There are so many different styles of art that it is easy to get some of them confused with others, especially if they have similar names. One area where there seems to be a great deal of confusion is in distinguishing between mixed media art and multimedia art. They do sound similar and it is common for people to assume that these terms both refer to the same type of artwork. However, there are some very clear distinctions that set these apart. When you understand these distinctions it becomes clear that the two are actually very different!
What Is Mixed Media Art?
Mixed media art is a type of visual art which incorporates various different types of art media. For example, a canvas which combines paint, ink and collage techniques could be considered to be mixed media artwork. Similarly, a sculpture constructed from clay with other materials embedded would also be considered mixed media. In short, mixed media is artwork which uses more than one medium in its creation. The image below shows Kyle Boganwright’s ‘Whale’ which is a good example of mixed media art as it incorporates pen, ink and watercolor paint in its composition. If you are looking for more examples of mixed media art, then you can look out for books about the topic. There is a great selection available from www.jacksonsart.com including ‘Exhibition 36: A Gallery of Mixed Media Inspiration’ by Susan Tuttle which is a personal favorite of mine.
What Is Multimedia Art?
On the other hand, multimedia artwork covers a far broader spectrum. Often the term relates to art installations which combine both audio and visual components. This might include merging drama, dance, film, graphics, music and even interactive elements.
Often multimedia art galleries will display artwork with lighting and sound incorporated in the display to give viewers the complete multi-sensory effect.
Key Differences Between Mixed Media & Multimedia
In order to separate these two postmodern art forms, the key difference is that mixed media art covers all forms of visual art (sculpture, painting, drawing etc.) which incorporates two or more mediums. This is often done by layering materials to create more interesting textures. However, multimedia not only incorporates these visual arts, but also additional audio visual elements and also other arts such as literature, drama and dance. Multimedia is by its very definition the broader of the two while mixed media art has more limitation.
Examples of Mixed Media Art
Once you understand what mixed media art actually is you may start to notice many different examples of it in everyday life. Like all art, it is all about freedom to express yourself so examples of mixed media art are varied. Some of the common examples that you may have noticed include some greeting cards which are often created using scrapbooking techniques where the main painted or drawn image is embellished with other materials such as glitter, ribbons and other types of decoration.
Another popular form of mixed media artwork is the artist trading card (ATC). These small 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch cards art not exclusively mixed media, but it is a popular technique which many artists use to create tiny pieces of art which are swapped or traded with other artists.
In conclusion, the easiest way to tell the difference between mixed media and multimedia is to keep in mind that mixed media art will combine two or more forms of visual art whereas multimedia art will combine visual art with audio visual elements and even elements of other art forms includings literature, drama and dance.
–Alison Lansky is a mother of two great kids and loves to blog on a variety of topics which catch her interest including art, parenting and family.
A big thank you to Alison for sending me this interesting and informative article. I would also like to extend a big thank you to you, for checking out my blog. Help me spread the word by sharing it with others, thanks for stopping by!