Mixed Media Art Can be Subtle or Obvious
By - Jeff Marks
Mixed media art can mean different things to different people. Basically, mixed media art is when a piece of art is created using more than one medium. Medium basically refers to any material that an artist uses to create their piece of work. Lets first take a look at different types of media, and how it is used in mixed media art.
In painting, media refers to both the base to which the paint is applied, the type of paint used, and method used to apply the paint. Different types of bases include canvas, glass, metal, paper, cloth and wood. Paints used can be oils, acrylics, watercolors, enamel, ink and tempera. Different types of application include brushes, aerosol cans, sticks, palette knife, action painting, and fingers.
When it comes to sculpture, different media includes the material used for carving (stone, marble, wood, ice, wax, plaster or granite), the material out of which the sculpture is cast (bronze, metal, plaster, plastic or cement), and materials out of which a sculpture is modeled (clay, plaster, and papier-mâché). The medium can also include the tools (knife, power tools, saw, potter's wheel, wire cutters, sandpaper and more) used to create the sculpture.
Sometimes mixed media art is very subtle, other times blatantly obvious. I have seen some wonderful mixed media art in which acrylic is used on a metal base, and then small, gritty media, like sand or rice, is mixed into the acrylic to add texture to the painting. At times like this, it can be hard to spot when different media is used in the paint, but the texture and dimension added to the art can really make a difference in the overall finished piece.
A real fun, and obvious, form of mixed media art is assemblage. Assemblage is a form of art that is three dimensional and composed of putting together objects that are found. Assemblage really takes mixed media art to a new level. Instead of using the traditional mixed media objects, it branches out to include anything that an artist uses to create their piece of art. It can range from common, everyday items to unusual things that you wonder where the artist even managed to find them. This form of mixed media art is fun for anyone to try, from young to old, by yourself or with a group. I have even seen local fairs that have a new assembled art category using recycled items.
In a world today where "going green" and recycling is highly promoted, and even encouraged and taught in the schools, using items in art that no longer can be used in a traditional manner has become very popular. It is another form of recycling. Some artists have become very popular and talented in this field of art.
Regardless of your preference of artistic styles, it is not unusual for there to be a mix of different media. Check out the mixed media art the next time you are in an art gallery, some will be obvious, but look closely at the different canvases, some will unexpectedly be mixed media art.
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There are some wonderful examples of mixed media art online at Fairhaven Originals Gallery (FOG).