Multimedia artist  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Multimedia artists are contemporary artists who use a wide range of media to communicate their art. Such media range from installation art, to rooms containing found objects or other material, to kinetic sculpture, to sound and visual effects.

It is important to distinguish between multimedia art and mixed media artworks. Within the visual arts, mixed media tends to refer to work that combines various traditionally distinct visual art media - such as certain works of Frank Stella or Jane Frank which merge painting and sculpture, for example. A work on canvas that combines oil paint, newspaper collage, chalk, glass, and ink, for example, could be called a "mixed media" work - but not a work of "multimedia art." Multimedia art implies a broader scope than mixed media, as in creations combining visual art media with elements usually considered the proper domain of (for example) literature, drama, dance, filmmaking, or music.

Multimedia artwork also frequently engages senses other than sight, such as hearing, touch, or smell. A multimedia artwork can also move, occupy time, or develop over a span of time, instead of remaining static (as does a traditional painting or sculpture). Another frequent trait of multimedia artworks is the use of advanced technological means, such as electronic or computer-generated sound, video, animation, and interactivity.

Certain traditional genres such as opera and film are inherently multidisciplinary or even "multimedia" in a very loose sense, since they involve drama, literature, visual art, music, dance, and costumes. Indeed, a union of the arts was exactly what Richard Wagner imagined in his ideal of the "Gesamtkunstwerk" or a "synthesis of the arts" (literally: "complete artwork").

Nevertheless, in contemporary terms, opera or even movies would not properly be considered "multimedia art." A work of multimedia art is usually on a smaller scale than an opera or a movie, much less tradition-bound, and typically created entirely by a single person (rather than the collaborative effort of opera or moviemaking). A multimedia work also usually does not require performers. If human performers are used, they are usually ordinary, untrained people, doing nothing requiring any advanced or traditional training, as opposed to trained singers or actors. Multimedia artwork is often presented in a curated museum or gallery setting, in which the piece is understood to be an extended form of visual art. The creator of a multimedia work of art is typically someone with a formal background in visual art.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Multimedia artist" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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