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Using Mixed Media Art Techniques to Create Abstract Mixed Media Installations

by Janine Elske
Escape from Arcania
Escape from Arcania
by Jamie Edwards

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The mixed media art installations are a western contemporary art genre started in 1970s. These installations are produced using different media types (mixed media) and techniques in a single artwork to create a unique, conceptual experience. Mixed media allows greater versatility and a rich viewer experience, owing to the multiple layers characteristic of the art. Popular mixed media artists of the Installation Art genre are Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, among others.

Techniques of Mixed Media Installation Art

Mixed media artists employ a variety of techniques to create unique styles of installation art. This includes the wide variety of materials and the media used. Material choices include the use of textiles, terracotta, cardboard, carpet, spray and oil paints, graphite, sculptures and found objects. Different media types, such as computers, sound and the Internet are used effectively to convey the intended message.

The subject, background and the texture of the mixed media art are also quite important. Mixed media artists use techniques such as creation of impressive embellishments, innovative dying and painting, and needle felting, distressing and embossing, to create unique mixed media installation art.

Works of Famous Mixed Media Artists

The popularity of mixed media art surged with the spectacular works of artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin. The British artist Damien Hirst largely dealt with the concept of life and death in his work. Hirst first rose to popularity in the 1990s, with his installation art titled “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” which was a shark in a formaldehyde-filled glass tank. Also, “For the Love of God.” which was a platinum cast of an 18th century human skull covered in diamonds. Hirst was also awarded the Turner Prize for his work “Third Installation of Pharmacy,” in 1995.

The English installation artist Tracey Emin is a famous exponent of postmodernism whose inspiration for art is her life events. Emin rose to popularity with her 1997 work “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963-1995.” This mixed media artwork featured a tent, which on the inside was appliqu�d with names of her lovers, friends and family. This was followed by her 1999 Turner Prize-nominated installation art “My Bed,” which featured her own, unmade bed strewn with condoms, bottles and general mess. The artist uses a range of media, including needlework, drawing, photography, sculpture, painting, video and mixed media installation art, to express herself.

Mixed media art continues to grow with the use of new and innovative media types and techniques by mixed media artists.