Mixed media artwork and how it adds dimension to your space

 

Mixed Media Collage on Canvas: Adam Collier Noel

by Adam Collier Noel

Is your space feeling flat and drab?

Understand, the way you set up your space can set you up for greatness. 

Sometimes the wall paint and traditional artwork just do not move you but instead, wash you out. 

Mixed media changes that, it’s a new wave without being well, new. 

Here’s why. 

Mixed media artwork is a fresh, unchained, take on the creation of art. Like the first time, you heard that song on wax and it was like butter, it’s one of those styles that gets better with time.  

It says what other genres of artwork can’t and because it is not quite about its emotions it translates that honesty and rawness into any space with dynamism and dimension. 

I can wax lyrical all day about the power of mixed media but how about I show you.

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Mixed Media on Canvas: It’s just a question of time by Kris Gebhardt

“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”

― Vincent Van Gogh

What is mixed media?

 

Vintage Measuring Tape on Panel: The Category is by Tim Yankosky

Mixed media is what Van Gogh said, it is the activity of loving many things. It’s putting those many things you love into one piece and allowing it to go out into the world and be limitless. In the process it makes the viewer feel what millennials and gen z’s call “ All of the things”. 

Mixed media is the free verse of art that doesn’t care about rhyme or reason. It doesn’t care about the judges’ perfect score of 30 in the spoken word poetry slam, or even whether every literary device is textbook perfect. 

Mixed media cares about putting whatever ought to be put together– together. It is not necessarily looking for pragmatism, but certainly won’t compromise on poise. Whether it makes sense to the sensible, mixed media puts those mediums together into a metaphor or expression, hyperbolic or otherwise to make the point that only those things together can make. 

 

What you have left is what Clive Barker said in Abarat: Days of Magic, Nights of War, “Any fool can be happy. It takes a man [or woman] with a real heart to make beauty out of the stuff that makes us weep.” Mixed Media does this with its hands behind its back, because it’s some of the most fearless work, the rebellious little sister or brother of all other art genres. 

You see, it grew up wanting to be like its siblings but found that in order to be true to itself it had to fall out of every line. And it does it, gracefully and perhaps not, but with the same end result of elemental boldness. 

Using more than one media, oil and water color, resin and typography, acrylic and colored pencil, wood and metal,  or any type of material mixed media art work does a solid dance uplifting spaces, pulling you out of time, and into the love of art, space, and the power it has over decor, energy and conversation. 

To really experiment with mixed media on your own we’re challenging you to create your own mixed media gallery wall.  These work in any space or venue. 

Read on for the details.   

The making of a mixed media home gallery wall 

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Photo by Manja Vitolic on Unsplash

One of the better ways to experiment at home or the office with mixed media artwork is to create your own gallery wall. 

Gallery walls can add so much dimension to your space, depending on the pieces chosen and how you choose to maneuver them. You can quite literally make your room feel like it’s breathing by playing organically with the space. You get to use all of your senses and design a room that encapsulates all of your perceptions without bounds.  

You can give your home or office a new life, and in turn, offer yourself something special when you enter. Friends and colleagues may be asking you if you’ve got an interior design side hustle. 

Mixed Media gallery walls work because you can play with angles, textures, items, sizes, sculptures, room corners, and utilize wall and floor space. Even below, the inspiration in this photo engages the coat hanger as part of the gallery wall.

Gallery walls can be extremely functional not just for stationary and looks. 

Here are 3 tips that can help no matter your space: 

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Gallery Wall Inspo

Draft your idea 

Once you’ve found your inspiration and potential pieces similar to those images above, use those to recreate your own idea and sketch it out on paper. It doesn’t have to be anything intense or dramatic, just get your idea on paper so you aren’t trying to piece it together on the wall. 

Determine the framing, sizes, and positions whether they will be vertical, horizontal, spherical, or if you’ll include that family heirloom crest and something that hangs maybe even a custom neon light quote. Include at least one-floor piece and allow for dramatic height changes for spice. Remember to be bold and explorative. 

Let the wall tell a story. 

Find a centerpiece 

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Clay high fire with cast glass top, whip design, Swarovski & cast glass shoes: Untitled VIII by Estella Fransbergen

It can feel a little overwhelming when you’re selecting mixed media pieces for your gallery wall but first, remember to choose what you love. Pick pieces that captivate you. 

Choose the art that makes you jump inside as your centerpiece, the one you first thought would look great as an addition to your gallery walls like your favorite record player or vintage typewriter. Now, curate all the other pieces around it.

Consider pops of color, or tone it down in contrast with the color the wall may already be. You may even want to use a functional piece as your centerpiece, like your desk. Consider using hanging plants, and lighting. What you decide here depends on the feeling you want when you people enter the room. Are you looking to give off a love of family? Your wedding photo can be the centerpiece. Other additions you’ll probably want to use a lot of are family center photography, your daughter’s old baby booties, or the gold rattle your son was given when he was born. 

If you want majesty and magic you may be looking for lots of pops of colors, a unicorn head, or fun colorful lightning. If your theme is Afrocentric and earthy you may want to include African masks, pops of yellow, Ghanian prints, or water oak sculptures.  

Lay it all out on the floor 

Next, lay it all out on the floor and position all the artwork just so. You want to make your edits this way, decide what to keep and what to remove. You may determine nothing is really coming together as you planned, take a short break and return to the project if this is the case. 

To ease the process, creating stencils can help with the visual. Trace the items that you can onto kraft paper you can get at a local big box store or art supply locale. Cut the paper into the shapes of the objects you’ll be using and tape them to the wall with painter’s tape. This way you can avoid doing a demolition project on your home, especially if it’s a rental. You can also work smarter by nailing through the paper and tearing it down after this step. The artwork can then go directly in its place. 

Be flexible

Be flexible, sometimes you can’t see your wall until items start to go up. In this case, you may be moving things from one wall to another and switching the same piece of art 5 or 7 times. Be prepared for this step and have some extra caulk and paint on stand-by if you happen to need to patch anything up. 

Be flexible and allow the art to tell you where it wants to go.

Bold Bizarre, Brilliance 

 

Mixed Media Resin on Canvas: Human by Andrea Dasha Reich

“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.”

Coco Chanel

Mixed media artwork is the absence of monotony. It’s opposed to Coco Chanel in some ways but very much what she stands for. Sometimes there is nothing to take off. Mixed media does more than what is considered enough but somehow it doesn’t seem like it is doing too much. It strikes the delicate balance between giving everything but not so much that it feels like an overshare or that something was missing. 

Mixed media adds dimension and refuses the emptiness, even when it is purposely allowing for empty space it finds a way to be present. 

Mixed media is not afraid to step on toes and look crazy to outsiders. It has a charm only those meant to resonate with it will see. 

And it is often what is not embraced readily, that holds to the deepest forms of beauty. 

“The beautiful is always bizarre.”

Charles Baudelaire