In describing contemporary art, anything from the 1960’s or 1970’s to the present definitely seems within its scope. As the period is continuing to progress while we live it, the true definition of this period of art is yet to be fully identified. Having said that, I defy any art critic who believes they can put a true label onto today’s medium of art types that covers the paint-on-canvas approach simply: any definition of contemporary art must include the varied nature of the mediums now available to us and will include both mixed media and multimedia art forms.
What is Mixed Media Art?
Many elements come together to make up today’s definition of mixed media art; it includes painting, collage, assemblage, recycling, journaling and drawing across a range of substrates. The foundation for many mixed media pieces may be traditional type canvas or modern versions, including clay board or wooden panels. Other substrates include paper, bound journals or altered books. And not only oil or acrylic paints are used; pastels, ink washes, markers and rubber art stamps are all used to add markings to artwork.
The key to great mixed media art includes the composition of each piece. The traditional competition rules tend to apply. How the disparate elements are brought together is where the genius of the true mixed-media artist shines through. Contemporary artists like Seth Apter can bring discarded objects, old books and everyday elements together to create brilliant works of assemblage, or alternatively, lovely paper-based collages or altered books. Both spheres of mixed media can be used interchangeably.
Artists have a range of backgrounds and training. Some arrive at the mix media art form through formal, fine art training. Many others come through a craft background and are self taught.
Here’s a great example of mixed media art creation:
What is multimedia art?
Multimedia art brings together our dominant senses – sight and sound – to create works of art that are often computer generated. It may include traditional art forms like sculpture, but adds the dimension of sound to truly appeal to our emotions. Alternatively it may be more like moving pictures of art. Sometimes they are like a movie or cartoon, other times they are simple moving images like a sophisticated slide show. When the artist brings mediums other than just our sense of sight into works of art, they more easily appeal to our emotions.
Artists of the multimedia form tend to come from computer design backgrounds, although some universities offer multimedia art courses.
This video will give you a more in depth insight into the mind of a multimedia artist:
As the new century continues to unfold, the definition of contemporary art will continue to evolve, but we can rest assured that the multimedia and various other mixed media facets will be included in the art history annuals.