What Is An Art Medium?
An art medium is the material which is used in the process of creating art. This can be such as pen and ink which is used to create art on paper. These mediums are what is used in the process of that creation.
Know it is not to be confused with a kind or type of art. Drawing is not a medium but rather a kind (noun) of art. Within that kind will be mediums which are used.
Different kinds such as sculpting and ceramics can also share similar or the same mediums like clay.
Art Mediums For Common Artists
I wish to approach this from the common artists vantage point. Not everyone has a name which is well known. Not everyone will be found in galleries nor have representation.
Having said this, knowing which art medium will pay the best can be quite subjective. Much can depend on where the artist is located and their past exposure.
Add to this their marketability then suddenly a niche can be created for that specific artist.
While we would all hope to be able to create that niche for our work, there is a common thread among all artists. Most will end up in similar streams doing similar things to often compete against other artists.
Here is where I hope to help someone that may be struggling to find their niche. If you can see what mediums perform well and why, this can forever alter the outcome of your art.
#1 – Kind Of Art : Digital “New Media Art”, Art Mediums : Digital “New Media”
Welcome to the digital age. Do not be too surprised that digital art ranks number one. This art medium is rather unique for it can carry the same name as its kind.
It can also be known as new media art with its application being wide and varied.
This visual art will include film-making, photography, and aspects of graphic arts. It is a highly competitive field where one can make a mark.
For the common artists which us mere mortals rub elbows with, there are applications for this art that can pay well. Digital book covers, designs in printing, CGI, and even photography has amazing applications for art.
The cool thing about this art medium is that the more traditional visual arts can translate and carry over into the digital world. Here you find 3d modeling for tools like 3d printing or cnc applications.
Painting and drawing is much the same. The digital counterparts can be brought to life with CGI type effects. Quite simply there is more which can be accomplished with digital mediums than could ever be achieved in traditional arts alone.
Having stated this, the opportunities for artists abound within the digital world. There really is no limitation that can be set as to where an artist can go or reach within their work.
The difference here in this art medium is that one should expect to invest in a structured education rather than being self taught alone.
#2 – Kind Of Art : Painting, Art Mediums : Oil, Acrylics, Mixed Media
Oil, acrylics, and mixed media are among the most common art mediums to find within painting. Typically they outperform in value over many other kinds of art. Buy why?
In terms of the art medium itself, they can be applied to many different surfaces. Due to this the last piece of this puzzle comes into focus being the selection of canvas.
That canvas can be wood, stone, metal, or other materials thus there are fewer limitations. Murals can be done on walls at home or on the brick exterior of a building.
This allows for these art mediums to have a broader range and application. It gives more creativity in how they are applied. Nevertheless this is not the total sum of what allows for the art to pay well.
If you look at which paintings tend to outperform others much can be said about the subject matter which is selected. If an artist remains within a scope of subject matter that is popular or targeted to a specific market, they typically will outperform other contemporaries.
Another aspect which plays a role into the value of these art mediums is the skill and time factor. How well an artist portrays their work will naturally impact the value.
#3 Kind Of Art : Sculpting And Casting, Art Mediums : Stone, Clay, Metal, Wire, Others
Within sculpting there are more art mediums than one would at first assume. Commonly we can think of stone, clay, and metal. Yet there are also other man made artificial materials such as wax.
The most popular among these mediums seems to hold true year over year being stone, clay, and metal. These yield the highest pay in relationship to the amount of skill and effort placed into the art.
These art mediums rank third due to fewer artists which seem to actively participate and also how modern machinery has impacted this market. So a question still begs to be answered.
How does an artist within these art mediums stand out and rise among others? Here too subject matter counts for much of what becomes recognized and found in demand. This principle though will continue to remain true throughout other mediums of art.
While there are fewer artists which may participate overall, those that do often can make a major impact. This is especially true within their local communities and art centers.
Art of this kind tends to command space and attract attention. When the right medium is paired with great subject matter and quality work, the value will be recognized.
#4 Kind Of Art : Wood Carving And Wood Art, Art Mediums : Exotic Wood Of Various Species
Wood art is not classified within traditional visual arts. In recent years this art has come into focus due to the popularity of wood design features within homes. It is a growing yet niche trend.
Typically the art is paired with these features by wood carving. This does not always require the incorporation of art into something like furniture. The wood art is a compliment to the overall theme.
The art mediums in this case while wood, it is not of the typical variety which one can find in town. The wood used is a unique medium that range from spalted to rainbow woods and other varieties.
The value to the medium is quite clear when seen in person. The boards often used are quite expensive in their own right before art is ever created or carved into them.
Pieces that are made from this medium can start at hundreds of dollars and range into the thousands quickly. The problem with this market is its narrow range or reach
While fewer artists are involved within this medium it seems to be undergoing a transition at this present time. We will see what the future holds as to its popularity.
#4 Kind Of Art : Glass Art, Art Mediums : Potash, Sand, Metallic Oxide Powders, Glass
Creating stained glass art, or also those who do glass blowing, is a very unique medium. The mediums involved in this art include potash, sand, and metallic oxide powders. While there are other tools involved in the process these basics are key.
Those who participate within this art can do quite well if they find the proper niche within a market. The problem with this art is its range of marketability when so much mass production surrounds the medium.
In some regions of the country the art thrives within design and decoration for homes. It is a guaranteed way to gain notice within local communities if ones work is done well.
#5 Kind Of Art : Ceramics, Art Mediums : Ceramics, Clay, Porcelain, Kaolin, Earthware, Stoneware
This art has also faced heavy industrialization. The mass production behind this has rendered many artists of this variety to be found in unique niches.
Ceramics whether by clay or porcelain can pay quite well if one knows what they are doing. This art is also a trade craft much similar to woodworking and wood art. It is best to learn from those who practice the art.
Artists who do well within these art mediums again are often found locally. Some may participate within a specific region if their names are more broadly known.
I list this as number 5 among other arts due to how complex the art itself can be, and also how challenging the market has become.
#6 Kind Of Art : Drawing, Art Mediums : Pencil, Pen And Ink, Charcoal, Others
Some may be upset that I listed drawing at number six. I will soon get into why it is less profitable than others. Keep in mind that I write this for the common artist, not those who have already succeeded in art.
The problem with these art mediums is how many artists that use them and the subject matter which they often surround.
Does the term Fan Art ring a bell? The market is flooded with it on every social media outlet.
Compounded into this is that there is little return for the amount of work or time put into the art. This creates a real challenge to be seen or recognized and then obtain the value that one deserves.
Among those who have done well in these art mediums, specifically pencil or ink and pen, some notes should be taken. Typically the artist have utilized a mix media approach involving drawing and digital media.
If you can find a way to truly stand out among your contemporaries, then you can do quite well in profiting from your work. Yet the trick is standing out. Due to the volume of artists involved in this medium you must be unique.
I have never seen one kind of art which was so saturated as drawing unless it was photography. While drawing is among the most traditional of visual arts, it has become one of the most difficult in which to succeed.
Why Some Art Mediums Perform Better Than Others
The market which surrounds these art mediums is an interesting phenomenon. For a glass artist the rarity of their kind can allow for them to more readily find niches.
Likewise they can also perform work that is otherwise outdated or no longer manufactured, such as with stain glass windows.
Here they can use their art medium to make a living while also loving their work. Others face far different challenges such as artists who love pencil, charcoal, or pen.
Drawing has forced some to become sketch artists while they would prefer to be something else. Some create Fan Art simply to be recognized hoping their original works will also gain traction.
In this case the noise of so many overcomes one single voice asking to be heard.
Others utilize traditional visual arts and art exhibitions. These may be more mainstream yet the volume can still create issues in being noticed.
Each art medium will have its own unique challenges when it comes to it paying the value of the art. So then what should an artist do in order to be better positioned?
Artists And Their Chosen Medium
Should an artist change their medium if they lack success? No. Understanding the challenges of any art medium from a marketing perspective is merely one aspect of the whole art.
Instead of altering the artistic life of the individual, one should go back to basics. Invest in personal education within that art, medium, and its history. Study other arts and how you can apply those principles.
Expand your base, skills, and discover new subject matter, then also how to present it. These are issues which every artist faces within their chosen medium.
It is always better to perfect ones art, the use of that medium, and expand that base so it reaches a broader spectrum. The difficulty is not falling into the trap of going with the flow of where everyone else is going.
Do not sacrifice your art for the sake of attempting to gain popularity. It is always better to be unique in your medium rather than in like kind to everyone else.
Know that the journey within your art and medium of choice is the journey of a lifetime. It is not achieved in mere days or weeks. Invest in yourself but also the hope of your future.