Mixed Media Art

Mixed Media Art


Creativity is all about experimenting with different ideas in a hope to create new and unique works of art. It is this search that prompts all artists to try out using new media and sometimes mix different media to create a new work of art. This form of art that uses multiple media or material to create a single work of art is called mixed media art. A painting that is created by using more than one media or material is called mixed media painting. 

What Mixed Media actually is: 

File:Alberto Baumann Eredità del ventesimo secolo 1980 cm 100x100.jpg -  Wikimedia Commons

Many a times, artists try to use a new media to create a work of art. At times, they use more than one media or material in the same artwork to create something unique. This artwork, which involves 2 or more different material are called Mixed Media. For example, an artist may add sculpture to his painting, or draw on top of photography prints. In simple words, Mixed media is all about breaking the traditional boundaries between different art forms to create something very innovative and unique artwork. 

History of Mixed Media 

The great painter, Pablo Picasso is believed to be the pioneer of Mixed Art. It was in 1912, when Picasso created his famous collage, titled, Still Life with Chair Caning. In this modern artwork, he used variety of materials like paper, cloth, paint, and a rope. He created what appeared as a table with a cut lemon, a knife, a napkin and a newspaper among other small items. All these elements put together gave the painting a pseudo 3D effect. The result was a stunning work of art, which inspired many other artists to try and adopt mixed media. Due to this, the entire 20th century, witnessed a growth in popularity of mixed media, with many famous artists like Henri Matisse, Joseph Cornell, Jean Dubuffet, and Ellsworth Kelly adopting it. This prompted artists to innovate newer and newer ideas like ‘installations’. Even today, mixed media art and mixed media art painting continues to be a popular art form among the artists. 

Evolution of Mixed Media: 

Over a period of time, due to contributions by several artists and growth in technology, many forms of mixed media have become popular. Some of these distinct art forms are as follows: 

  • Collage: This art form involves combining different media like paper cuttings, pictures, ribbons among other things to create a single composite artwork.  
  • Assemblage: This is like a 3-D avatar of a collage. In this mixed media variant of collage, the elements pop in our out of a defined plane surface, or it may completely be an arrangements of 3-D objects arranged in an artistic manner.  
  • Found Object Art: Sometimes, artists use some common objects in their artwork, which have a perceived artistic value. This mixed media art is called Found Object Art. 
  • Altered Books: In this art form, artists pick up a book, and modify or alter that book by using its content to create an artwork or do a simple cut and paste of its pages to change the contents of the book. 

Mixed Media Painting: 

Talking about Mixed Media, painting is one of the most popular art forms, where a painter can use multiple media to create wonderful effects. An artist who does not have much experience, may make a painting with ink and then use water colours to fill the drawing and then highlight it using a coloured pencil – that is considered a mixed media painting. Whatever combination one may choose, mixed media painting makes the mind open to a sky of possibilities and creativity. 

Tips to create mixed media painting: 

So, you want to try your hand at mixed media. Well, it’s not that difficult. Here are some tips that will help you become a good mixed media artist. 

  • To create a mixed media painting, first and foremost the artist needs to have confidence in his or her abilities and not be afraid of taking risk. 
  • Keep your eyes open to everything around you. Treat every surface as a possible canvas, waiting to be used. 
  • Deliberately try to change the media you work with. You may start with the media, you are most comfortable with, but don’t be scared of experimenting with new media. 
  • When attempting your first mixed media, be playful and don’t be afraid of creating a mess around you. The main idea of doing this is to get a feel of how different media interact with one another.  
  • One word of advice. While using mixed media, make sure that base layer is strong enough to handle whatever you pout over it, without getting bent.  


Mixed media is a result of an artist’s urge to experiment with various media or material to create something innovative. Something that would give an artist the creative satisfaction of having created something unique. 

The most interesting part about mixed media is that it is limitless. Only sky is the limit. And it can take so many forms. This makes mixed media all the more fun. An artist may use water colours, pencil colours, wax colours, fabric colours, acrylic colours, or anything else to make a painting.  The artist needs to understand how well one media would interact with another media. By using a host of different but coherent media in a single artwork, an artist can get the best out of each media and create a masterpiece.