What does mixed-media art mean to you?
Mixed-media art is about freedom of expression and about daring. When I was learning to be a visual artist, I started with the pencil. It was safe and provided a way of fixing what didn’t work. Later, I went on to explore media that was more adventurous and loose: paint, ink, ceramics, dyed fabric. Mixed-media sometimes takes a perfectly acceptable and desirable state of existence for a work of art and covers it up, mars it, or alters it so that it will never again be the same. As the artist, I can take a piece through several layers like this, each one stripping the work from the momentarily exquisite way it looked and giving it a whole new life. Destroying that layer to create a new one forces me sit in the unknown, invites me to live in the moment, makes me high with curiosity and courage. In a lot of ways it is a metaphor for living. Do I risk destroying what I have in order to embrace the possibility of something better? Can I live with failure? What beauty can I glean from a perceived mistake? All of this sits with me in the studio when I do mixed-media. It makes me feel alive!
How long have you been a mixed-media artist?
I discovered mixed-media art as a drama teacher. I often got paired with my art educator partner. Over the years, I was introduced to a variety of art techniques that I would play with at home. I had always been a journal keeper and began using much of what I learned from her in my journal. Because I had never been formally trained, I didn’t have any rules about how to do what I wanted to express, so I became sort of bohemian in my approach. I used what I had and looked for unusual application for my supplies. Even to this day, I challenge myself to see something in a material that others might not see.
This art doll was made with a styrofoam plate.
How has your art impacted or enhanced your life?
Art has been a balm for my spirit, a call for re-creation and transformation. It is how I approach everything from a practical creative project to relationships, food, pain management, stress, joy…you name it, if it is part of my life, I connect with it through art.
What are a few of the mixed-media supplies you find yourself using most?
I love using wire, especially for my 3D mixed media pieces. I have also been using a lot of wood in my art. I enjoy taking pieces meant for building or garden supplies and turning them into something unexpected.
Who are some of your favorite mixed-media artists?
Right now I am really digging Tracy Verduga’s work. It inspires me. I also enjoy Traci Bunkers. Her flip flop stamps transformed my art. Deborah Koff-Chapin does something with art that I aspire to. She pioneered a technique called touch drawing which expresses the creative spirit.
What makes your mixed-media art unique?
My art is often about exploring some aspect of myself or society. It may include journaling pieces, visual storytelling, and a spiritual aspect. I enjoy playing with whimsy and color. I also bring a 3D aspect to mixed media that I haven’t seen a lot. Even my paintings are often on objects rather than paper or canvas. I also apply materials to the surface to create texture. This is often in an attempt to make the object feel as if it is fantastical. I also delve into the realm of art dolls, using them both as toys and sacred objects.
Where can we find you?
About Rachél Payne: I came to art through the path of self-care. I used it to straighten out what was hurting and to uncover the shining spirit within. I have continued to use it for stress management and as my favorite form of play. I have been sharing my love of art with others in class, workshops, creativity circles, and as a key note speaker. As a counseling student, I was honored to receive an award from the Association for Creativity in Counseling. In 2010, several of my art based interventions were published in Integrating the Expressive Arts into Counseling Practice by Suzanne Degges-White and Nancy Davis. Next year, I am excited to be joining the team of artists who are teaching at Creatives- Celebrating Sisterhood Retreat at Lake Geneva, WI.