What does mixed media mean to you?
To me, mixed media is the very simplest of things: the blankest of canvases open to ANY mediums you can dream up and combine. It means open possibilities. It means balancing and learning how to find the fine line “between mixed media masterpiece” versus chaos on the canvas, which of course can only be done through practice.
But mixed media also means something deeper to me – the phrase conjures up images of a network of similar women with the same interests and hobbies, all around the world! Even though I will never meet many of them, practicing mixed media makes me feel like I am in a special club.
How long have you been a mixed media artist?
Probably longer than I think! At least nine years, but in the beginning, I just called it “collages” and I didn’t know there was a name for what I was playing around with.
How has art impacted or enhanced your life?
Art-making has been a hobby all of my life. I’ve kept stash-books and decorated journals long before they had fancier names. I think that making art has been a strong trait to my personality, and like many creatives, I consider it therapeutic. I definitely believe that expressive art leads to breakthroughs both small and big. If you actually observe yourself, like an experiment, you will notice an effect on your mood after you’ve created art. Interestingly, starting to really explore painting and mixed media coincided with my divorce. The more I got back in touch with myself, the more my husband reacted negatively to my creative hobbies. Meanwhile, I finally felt on fire about something other than the baby I was staying home with. I ended up leaving him, as he saw my creative practice as a threat!
In my opinion, there’s a real importance to making art, and it is the affect it has on us, but I think there’s something that is even more important, and that is making a committed practice out of your creative practice. So many women I know feel guilty taking time to make art, taking time to play, not selling what they make and “justifying” it. For me, the permission I gave myself, and the letting go of the guilt in order to have a committed, constant, real creative practice without a negative soundtrack in my head has been a big impact on my happiness levels.
Art, to me, is a sensitive term. I prefer to say that I am a creative, because I run my business from all of my unique ideas, but only some of them are “art,” while all of them are creative.
What are a few of the mixed media supplies you find yourself turning to the most?
Spray Inks, for sure. I also love stamp pads. I often wet a brush and soak up a stamp ink color into the brush. I also like to turn it over and rub the ink directly on the canvas. My very favorite adhesive is Gel Medium and I always have to include scraps of miscellaneous paper. Interestingly, I’ve been eliminating, not adding supplies. I’ve gotten down to just a few of each thing. I learned that even though I think they are “cool,” I don’t actually use washi tape much. Or stamps. I’m not sure why, but I just haven’t fallen in love with either. But I love spray inks, the ink pads, and a great white pen that will write over acrylic paint.
Who are some of your favorite mixed media artists?
Crystal Neubauer’s collages are amazing. I love Kelly Barton for her bright colors, so similar to my own favorite colors. I am in awe of Danielle Donaldson’s palate and style. I really love French artist Laly Mille‘s. My dear friend Kelli May-Krenz has a ridiculous mixed media style! I’m sure I’m forgetting many.
Tell us about your creative process.
It’s really just two steps: Make a mess, create some order out of that mess. I use the tools that make me happiest. Usually my hands and acrylic paint ( I have brushes, but mostly for decoration), and gel medium and ripped paper. I like to experiment with new supplies too – my new favorite is NeoColor II crayons for art journaling.
Usually, the biggest obstacle to our creative process is our own selves! So I, like every single other professional artist, definitely have to have a mantra (or two) in my arsenal to combat the negative voices in my head when things don’t look very good. I remind myself it’s the “awkward teenager phase” or also, that I can just cover it up and start over if it’s really too ugly!
With painting and mixed media, I often feel that I can be really free and let whatever happens, happen.
When it comes to how often I create, I may be an oddity. I only have a one bedroom apartment for myself and my five year old boy, so we don’t have a lot of space. I’ve created an “Art Nook” in the corner of the room that is also the office, kitchen, dining room, and my sleeping room. I don’t actually make art on a daily basis, because leaving the mess out makes me crazy in such a small space. Instead I will get into a roll making art for a few days non-stop, and then I’ll clean up and take a break for a week or two. I can’t go too long without some sort of art making!
What makes your mixed-media art unique?
Ha! That it’s mine. I have this conversation with so many other artists. Nothing is new. There’s a lot of fear about copying. What I find makes my art unique is simply that I am making it. Perhaps it’s the color schemes – I love Hawaii so I typically use “tropical” colors. Lately I’ve been playing around with creating my own drawing “font” or style of lettering. I also avoid almost all pre-made scrapbooking/decorative papers. Instead, I use scrap paper to collect paint while I am painting a canvas, and then I use that paper – ripping it up – in my mixed media. That way it is not copyable, I’m not worried about copyright infringement and it’s the most unique it can be!
|Jessica Brogan is a published writer, photographer and artist. She also runs the International, and extremely popular “Inspirational Card Deck” ATC Swap (details at www.carddeckswap.com). She lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma as a single mom, and is building her online repertoire of e-courses and e-books for creative hobbyists at www.jessicaleighbrogan.comI love to connect, and I hope you’ll come friend me on Facebook!|