Mixed Media Artists

Mixed Media Artists – The Best 12 Artists Throughout History

There is much beauty to be found in the process of producing mixed media artworks. The genre of art known as mixed media encompasses the use of many techniques and materials, which enables artists to weave together intricate concepts that challenge existing beliefs about materiality. Through such a dynamic medium, artists can also spark visual dialogues that invite viewers to engage in multilayered narratives. In this article, we will explore 12 of the most famous mixed media artists, whose innovation and limits to mixed media in art know no boundaries.



An Introduction to Mixed Media Art

What is mixed media, and who are the world’s most famous mixed media artists? Before we dive into our curated list of the 12 most famous mixed media artists in the world, we will first review what mixed media art is. The genre “mixed media art” refers to an approach in art-making processes that incorporates a diverse range of materials and techniques to produce a single artwork. These mixed media artworks use nontraditional and traditional elements, from found objects to watercolors and even digital components.

Explore Mixed Media ArtistsLes quatre cròniques (1990) by Antoni Tàpies; Antoni Tàpies, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of the most beautiful aspects of mixed media art is its visual complexity and engagement with elements such as texture. Most mixed media artists have more freedom to play around with mediums such as collage and sculpture when it comes to producing mixed media artwork. Mixed media art can thus take on a myriad of forms, of which the best examples can be seen in the works of pioneering artists like Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.

These mid-20th century mixed media artists championed experimental approaches to mixed media artworks through expressive installations and sculptures that have reshaped the way contemporary artists view everyday objects.



12 World-Famous Mixed Media Artists

Mixed media art can appear complicated and often conceptually challenging to understand but if one examines the art form through the lens of the personalities behind it, one will encounter many gems to how these famous artists developed their practices. These 12 mixed media artists have made understanding mixed media art much easier through their defiance of conventionality, such that mixed media art as a practice can become accessible to everyone. Below, you will find our list of iconic mixed media artists whose use of concept in conjunction with mixed media has transformed the genre.

Best Mixed Media ArtistsA.E.I.O.U (2014) by Anselm Kiefer; Anselm Kiefer, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)

Artist Name Pablo Ruiz Picasso
Date of Birth 25 October 1881
Date of Death 8 April 1973
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Modern art, Cubism, Blue period, and Surrealism,
MediumsPainting, collage, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics
Famous Artworks
  • Still-life with Chair Caning, Spring (1912)
  • Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar, and Newspaper (1913)
  • Joutes Lyonnaises, Saint-Tropez (1957)

Globally recognized Cubist and pioneer of mixed media Pablo Picasso is among the most famous mixed media collage artists of the 20th century. Picasso’s use of mixed media collage was best seen in works like Still-life with Chair Caning, Spring (1912) and Bottle of Vieux Marc, Glass, Guitar, and Newspaper (1913), where the artist included various materials to add new textures to his paintings and introduce a new form of approaching collage.

Since Picasso’s 1912 Still-life with Chair Caning, Spring artwork, mixed media collage artworks emerged more frequently in avant-garde circles, which saw other artists begin to explore mixed media across Europe.

Best Mixed Media Collage ArtistsPablo Picasso in his Montmartre studio (1908) by Franck Gelett Burgess; Franck Gelett Burgess, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Antoni Tàpies (1923 – 2012)

Artist Name Antoni Tàpies i Puig
Date of Birth 13 December 1923
Date of Death 6 February 2012
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Modern art, Tachisme, Abstract Expressionism, and Informalism
MediumsSculpture and painting
Famous Artworks
  • Grey and Green Painting (1957)
  • Sense titol (1970)
  • Als mestres de Catalunya (1974)
  • Untitled (1992)

Antoni Tàpies was a prolific Spanish mixed media artist whose experimentation with materials in painting was best highlighted in his 1957 work titled Grey and Green Painting, which incorporated materials like resin, marble dust, and found objects. Tàpies was inspired by modern painters like Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet, who were recognized as key members of the Art Informel group. Tàpies use of mixed media introduced a symbolic and gestural approach to composing mixed media, such that his work became a language of its own, characterized by scripts, symbols, and impasto-ed paint markings. Tàpies exhibited his work across Europe and parts of the United States, including the Venice Biennale up to four times. A few themes addressed in his mixed media paintings and sculptures include postwar society under the Spanish government, politics, and Surrealist imagery. As his art style progressed, Tàpies’ creations extended into the Arte Povera movement with a more abstract focus.

Toward the contemporary period, Tàpies explored the markings found in street art and graffiti and expanded his engagement with diverse materials.

Discover Mixed Media ArtistsAntoni Tàpies at his studio, Campins (2003) by Teresa Tàpies Domènech; Teresa Tàpies Domènech, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008)

Artist Name Milton Ernest “Robert” Rauschenberg
Date of Birth 22 October 1925
Date of Death 12 May 2008
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Modern art, Contemporary art, Neo-Dada, Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Postmodernism
MediumsPainting, performance, photography, printmaking, and sculpture
Famous Artworks
  • Collection (1954 – 1955)
  • Monogram (1955 – 1959)
  • Canyon (1959)

Born in 1925, famous American mixed-media artist Robert Rauschenberg was a fearless figure of his era, who challenged conventional artistic norms around materiality and representation in art. Through sculpture, photography, and painting, Rauschenberg produced many mixed-media artworks that incorporated found materials and objects, from taxidermied animals to tires and furniture. Rauschenberg’s journey into mixed media art was incited by his symbolic artwork Erased de Kooning Drawing in 1953, which marked his rebellious streak into negating conventional boundaries. Rauschenberg was known to collaborate with figures like Merce Cunningham and John Cage, both of whom shaped significant concepts in contemporary art. Other notable influences on his work include Josef Albers, who taught Rauschenberg at Black Mountain College, and Cy Twombly.

Rauschenberg’s approach to mixed media art was intuitive yet demonstrated his knowledge of materials and textures, which secured his legacy as a leading figure in the mixed media movement.

Mixed Media Collage ArtistsRobert Rauschenberg Exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum (1968); Jack de Nijs for Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (1940 – Present)

Artist Name Jaune Quick-to-See Smith
Date of Birth 15 January 1940
NationalityNative American
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, politics, art education, Abstract art, socio-political commentary, social justice, satire, racism, memory, cultural preservation, and Native American art
MediumsPainting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking
Famous Artworks
  • Indian, Indio, Indigenous (1992)
  • Trade (Gifts for Trading Land With White People) (1992)
  • I See Red: Going Forward, Looking Back (1996)

Famous contemporary painter Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is among the most renowned and mixed media collage artists of Native American descent, who is also quickly gaining recognition in global art circles. Smith’s work addresses multiple themes related to her culture as a Native American and advocate for art education. Smith tackles subjects such as racism, socio-politics, and social justice through her satirical mixed media artworks. In 2023, Smith was also recognized by auction houses such as Christie’s as one of the leading contemporary artists for buyers to keep an eye on. Since the 1970s, Smith has been creating many unique and striking collages and printed works that reflect her engagement with American Pop art styles and Native American culture.

Today, she is represented by Garth Greenan Gallery in New York City.

Famous Mixed Media ArtistsState Names (2018) by Jaune Quick-To-See Smith; Avery Jensen, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Annette Messager (1943 – Present)

Artist Name Annette Messager
Date of Birth 30 November 1943
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, unconventional materials, anthropomorphism, Conceptual art, Feminism, textile art, fantasy, masculinity, and found objects
MediumsInstallation, drawing, sculpture, painting, and photography
Famous Artworks
  • Le Bestiaire Amoureux (1990)
  • Protection (1994)
  • Mes Voeux sous filets, (K) (1998)

Annette Messager is one of the world’s most famous French contemporary mixed media artists, who is widely recognized for her mixed media installations. Messager’s practice spans the genres of conceptual art and feminism as she explores the themes of identity and fragmented imagery through various media. Her earliest works challenged societal constructs around gender and femininity through works such as Voluntary Tortures (1972), which saw the artist dive deeper into the realm of societal expectations and beauty treatments as the cost of identity. A few key influences on her work include religious art, Symbolism, and Surrealism, as well as palmistry and tattooing.

Her photographs are often presented in collage and installation form, such that they form complex mixed-media sculptures that provide commentary on various aspects of her practice.

Mixed Media ArtistsThe artist Annette Messager at the exhibition that the IVAM dedicated to her after obtaining the Juli González Award (2018) by Juan García; Juan García, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Anselm Kiefer (1945 – Present)

Artist Name Anselm Kiefer
Date of Birth 8 March 1945
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, Modern art, and Neo-Expressionism
MediumsPainting and sculpture
Famous Artworks
  • Die Orden der Nacht (1996)
  • Böhmen liegt am Meer (Bohemia Lies by the Sea) (1996)
  • Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom (2000)

The lyrical, alchemical, and visceral walks of Anselm Kiefer make him one of the best mixed-media artists to date. Kiefer was born in 1945 and embarked on a 50-year exploration of some of history’s most complicated events. Anselm Kiefer’s paintings and sculptures blur the lines between both mediums while producing works that reflect German history. Kiefer’s works began to gain popularity in the 1960s and saw a deep exploration into German history, literature, philosophy, architecture, and music throughout the 1990s.

Kiefer’s multimedia paintings also incorporate the legacies of World War Two with organic materials layered between inorganic materials, creating thick and encrusted artworks that evoke the sedimentary layers of the past.

Famous Mixed Media Collage ArtistsVon den Verlorenen gerührt, die der Glaube nicht trug, erwachen die Trommeln im Fluss (2004) by Anselm Kiefer; Anselm Kiefer, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


Damien Hirst (1965 – Present)

Artist Name Damien Steven Hirst
Date of Birth 7 June 1965
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, taxidermy art, Abstract Expressionism, science, color, and geometry
MediumsInstallation, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and drawing
Famous Artworks
  • Love Will Tear Us Apart (1995)
  • For the Love of God (2007)
  • Psalm 107 Damien Hirst 2008 (2008)
  • Colour Chart (2017)

Globally renowned contemporary mixed media artist Damien Hirst is one of the most famous mixed media artists in the United Kingdom. Hirst’s influence over mixed media art has shifted the way many artists view the possibilities of evolving mixed media, as Hirst draws from themes of life, death, science, and religious art to create artworks that also rely on taxidermied animals. While the artist has been criticized for using live animals in his work, he is also acknowledged for his unique blend of unconventional materials ranging from butterflies to human skulls.

His choice of materials appears immensely grim, however, the conceptual artist also uses these shock factors to evoke strong and often mixed emotions toward his work.

Influential Mixed Media ArtistsDamien Hirst at the exhibition Damien Hirst The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011, Gagosian Gallery, NYC (2012); Andrew Russeth from New York, New York, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Won Ju Lim (1968 – Present)

Artist Name Won Ju Lim
Date of Birth 1968
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, memory, fantasy, longing, miniaturist landscapes, nostalgia, light art, space, and architectural forms
MediumsSculpture, painting, installation, and architecture
Famous Artworks
  • Elysian Field (2001)
  • Memory Palace, Terrace 49 #1 (2003)
  • Detail of Piece of Echo Park (2007)
  • Raycraft Is Dead (2014)

Won Ju Lim creates some of the most fascinating installations and sculptures drawing from her interests in memory, architecture, and fantasy to produce visually layered mixed media works of art. The famous Korean-American artist has exhibited her work across the globe in over 40 solo shows and more than 70 group shows, with many institutions treasuring her works. Her practice revolves around her exploration of space and perception of the real and imagined realities, which she merges with her physical interrogation of architecture and light across urban and domestic spaces. Won Ju Lim produces her own constructions of memory that also touch on themes like longing and the imagined and constructed spaces that make us navigate between the different scales of interiority and exteriority.

A few key works that you should explore from Lim’s portfolio include Memory Palace, Terrace 49 #1 (2003), and In Many Things to Come (2006).


Wangechi Mutu (1972 – Present)

Artist Name Wangechi Mutu
Date of Birth 22 June 1972
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, hybrid figures, natural materials, the female body, consumerism, self-image, beauty standards, and the objectification of women
MediumsPerformance, collage, drawing, sculpture, film, and painting
Famous Artworks
  • Untitled (2002)
  • A Shady Promise (2006)
  • Dutty Water (2013)
  • Girl Specimen IV (2013)

Renowned mixed media artist Wangechi Mutu created some of the most complex and visually stimulating paintings and installations. The famous Kenyan artist tackles themes like body image, race, and representation of the Black woman’s body in history through her engaging collages, sculptures, paintings, and performances. Mutu works closely with a variety of materials to explore the nuances of consumerism and the boundaries of excess, which was captured exquisitely in works such as Cancer of the Uterus (2005). Her visual language mimics that of imagined forms derived from science fiction as she provides alternate ways of imagining history for those of African descent. The artist also engages with Western commercialism and the influence of American culture on current African-American cultures.

Wangechi Mutu studied at Cooper Union and Yale University and has since been based in New York, where she continues to take the contemporary art scene by storm.


Phoebe Washburn (1973 – Present)

Artist Name Phoebe Washburn
Date of Birth 1973
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, site-specific art, and organic matter
MediumsInstallation, sculpture, and assemblage
Famous Artworks
  • Between Sweet and Low (2002)
  • Heavy Has Debt (2003)
  • It Makes For My Billionaire Status (2005)
  • Minor In-House Brain Storm (2006)

New York-based mixed media artist Phoebe Washburn is among the most successful contemporary media artists. Washburn is widely recognized for her massive installations, which integrate organic matter and materials to form large-scale architectural structures that engulf the spaces she works in. Washburn studied at the Newcomb College of Tulane University and the School of Visual Arts in New York, where she later launched her 2002 show Between Sweet and Low, which featured more than 2,500 pounds of drywall screws and cardboard. Since her debut, the mixed media artist created many compelling structures using recycled and humble materials coupled with pastel color palettes. In 2005, she introduced living matter in her installations, which was witnessed in works like Everyone’s a Giant and It Makes For My Billionaire Status. These works introduced elements of self-sustaining systems using natural materials, light, and tubing.

Throughout her career, Washburn has exhibited in many solo shows at venues like the Deutsche Guggenheim and the Hammer Museum.


Rashid Johnson (1977 – Present)

Artist Name Rashid Johnson
Date of Birth 1977
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Conceptual art, Contemporary art, Abstract art, post-black art, cultural identity, philosophy, materiality, and personal narratives
MediumsPainting, sculpture, photography, and video art
Famous Artworks
  • First Friends (2013)
  • Untitled Anxious Audience (2017)
  • Untitled Escape Collage (2017)
  • Anxious Red Painting December 18th (2020)

Chicago-born artist Rashid Johnson is one of the world’s best contemporary mixed-media painters whose engagement with materiality and cultural identity continues to cement his legacy. Born in 1977, Johnson was first recognized in 2001 after his work was included in a show at the Studio Museum in Harlem called Freestyle, which was curated by Thelma Golden. Since then, Johnson’s career in art started to engage more critically with themes such as cultural identity, art history, and the Black experience, which the artist refers to as conceptual post-black art. Johnson works across a variety of media, from airbrushed paintings to photography and video art.

His processes also merge different aspects of science with Black history to produce visually complex and layered artworks that reflect his earlier engagements with the representation of Black culture within American pop culture and hip hop.

Influential Mixed Media Collage ArtistsRashid Johnson with his work von Art Goer (2014); Art Goer, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Njideka Akunyili Crosby (1983 – Present)

Artist Name Njideka Akunyili Crosby
Date of Birth 1983
Associated Movements, Themes, and StylesMixed media art, Contemporary art, portraiture, culture, and politics
MediumsCollage, sculpture, printmaking, and painting
Famous Artworks
  • Nyado: The Thing Around Her Neck (2011)
  • Nwantini (2012)
  • Wedding Portrait (2012)

Multi-award-winning Nigerian mixed media artist Njideka Akunyili Crosby is recognized as one of the world’s leading contemporary mixed media artists, who is currently based in Los Angeles. Born in 1983, the famous Nigerian artist was the recipient of many art prizes and awards, including the Financial Times’ Woman of the Year in 2016, the 2020 Great Immigrant Great American Award granted by the Carnegie Corporation, and the United States Artists Fellowship in 2021. Crosby’s approach to mixed media art is multi-layered as she draws on figurative compositions, collages, and transfer printing to produce unique art historical and politically charged paintings. Her paintings also reflect her cultural identity and upbringing from her roots in her home country, as well as her interactions with friends and family in domestic settings.

Crosby also included images of models, celebrities, and other famous figures from Nigerian popular culture in her work alongside ambiguous imagery that can only be discerned up close. Crosby’s collages also include snapshots from advertisements, magazines, and other print media, as well as images sourced from the Internet, which make her works not only visually compelling but also metaphorically layered. Crosby draws from her formative experiences in Nigeria while referencing elements from Western art history, as well as artists like Edouard Vuillard and the experiences of colonized countries as her sources of inspiration and conceptual foundation.


Mixed media art can be realized in a variety of forms and styles that show us the diversity and creativity of artists from around the world. By studying the different ways that one can compose mixed media in art practices, you may discover alternative ways of reimagining processes of collage, sculpture, painting, and even photography in your own work.




Frequently Asked Questions


Who Are the Most Famous Mixed Media Artists of the 20th Century?

Among the most renowned mixed media artists of the 20th century include Pablo Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, and Georges Braque, among many other artists who later gained global recognition.


Who Are the Most Famous Contemporary Mixed Media Artists?

There are many artists from the early contemporary period that are regarded as famous. Among the list are figures like Anselm Kiefer, Damien Hirst, and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, who are considered to be the most famous contemporary mixed media artists.


How Does a Mixed Media Artist Create Art?

Mixed media artists create art using a combination of various materials. These can be produced using processes such as collage, painting, assemblage, and sculpture in conjunction with other mediums to produce a mixed media artwork. Mixed media artists also incorporate unconventional materials, including found objects, synthetic materials, textiles, and any other material of choice.


Cite this Article

Jordan, Anthony, “Mixed Media Artists – The Best 12 Artists Throughout History.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. November 29, 2023. URL: https://artfilemagazine.com/mixed-media-artists/

Anthony, J. (2023, 29 November). Mixed Media Artists – The Best 12 Artists Throughout History. artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source. https://artfilemagazine.com/mixed-media-artists/

Anthony, Jordan. “Mixed Media Artists – The Best 12 Artists Throughout History.” artfilemagazine – Your Online Art Source, November 29, 2023. https://artfilemagazine.com/mixed-media-artists/.

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