Is Mixed Media Art Real Art?
Do we make real art? And . . . should we care??
Before the world became so connected (Hey, Internet) it often seemed like there was one approved path for doing certain things. Sure, some people straggled off the path and were later hailed as geniuses or trailblazers, but those people were more often than not tormented and ridiculed for daring to do things differently as much as they were touted (posthumously most likely).
The art world is changing at a rapid rate thanks to artists being able to represent themselves and sell works on the internet. But just a few short years ago, the way to become an artist was pretty cut and dried. Go to art school. Work with a gallery.
That was it.
Most artists who wanted to do things differently were met with closed door after closed door. If you didn’t have a foot in the door in the art world, or if it wasn’t deemed important by the powers that be, you were doomed to obscurity.
Now we have the internet. We have Etsy, and Fine Art America, and online galleries, and personal websites. Artists have a way. We can go around the established routes and blaze a trail. There are still repercussions, of course, but thanks to the likes of artists like Banksy, Ashley Longshore, and Unskilled Worker painter Helen Downie (to name three vastly different working artists today), artists are no longer trapped by the traditional way of doing things.
What Does This Mean for Us?
It doesn’t matter if you want to paint and sell paintings online, or if you want to paint and give paintings away to your friends and family. If you are creating, doesn’t that mean it’s real art?
It should. But just like with everything else in the world today, there are critics and naysayers and trolls. Despite all the progress we have made and all the trails artists before us have blazed, we still may face criticism from people. We live in a world with hundreds of different styles of art, yet there are still those people who only have a narrow definition of what art should be, what it should look like.
If you have picked up a pencil, a paintbrush, heck, even a digital pen and used it to make artwork, you created real art. It has value, it has meaning, and it has the potential to connect with people through its message or technique. Will everyone who sees it consider it to be “real” art?
And this is what we as artists have to be prepared for and okay with. We have to be confident in what we create, and be loyal to our vision. We have to continue to create in the face of criticism and personal taste.
It’s not easy. Not at all.
Artists are not generally know for their enormous wells of confidence and total lack of self consciousness. (I mean a few are pretty good egos, but overall artists are known to be self-critical and tormented for a reason, right?)
But never doubt that you are not a real artist. If you create art and you’re not AI, I think we’re good here.
So, What About Mixed Media Art?
Mixed media art may sometimes get a bad rap in some circles for not being real art, but I say that’s horseshit. You know why?
Guess who basically invented mixed media art?
Yes, that Picasso. Together with his friend Georges Braque in 1912.
If it was good enough for Picasso . . . well you get the idea.
Picasso and Braques experimented with the idea of “collage” art. Basically, the concept of gluing different media to the canvas. From that seed of an idea comes today’s art scene. A variety of different mixed media techniques are employed by some of the world’s most famous artists. (Want to know which of those styles is right for you? Check out my article Different Styles of Mixed Media Art: How to Find Your Perfect Fit).
I think it’s officially safe to say that you can have no fear. Mixed media art is here to stay and is an accepted form of real art by many. Will every gallery or art critic be on board with that? Of course not. But if you are on fire about the art you create, then it doesn’t matter what a certain gallery or critic says anyway.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever wondered if you’re a real artist, or been criticized for the type of work you produced? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.
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