Mixed media artists create visual works of art using a variety of tools and substances, frequently moving well beyond the traditional. Surfaces and substances found in mixed media artwork include typical artistic implements but expand to non-traditional materials. Mixed media art comes in multiple forms, including collage, assemblage, photomontage, and sculpture. Many mixed media projects are layered, making foundation and timing two of the most important considerations for mixed media artists.
Base materials used for mixed media art projects include typical surfaces such as canvas and paper. Other foundations used by mixed media artists can be made of plaster, rock, cork, and fabric. Mixed media sculptures can have any foundation imaginable, and artists often use natural or recycled surfaces. The foundation for a work of mixed media art may help the artist give meaning and purpose to his or her artwork.
Art supplies used by mixed media artists range from the traditional to the imaginative. Oil- and water-based paints are regularly used in mixed media artwork along with ink, pastels, and pencils. In keeping with the nontraditional side of mixed media art, a wide variety of objects are used in mixed media sculpture and collage art. Contemporary mixed media artists have been known to use string, buttons, newspaper clippings, and pieces of glass or metal in their mixed media art installations.
Collage art is one of the most popular techniques used by mixed media artists. A collage typically contains multiple layers made of a variety of substances. Strong foundation materials are vital to a collage in order to support the various media used to create the art piece. Layering can be time consuming and requires patience, as each layer must be allowed to dry thoroughly before moving on to the next layer.
Only the imagination limits a mixed media work of art. Some mixed media artists work only with natural substances to send an earth-friendly message. Recycled materials are frequently used in mixed media art projects, allowing artists to express their creativity by repurposing everyday objects and used items. Aluminum cans, plastic bottles, and locally produced materials may help tell a particular story through art.
The term mixed media art may be confused with multimedia art. The biggest difference between these two types of artwork is that mixed media refers to visual art projects. Multimedia art includes non-visual elements such as music, sound, and motion to create a work of art that is not limited to visual expression.