Mixed media is a term used to describe works of art that combine different painting and drawing materials and methods, rather than only one medium. A plethora of materials can be used in a mixed media painting; for example, oil paints with collage items that may include magazine pages, newspaper clippings, photographs, cloth, soil and found objects. Mixed media works have been made since ancient times, but the term is applied particularly to modern pieces in which a range of unconventional materials are employed.
Mixed media was popularized by the Dadaists and Surrealists, to whom the use of unconventional materials was an aspect of artistic anarchy and freedom. The term ‘composite media’ is sometimes used synonymously with mixed media, but some critics prefer to apply it to works in which different forms of art (rather than different materials) are combined, for example installation with performance art or video art.