Mixed Media is one of the greenest of art forms being practiced today. I was clueless about it until just a few years ago when trolling Ebay and coming across the whole assemblage category. I was instantly affected by the endless possibilities it allowed. I jumped right in with both feet and it has inspired me to create some of my more unique work.
Whenever I feel the need to just “do” art, without premeditation or direction, I pull out a mess of random items and supplies and just play. Mixed media has a playfulness to it that other mediums do not have and I love the randomness of it and the adventure on the journey to a finished piece.
Truth be told, with my home decorating projects and keeping my Etsy shops going, I have not had a lot of time to “play” in the mixed media pool.
Do I Look Fat in This?
But every now and then, an idea comes to mind that I just can't shake off until it is made tangible.
In the current economic climate, most of us are looking to save a dime here and there and fortunately for the entire planet, it has fueled the “green” revolution and encouraged us to think outside the box and reuse, repurpose and recycle.
What better way to reduce your “carbon footprint” than to purpose used or vintage items, as they were originally meant to be used or to recycle them for a completely new purpose.
reuse • repurpose • recycle
Of course, “going green” is not a new idea to any of us, but as these terms are being bandied about, I wondered what their actual definitions were and how they varied, if at all.
Yes, here I am again, trying to “define” something else. What can I say, I like organization. It is the graphic artist in me.
According to Wikipedia, that constant online source that everyone says is not reliable:
1.To reuse for a different purpose, on a long-term basis, without alteration.
I apply the repurpose theory to my home decorating as well as to my art. Thrift store treasures find a new life in my home after a coat of paint and a dash of embellishment. For some examples of my thrifty home décor projects, visit my other blog: www.ignaziosmom.blogspot.com
As to my current artisan projects, I have been recycling vintage handbags by embellishing them with my own hand painted artwork and will shortly be adding shoes and jeans to my product list.
I enjoy creating designs that have a retro feel. That might incorporate the design elements of a particular era, such as the 1930’s or as recent as the 60’s. My designs are often a blending of eras with an Old World, Boho Chic, eclectic feel to them, but always with a repurposed sensibility.
OK, so I have rambled on in my previous post about defining my creative style, one that will bring me artistic fulfillment and yet still allow me to make a living.
I realized I had to take a few steps back, explore my previous creative life and the years leading up to where I am now. What has influenced me and drove me artistically over the years? What do these influences have in common?
Recently, my better half, Andrew, and I have been working on finishing up some latent decorating projects around the house. These projects have forced me to make key design decisions that would be a part of our lives for many years to come.
After a near melt-down in Home Depot over too many possible kitchen cabinet finishes, I realized that my décor style and my product style are one and the same. Duh…
Old World, Boho Chic, Retro Vintage Eclecticism. Wow!
My mind raced back to my formative years as a teenager when I was naturally drawn to gauzy, Indian print maxi dresses, feathered earrings, big tapestry hobo handbags and silver jewelry. I even had a wild, 70’s curly-perm mane of hair.
Boho Chic, although that is not what we would have called it back then. I was just being “me”.
How the heck did I lose that sense of style I had loved so much, and that had come so naturally to me back then?
Somewhere in the preppy world of college, I allowed myself to be led in a design direction that was not my own… for shame!
With this revelation, I have since reversed that misfortune and have taken steps to re-develop my love of pattern, rich color and texture.
I fervently haunt thrift shops and yard sales to find the things that bring me inspiration. It is like I have stepped out of a bad dream and back into the world I was meant to live in.
I have this recent need to define myself. What kind of artist am I? What kind of décor do I like? What kind of product do I want to create to make a living?
I would love to just create art for arts sake, as the saying goes, but that huge things known as obligation and responsibility get in the way with my free time.
Why do I feel the need to put myself in a big, labeled box?
I think it started when I began to sell my work online, specifically on Etsy.
I have had a website and have been selling my “creations” online since 2003. But it wasn’t until I became a part of the Etsy culture that I realized that I hadn’t a clue about online marketing.
Etsy tells you that you should brand yourself. That you should create a recognizable product and style that will call attention to your unique design strengths… or something like that.
Well… that was when I got all up in my own face about who I was as an artist and what I was currently creating for my shop and how the hell do I “brand” this mess?
What I discovered first was that I was all over the place: portraiture painting, mixed media assemblage, miniatures, art dolls, watercolors, acrylics… what I had was a hodgepodge of every medium I have ever dappled in and it was, and still is, far from coherent.
If I don’t know who I am as an artist, it will be next to impossible for anyone visiting my shop to know who and what I am about. Not good.
Branding brings to mind a glowing, hot, red branding iron that will label me forever as just one type of artist. A very scary prospect, but one I need to get over.
My shop is still that jumble of styles and mediums, but I am working on sorting it, and myself, out.
...ever since I was able to hold a crayon and draw on the wall, I have been blessed by a creative fever.
I must always have something creative going on in my life, whether it is painting, sculpting, decorating or designing. The few times when I have allowed myself to be distracted away from feeding my creative impulses I have become sad and depressed.
The creative process is the drug that keeps me going, one day at a time.
Every project is one step closer to understanding myself as an artist and as a person. It took me 40+ years to figure out that I most enjoy the art of God’s greatest design, the human figure.
That was when I was able to define myself as a figurative artist. I am drawn to any painting, sculpture or work of art that incorporates the human figure.
I am fascinated with the tiniest subtleties of character. Move an eye or brow over a fraction of an inch and a face changes from one person into a completely different being. They might start out looking like a Mary, but that small, fractional movement of line or shadow turns them into a Nancy or a Jean. This to me is God’s greatest miracle.
I have spent many hours creating studies of the master’s of portraiture: Da Vinci, Gainsborough, Holbein and Botticelli, to name a few.
I have learned about the line, shadow and perspective of the face from studying the works of some of our greatest artists.
But, I have so much further to go, so much more to strive for.
There is little doubt that I will ever be another da Vinci, but I will work, study and create using my God-given talent until I am the best Diane Costanza He expects me to be.
Even after so many years, I still do not feel as if I have said all there is to say within me. Even now I feel that my work does not speak from my heart, it does not tell what I think and feel. My vision has become stagnant, and therefore, so has my art. I need to discover a way to release all that is within me through the creative process. I want to find a way to creatively interpret my deepest thoughts and feelings.
I am on a journey of discovery as I look for what inspires me, what moves me, what will take me to the next artistic level; what will tell the world, and myself, who I really am.
Take that journey beside me and share with me what inspires you.
I welcome all comments, suggestions and inspirations.
Tell me what calls to you and guides you to lay your heart down on paper, canvas or clay; in words or in music.