Stephen Millner — Artist’s Statement – Mixed Media
My work is inspired by the very items I use in my mixed media. This may sound simplistic, but it is not. As a mixed media artist, I seek a wide variety of items to use in my art: scraps of wrapping paper, newspaper articles, maps, advertising, photographs, envelopes, signs, stickers, stamps, tags, and many more. An occasional item will grab my attention and demand to be used as the beginning of a mixed media work.
When a particular item or image becomes the seed of a work of art, it triggers a process of developing a visual context – a gestalt or field that represents related feelings, emotions, or life experiences. Often, the developing work of art will put the item in a new context and expand its meaning.
This initial item I use to begin a piece may trigger a memory, make an association, or ask a question – taking on meaning beyond its literal components. Sometimes my reaction to a visual stimulus is conscious, sometimes subconscious – but either way, my mind reacts to the image and organizes it in the context of past experiences.
Of course, other choices are made: organization, composition, and color come into play to complete the work. Each additional element becomes more and more critical in terms of color, balance, design, and visual interest, until the work is complete. The initial inspiration for the art may come to play only a minor role in the entirety of the work, or may even be obliterated by subsequent layers. The fact that the art is inspired by even a small piece of paper is, I think, the most fascinating aspect of my mixed media.
Thus my creative process can be termed a paradox: even though this first element placed on the canvas may be the least important compositionally, as the original inspiration for the work, it lays claim to the art’s totality and meaning.