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Enjoying Mixed Media For What It Is

By: Jeff Marks

Mixed media is an art form that is fun and playful. And while it can be processed as figurative, deeply mysterious or referential, I think it best to just enjoy it for what it is.

Mixed media is sometimes called assemblage art. It is a way of altering or arranging things into new forms and shapes. It includes things like collage, or some other handmade item, using a wide collection of things. It doesn't really matter what those things are, or where they come from. That's one of the things that makes this type of art so exciting and delightful.

My first impression of mixed media was that it is fun, whimsical, sort of easy to understand, and maybe not worth taking too serious. It is certainly fun. I mean, when do you get a chance to experience chunks of miscellaneous rubbish put together in different ways to make an entirely new form or figure? You just don't see it lying around. Mixed media art pieces don't put themselves together. They don't just appear randomly. They are deliberate and engaging. Whether it is worth taking serious or not is for each individual to say. It is, perhaps, best to see mixed media as a way of integrating different items, either found or reclaimed, into something wonderfully new. 

Think back on your own childhood experiences and you will quickly discover that mixed media is probably one of the first things you ever did in your early art classes at school. They might not have called it that, but it really is what it is. Remember? The teacher lines all the kids up against the wall and rehearses the rules about going outside. Then, once proper instruction was give, you all marched dutifully down the hall, through those big metal and glass doors, and out to the playground. Once there you were likely given the freedom to begin your search for the items from nature that would later become your masterpiece. You found maple leaves, pine cones, grasses, maybe a snail shell or a dead bug. Before you knew it the teacher was calling for all the kids to return. 

You were so proud of the things you found as you marched back into the classroom. After lunch you got out your glue and paper and start assembling your treasures. Creative freedom was yours! You carefully assembled your mixed media items into the shape of a tree, bird, or fish. It didn't matter. You got to do what you wanted to do. I remember how proud I was to present my finished "art" to my parents. They made a small fuss over it before moving on to the more important things in their day, but I lingered on what a marvelous thing I had done.

Not all art has to be stuffy, complex, elevated, or stodgy. Thank goodness for mixed media. It can be interpreted and internalized, as if it were an abstract painting, but it is probably best to just enjoy it for what it is. Making it into something it isn't takes the fun out of it, at least for me. No, I prefer to see it as an artist's creative expression, one that embraces the playfulFind Article, imaginative side of our humanity. I am happy to enjoy mixed media for what it is and not try to make it into something it isn't.

Courtesy: Articles Factory