What is a medium in art? And other 10 terms every artist should know

Medium is a word used to describe the materials used in the creation of an art piece.

1. Medium

The medium is the substance used to create an art piece. If we dig deeper into the term and its most common uses, we can see it is used to describe several characteristics related to how an artwork is created.

2. NFT

If you are still wondering what an NFT is, let’s give you a quick introduction to this world where art and cryptocurrencies intersect. An NFT is a non-fungible token. A token is a single unit, in this case, is the single unit that certifies the validity of the information stored in the blockchain that can include the original file of the art piece (JPG, GIF, MP3), and a traceable certification of ownership. Non-fungible means that this item can’t be interchanged or duplicated. NFT is a concept related to crypto art: crypto art is an art piece linked by a smart contract and minted as an NFT into the blockchain, where cryptocurrencies are used for transactions.

There are many techniques to achieve an art print: from sketching to high-tech prints like Giclée.

3. Giclée

This term is well known in the printmaking world. Giclée is a technique used to create art prints, it involves the use of a high-quality inkjet print that sprays archival ink over the premium paper to achieve a high-resolution reproduction of an image. It’s especially popular among digital artists.

4. Value

In the art world value has two meanings: one is subjective and the other is technical.

The term “patron-of-the-arts” had a highlight during the renaissance and this role was the backbone of many artists’ work.

5. Patron

The role of patronage came to rouse during renaissance times. Art Patrons were individuals or groups with political, economic, and sometimes, religious power, that supported artists. The patron was the person paying to get the artwork done and sometimes that meant they had a say in the size, materials, and even subject of the piece. This is how many masterpieces came to be. A patron not only gave economical support to the artist providing them with economic stability and secure work but being under the wing of a “patron of the arts” also gave the artist a push in their career. Having a patron sometimes meant not being looked at as an artisan but as a valuable artist.

6. Copyright

This concept is directly related to law and the rights of artists over their creations. Once an artist has created a piece, they have the full copyright over it, this means: that automatically they have the right to present, create copies, distribute them, or create derivative works from it. An art piece can be sold in a direct transaction or in an auction, it can change hands but the copyright owner may still be the artist if it’s legally established. Copyright not only determines who has the right to use or reproduce an art piece, but who earns the profits and royalties this might produce.

An artist residency can be a turning point in a creator’s career: a chance to work on their craft and connect with other artists.

7: Art Residency

Art residencies are programs for artists to develop their craft. Over a fixed period of time (weeks to months), the artist is provided with a space to work with “ideal” conditions: from new tools to experiment with, to contact with other creators going through a similar process or tutors. An artist may earn a residency by applying and submitting their past work or a project they want to develop. Residencies are not only for creating new art, but they are also a place to create without daily life distractions, a space for artists to recognize their creative process and what they want to do, to experiment and try new things, and they tend to have a long term impact.

8. Niche

A niche in the art world refers to the type of art piece that appeals to a particular audience that is interested in that specific technique, subject, or theme. Niche art can also refer to the object of desire of that group, the type of art they look for and invest in. Even though this is a concept that is more closely related to the marketing world when applied to art it helps creators understand their role in the market and where their work can grow in demand.

When talking about an art piece there are seven elements that are certain elements that are used to describe it: from space to color.

9. Elements

In art, just like in science, elements are components that can be mixed to obtain a final result, just that in this scenario the end result is an art piece. The elements are the visual components of art and there are seven of them: line, shape, form, space, texture, value, and color. By knowing them and manipulating them according to its intention and point of view, an artist is able to create a piece of art. Knowing the elements of art helps to understand an artist’s work, what it involves, and the artist’s thoughts about it.

10. Mixed media

This term was coined at the beginning of the 20th century to describe certain art pieces that were the result of the combination of different media, mediums or materials, and techniques. For example, an artwork that combines printmaking with a collage of photography and acrylic drippings over canvas can be considered mixed media art. Mixed media sometimes can be confused with multimedia art but these are not synonymous. Multimedia art refers to artworks that mix visual elements with interactive media.

Knowing certain art terms can help you enrich the descriptions of your art pieces.

Art terms and what to do with them

Being able to communicate what you do as an artist and how you do it, is an essential part of sharing your work with the world. Enriching your vocabulary, and learning the history behind certain terms that have been used for centuries in the art world and even those that have come up to describe new techniques and genres is a way to broaden your understanding of the art world.

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