Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Long Live Mixed Media Art

Picasso's "Still Life with Chair Caning"
A mixed media artist often combines at least two mediums in one piece of artwork. According to art history sources, the term mixed media (also termed collage) began around 1912 with the art of Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso.  However, it was really around well before these men made it avant-garde.

Before Picasso, there were artists from the Byzantine Empire (330 to 1453) who used gilded gold leaf (I use gold metal leaf flakes today, along with innumerable embellishments like manuscripts), frescoes, mosaics, and original manuscripts on their paintings.  By the Dark Ages, however, artists weren't feeling as inspired.  But by the Renaissance, artists started popping up with canvases everywhere and art was coming alive again!  And when the Cubist Movement came around, artists were given artistic freedom to change points of view and play with dimensions...this gave new meaning to mixed media.  

And who were the leaders of this art movement?  Hint...hint...they are mentioned above: Picasso and Braque.  Although they did not work together, their artist expression was similar.  They both chose to work with space and form as the main focus in heir compositions, rather than painting realistic images. 

It was in 1912 that Picasso created his first mixed media piece titled "Still Life with Chair Caning." He took a canvas and dared to paste paper and oilcloth in combination with painted areas.  He dared and proved mixed media art deserved a name. 

Today, mixed media is a celebrated art form by amateur and professional artists alike.  Creativity with mixed media is filled with infinite possibilities...and in my opinion...is best kept that way.  Just about anything can be explored and used within the limitless boundaries of mixed media.