Mixed media is a term used in visual art where it refers to the producing of any artwork using more than one type of media. Basically, mixed media is one of the most common methods of producing art work because artists today are more prone to combine several types of media when working on their body of work. One must not be confused between mixed media and ‘multimedia art’ where the former is as mentioned, involved in the process of making the art. On the other hand, the latter refers to using of digital means of sound, visual and animation in the art.
The easiest way to identify an artwork made in ‘mixed media’ is by reading the statement by the artist. This is usually provided for in the tag that is provided by the gallery usually attached next to the painting. When a piece of artwork is labelled as mixed media, it means that the artist has combined the use of different ways to complete the work. This is in contrast to the likes of other artwork which involved only a single type like ‘oil on canvas’ which means that the artist had used only oil to paint on the canvas.
Mixed media on canvas means that the artist would have most likely used acrylic, watercolour and collage to complete the art work. This could also include the likes of using other means where artists have been known to use photography and such in their paintings. Mixed media involves the use of layers to complete the art work which will usually determine the final outcome of the work. If the artist decides to use mixed media in the artwork, they would usually adopt the ‘fat over lean’ concept in which the oil media is usually used last.
One of the main reasons why mixed media is used in art is that the artist is allowed to be more expressive in many ways. In many cases, the artist found that using one type of media might not be too appropriate and decides that other objects be involved as well. This is where one sees paintings with newspaper clippings and even 3-dimensional objects like bottles and cups as well. Consequently, this allows the artist to paint a richer piece where they are able to provide more details and such. The idea behind this type of style is that mixed media offers a wide range of freedom for the artist to somehow combine two and three dimensional objects. Some have also called this a combination of installation and 2-dimensional art although this concept is still highly contentious.
Malaysian artists who usually adopts mixed media styles usually combines the commonly used material are oil and acrylic. Some have also mixed charcoal with pencil while many other combinations also exist. Awang Damit’s mixed media painting of ‘Iraga yang Tersadai’ is one of the good examples of this type of artwork where the integration of different media gives the painting a richer and stronger outlook than if made using a single type of colour.