From early in the history of man we have felt a need to express ourselves, our beliefs and the world around us. This has created a hugely diverse and increasingly complex art world. By the start of last century, we had already discovered most different mediums and forms that we can present art within. It is from this point that mixed media has grown. In its most basic form, it means the use of a variety of different mediums in order to create a single piece of work. However, this is an incredibly basic definition of this highly complex format and there are lots of other features that combine to classify a work of art as mixed media.


The use of mixed media really began around 1912 with cubist collages and constructions of both Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. It then grew in popularity and support throughout the twentieth century. Currently there are many artists who work exclusively within the mixed media area.

Detailed Definition

Sometimes this is called assemblage art and most will consider mixed media to be any artwork that includes more than one material. This gives the term ‘mixed media ‘huge scope. Artwork over the years has combined different painting techniques, collage work and objects like seashells, metal and more to create a complete image with a unique texture. This style provides the artist with a huge amount of flexibility.  Mixed media arguably even stretches to cover card-making, scrapbooking and similar crafts. It is an incredibly wide ranging art from that is embraced by many artists.


Not only does mixed media incorporate a wide range of different materials, it also combines many techniques. In one piece there may be needlework, oil painting and collage. This means that artists working in mixed media normally have a broad skill base and experience of different techniques. They are also innovators and many will teach themselves to use new techniques – with some even developing their own unique processes to create their artworks.

Mixed Media vs Multi-Media

Both these styles do use a range of different materials and take inspiration from different movements. But multi-media artwork tends to include electronic mediums in the format of audio, video, film and computer work. Which is a clear differentiation from mixed media.

The variety of textures is part of the reason that this format has grown in appeal amongst collectors. Artists tend to use a mixture of techniques that they have used before but also teach themselves new ones, meaning that this form of art is continuously evolving.

Will you consider buying a mixed media artwork for your home? Take a look in the Art2Arts catalogue for a wide selection of pieces and share your favourites with us on our social media pages.


Artwork by Casimira Mostyn