sculpture is created by using different materials; hence, it can be categorized under mixed media art. The materials used in making a mixed media sculpture can be wood, wire, glass, metal, found objects, etc. A creative artist chooses a base material and then add additional materials like paint to the sculpture to make it interesting and create elements of pattern, shape or color.
- Collage: When a base like wood, paper, stone, or any object is attached to any other medium like paper or fabric, it can be termed a collage. A Collage gives the impression that is not a planned or controlled work of art. The base can be a blank canvas, pieces of flat wood, paper, cardboard or found objects; so you can make your own mixed media collages with just about anything you can think of. There are endless possibilities and an artist can create a two-dimensional piece by gluing varied materials such as magazines and newspaper clippings, ribbons, paints, ink, paper, fabric, other artworks like photographs, etc. to the base, and then drawing or adding paint. The origins of Collage goes back hundreds of years but it came into prominence only in the early 20th century.
- Assemblage: An Assemblage is similar to collage, but it has three-dimensional elements, that are combined to create a piece of art that tells a story. Found objects, both man-made and natural are typically used in assemblages. Metal pieces, hardware, wooden blocks, cardboard boxes make for sturdy bases for assemblage art. Lightweight objects, to name a few are beads, buttons, wires, plastic bottles, game pieces, toys, and everyday objects.
Some assemblages are hung on the wall like a painting, while others are created as sculptures.
- Altered Books: A book in this mixed media art is taken as a base to create art. It can be transformed into a collage, painting, tearing, etc. so that the book has a new function or to make it more attractive. If the literature of the book is used, it can also be referred to, as part of multimedia art.
- Wet and Dry Media: Mixing drawing with painting is a common technique used in mixed media art. An artist should be aware of the effect the art produces. Charcoal drawing mixed with oil-based paints is an inventive way to make it stand out. Another technique, termed Resist, creates a unique look, combining oil and water-based paints.
How to Start Mixed Media Art?
Mixed Media Artists work with a variety of media in a single artwork. To get started with mixed media art, begin by looking at things around you. You would need a sturdy material which can act as a base like a paper, sketchbook, a box, or any such object you have access to. Begin working with media that you are already familiar with. If you work with watercolors, you can add highlights with colored pencils or markers. You can create collages by rearranging elements in your work using paper, catalogs, stamps, wrapping paper etc and glue them on the surface which could be paper, canvas or woodblocks.
Experiment with new, inventive techniques in mixed media. Adopt a spontaneous playful approach to creating your work and remember to have fun along the way! Artists who work in the field of mixed media and get recognized can come from a variety of backgrounds. They can have formal training in Fine art, or have experience in the craft. As with many art genres, many artists are self-taught.
If you are a Mixed media artist, you can showcase your creations on your portfolio website in a clean, minimalist way. Your website will represent your style of work and attract more clients and inquiries. Opportunities abound, but you have to make sure that viewers understand the idea and concept behind your work.
The themes available on Pixpa are personalizable and can be adapted to the needs of any artist or creative professional. The pages are designed to work with both static images and videos, so you can showcase videos or tutorials of your work. Add your contact details so that potential clients can connect with you. Write an artist statement and consider starting a blog to share more of your work, and stories about the work you're creating, and further differentiate yourself from other artists in your space. Check out this article on how to make your online portfolio stand out.
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Let us explore talented Mixed Media artist portfolios built on Pixpa that you can look at for inspiration.
Based in Bahrain, May tries to show the beauty and vulnerability of humans through her artwork. She makes use of various art materials like acrylics, oil pastels, and charcoal to show her work. Her primary work is titled "Moon people" in which she uses different types of textures. These portraits refuse to obey the gender, age, and race barriers. May wants to show how people in the Middle East and other places encourage hiding suffering and sometimes, happiness.
Scott is a mixed media artist who is also the Printmaking Area Director in the Appalachian State University, North Carolina. He has studied his Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Wisconsin and his Masters of Fine Arts in Printmaking from Ohio University, Ohio. Ludwig is interested in the intersection of digital media, photography, installation, sculpture, drawing, and other non-traditional mediums apart from printmaking. Scott has received many grants, residencies, and fellowships which have funded the creative research in the U.S. and abroad. His work has been exhibited individually and in groups in London, Amsterdam, Beijing, New York, Washington, etc. He has won many accolades like the "Best in Show" in the International Juried Printmaking and Photography Exhibition in 2012. He has traveled through different parts of the world and collected a lot of information on the places he visits. This information helps him to arrive at an intricate visual environment that promotes the understanding of the similarity between the issues around culture, history, and environments.
Shivani is a Delhi based mixed media artist who has studied Bachelors of Fine Arts from the College of Art in Delhi. She did her M.A. from Wimbledon School of Art, London; specializing in painting. She was awarded her the Garhi Grant in 2004, Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship in 2003, among other grants and awards. Her work has been exhibited in Lionel Wendt Gallery in Sri Lanka, Galleria Borowski in Germany and other places. She also has done many group shows in Delhi, Belgium, Brussels, Dubai, etc. Shivani's work tries to explore the issues of gender and the human condition. Her work evokes sensuous response through the elements she chooses in various art forms like photography, painting, sculpture, and video.
Rebekah is an artist from New Zealand who is currently residing in the Blue Mountains of Australia. She has studied her Diploma and Honors in Painting and Drawing from The Learning Connexion School of Creativity and Art. Rebekah loves traveling and finds inspiration from it; she also finds living a minimal lifestyle very appealing. Her fascination for outdoors and animals can be seen in her work. Rebekah aims to make people aware of the environment through her art and wants her work to be intriguing and captivating. She is highly influenced by her imagination and creativity and wants the viewer to look at her work longer and thoughtfully. Rebekah does her mixed media art by using watercolor or watercolor pencils and mixing it with acrylic and ink detailing.
Elia belongs from New York, and she is currently pursuing her Artist-in-Residence program from the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx. She has studied her Bachelor of Arts from Hunter College in 1994. Elia has won many awards and residencies like the Harlem Artist-in-Residence Program, New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, and more. Her work has been exhibited in many reputed places like The Rhode Island School of Design Museum, The Science Museum, London, etc. She is working on a project called "The Supper Club" from the past seven years. The New York Times critically acclaimed her book by the same name. Through the Supper Club Project, Elia wants to bring people from different cultures to study the race and culture in the U.S. by using various means like photography, food, and dialogue. The Smithsonian Museum of Art has collected Elia's work, El Museo del Barrio and others. She is inspired by her surroundings, her friends and family, travels, films, mythologies, etc.
Ife belongs to Washington, D.C.; she started her art education with photography when she was in high school. She continued to study performance art, voice, video production, ceramics, from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Her business IfeArts produces mixed arts such as sculptures, installations, drawings, photography, and fiber arts. Ife is passionate about creating arts and wants to convey freedom, peace, and justice through it. The Ife Franklin Indigo Project is her lifelong project in which she presents the historical, artist, and cultural components of people who endured plantation existence. Many of her work is centered around the lives of former African/African American Slaves in the American South.
John is a contemporary artist from Washington, D.C. His first show was in New York's Artery Gallery named "The Art of Mourning" in honor of his father. The main themes of his work are the hero archetype and the fetishization of the past. John has participated in main solo and group shows in places like New York, Washington, and Miami. He has also successfully managed to auction at Sotheby's in NYC along with other art pieces by Jeff Koons, Ed Ruscha, Yoko Ono, etc. He wants to make art through which people are reminded of something greater than human experience. During his early days, John was involved in making graffiti, which slowly moved towards the classical style of painting. His style slowly evolved from figurative pieces to impressionist ones. He then made a big shift towards the unrestricted abstract style of paintings. During the low point in his life, John felt that painting was like breathing; he wanted to attain some peace and something spiritual through it. John is influenced by the afterlife, youthful innocence, community, and spirituality.
Dominic has done his Bachelors in Fine Arts from Youngstown State University and MFA from Ohio University. He is currently working as an associate professor of photography in the Mississippi State University. Dominic has his work exhibited in numerous places in solo and group exhibitions like Southern Light Gallery, Texas; Manifest Gallery, Ohio; Black Box Gallery, Portland, etc. He has won many grants and awards like the South Arts State Fellowship, Mississippi Arts Commission Mini-Grant, 2015 ViewPoint Gallery Photography Competition, etc. Dominic tries to capture the fictitious moments of his personal surroundings to understand the places where people once lived. He uses staged photography, found photographs, and digital composite techniques to depict the information he wants. His work has been collected by The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, and the University of North Dakota.
Riko is a mixed media artist who belongs from Singapore. She aims to explore the identity and identities of herself through the art she creates. Riko wants to uncover the secrets and hopes to know about these identities, which crosses paths and complicates her existence. Riko started her career by working as a photographer and Editor-in-Chief of Prosaic Magazine. Her work has been exhibited in Singapore Art Museum, Wheelock Art Gallery, Forth Gallery, etc.
Elif is a multidisciplinary visual artist, bilingual writer, and poet. She has done her Bachelors in painting, M.A. in Sculpture from Dokul Eylul University, and a Ph.D. in Fine Art from Monash University. She uses various mediums like painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, print media, installation, performance, digital media, and more to create art. Elif aims to develop the idea around familial, personal, collective trauma, and loss. Her work has brought her to the belief of recovering. It also helped her to acknowledge self-development, desire, yearning, and a sense of homecoming. Elif was the co-winner of People's Choice Award in 2018, and she received the Research Publication Grant Scheme from Monash University, among other awards and grants. Her work has been exhibited in Melbourne, Queensland, Paris, Poland, and other places.
Ashley is a Canadian artist who works mainly with mixed media and acrylics. She has done her BFA in drawing from the Alberta College of Art and Design. Ashley was interested in experimenting with a variety of mediums from her early days. Ashley loves outdoors and is greatly influenced by the Alberta landscape. She tries to depict the abstraction of the landscape in her work; mostly through memories. Her work has more of saturated color palette, which she believes brings the happiness of nature where the art is kept. The mixed media art produced by Ashley examines the light and dark, sharp and soft, day and night. Ashley uses Impasto and Expressionistic techniques in her work which uniquely represents the western landscape.
Andrew is a mixed media artist who likes to paint objects. He is inspired by their shapes, color, and geometry. He likes the process of transforming things into a form like charcoal into space and mud into the light, as he describes it. He is interested in turning everyday objects like a fan, valve, or a jug into pieces of art.
Art comes in many forms and mixed media art is a combination of different materials arranged together to communicate a story. Artists are constantly pushing the boundaries, and we hope there will be more inspiring art forms in the future.
Georgia based Colby got an early exposure to the arts. She learnt about various art movements, styles, techniques and ideas. Colby enjoys expressing herself visually and her art represents her personality. She is greatly influenced by artists like Klimt, Magritte, Alma Thomas, Kahlo, Thorton Dial, and Dali.
Tony is based in Pennsylvania, and is inspired by the idea that our understanding of the past is reflected in how we live in the present. His work on mixed media art is about the nature of memory and the perception of created reality. He creatively makes use of found objects like maps, handwritten notes with organic materials.
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