And want to downplay the fact I’m in “tech” because everything is tech now.
In the beginning we prefaced everything with “online” and “digital” and that’s pointless. It’s not digital marketing. It’s marketing. The digital part is assumed. Same with technology. We need to evolve how we communicate.
Breaking a rock is a form of technology — and in fact this is a new trend in Texas. Breaking rocks — people want to know more about rudimentary tools. Chisels, hammers, arrowheads. The point is, even the most ordinary rocks around us are objects of technology. We’re all using technology, let’s accept it and move on.
So why are we telling people we’re in the “tech industry.” It’s a lazy, boring way of explaining what we do. Sometimes we want to bore people on purpose, but that’s another topic for another day.
Photograph by PJ Brunet
Over time, I will explore, share, and clarify this “mixed media” shift in focus. I’m also interested in creativity, charm and mystique. Mixed media contains all three. I don’t need to tell people that I’m creative, if I’m creating media. In other words, the creative aspect, the charm, the vibe is implied. Brevity wins when minds connect.
In, and immediately after college, mixed media was my thing. I owe this to the openness of the Drawing School that I was accepted to at the University of Florida. The Drawing School allowed me to explore all kinds of ideas, and mix them together, with a spirit of innovation.
You see, getting into The University of Florida is only half the battle. From there, you need to submit a portfolio to a specific college within the College of Fine Arts. I chose Drawing, which most closely integrated with my various interests. And fortunately, I could draw well enough for my portfolio to be accepted.
In contrast, the Painting college was tightly structured, because of all the history of painting — preserving the history and tools and techniques is really important for them. Simply constructing a canvas is a huge undertaking, if you do it the traditional way.
But within the Drawing school, I could experiment more. I was able to work on cutting-edge NURBS models one day, and the next day I could draw a traditional portrait on plywood using chisels for texture, and the next day float a Gyroscopic Inertial Thruster in a tub of water, because “everything is a drawing” as my professor announced. FWIW, I was closely in touch with the Sculpture school, and they were unstructured too.
Mixed media is often a combination of the worlds of 2D art and 3D art. There’s no rule that mixed media needs to be flat. But often that is the case. Because once your art moves off the gallery wall, it becomes sculpture. My girlfriend at the time was in the Sculpture school. I loved her, and I loved sculpture too. In retrospect, knowing my girlfriend got me more involved in sculpture, and the professors accepted me there, because they trusted her, and therefore accepted to me too. And on my own, I signed up for sculpture classes as “electives” outside of my Drawing program. Going to her critiques was allowed, which nearly doubled the value of my art education. I spent many hours and many nights in the Sculpture basement.
In some ways we were a unit, and a powerful “art force” — although we did not realize it at the time. We helped each other complete projects, and we were both very resourceful. As you can imagine, this gave us a huge advantage over the other students.
Building things together in the basement, all hours of the day, we became part of something bigger than ourselves. Likewise, in the Drawing school, artists were working all hours of the day and night, sometimes sleeping there too, because we loved what we were doing, and it was a 2nd home away from home.
Back to mixed media and 2D art. It’s amazing what you can compose and arrange — you don’t need special paint or a special brush with fox hair to make fantastic art. One of my favorite paintings was made with worthless stuff: cardboard, toilet paper, and sand from my back yard. And I used Liquitex paint, too. Will toilet paper survive 1000 years in a museum? I will say, yes — if you do it right. Conservation and preservation, that’s another interesting dimension and another discussion for another day.
While I love making “real” art, I equally love language, writing, photography, poetry, sculpture, software, cooking, gardening, nature, and all that life has to offer. Many mediums become media. Plural. Mixed media.
Within the art world, this is basic. Outside of the art world, it will take work to increase the mindshare and prevalence of the concepts, ideas and stories.
The advantage of digital technology — it fits in your pocket. I live in a very small space. Frankly, it’s a pain to travel with all my art, the paint, the easel, etc. Projectors are getting smaller and that is encouraging, but they’re still expensive, sometimes very noisy, and you’ll need a screen too. Projecting on blank walls is not as easy as it sounds. Not saying digital media is better than REAL media. Both are interesting and worth exploring. Are you getting excited yet? The digital side of things helps with financing and increasing exposure. There’s a pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. However, painting out in public is fun too. I do both.
It’s a mix of media.
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PJ Brunet — The Media Mixer