Mixed Media

In visual arts, the term Mixed Media refers to a work of art that embodies more than one medium. For example, a canvas that features acrylic paint, ink, and collage could be termed Mixed Media. In this way, the term is an umbrella for visual art works that reflect more than one type of artistic medium. Mixed media artworks are currently popular in the art world. The term has been used since the Post-Modern art period of the twentieth century; yet the practice of combining different types of media to create an artwork dates back to antiquity.

Mixed Media artists typically feature combinations of media that can vary greatly in terms of composition, color, texture, size, and more. Many Mixed Media artists are just as concerned about the processes they use to create art as they are about the materials they use. Today there are professional mixed media artists as well as amateur artisans who create both arts and crafts. Some of the most popular forms Mixed Media Art include collage, sculpture, altered books, scrapbooks, and greeting cards. Of course, traditional canvas art also employs various forms of Mixed Media as well.

Artists employ a wide variety of materials to create Mixed Media Art. Found objects like seashells, stones, and natural fibers may be employed. Other materials could include beads, textiles, paper, clay, ink, pigment, paint, gold leaf, charcoal, metal, and much more. Many artists enjoy working with Mixed Media as it allows for great flexibility. Mixed Media also adapts well to a wide array of styles.

Various artists have been associated with Mixed Media Art. Some notable artists include Max Ernst, Edgar Degas, Marcel Duchamp, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso, and Man Ray. Interestingly, artists working at during different eras and favoring different styles have been associated with the use of various art mediums in combination.

Some celebrated works of Mixed Media Art include Still Life with Chair Caning (1911-1912) by Pablo Picasso, Blue Nude II (1952) by Henri Matisse, and Just What Is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?(1956) by Richard Hamilton.  

Many artists as well as collectors are intrigued by the tactile elements of Mixed Media Art as well as its two or three-dimensional presentations. Though many artists rely on their technical training when it comes to the mixing of materials, they also often explore new techniques and combinations of styles when working with Mixed Media making this art form consistently a pioneering and continuously evolving form of art.