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If you think about painting, what comes first into your mind? My answer would be very traditional: paints, brushes and canvases.
But today the game has changed a little. Artists somehow got tired of traditional tools and started to experiment with everything that could produce good results.
Some of these materials are just fun and curious, some are really strange and some are mad crazy; but somehow, the results are usually very impressive.
Some painting sessions now turned into real performances, in which the show means more than the art piece itself and the tools can seem totally wrong to us.. but that’s all part of the show!
In this article, I’m going to explain to you how some strange and unusual painting techniques can actually bring amazing results.
Just to, you know, don’t get bored painting in the same way.. It can become kinda boring to use only brushes!
P.S: Some technique can be easily done by anyone in their houses, and they seem really fun to try, BUT we DON’T recommend to try them all. You’ll understand soon. So, that’s it, enjoy and stay safe! 😄
| Painting with body parts
Many people decided that they were done using boring external tools to create their art.
What else did they decide to use? Feet, hands, hair and any other medium their body could offer (even the most bizarre ones, but we’re not going to talk about it here).
Painting with the body allows the artist to create fascinating performances, in which the artwork and artist are both the main character.
One of the most known performances could be “Loving Care” performed by Janine Antoni in 1993. In the show, the artist literally mopped the floor of the gallery with her hair, dipped into black paint. The public was somehow involved too, in the show: in fact, they were backed out from the gallery by the artists, because, I mean, she was mopping the floor, and it’s reasonably difficult with people in the middle of the room.
A more recent example is an amazing performance in collaboration between a ballerina and a modern artist, called Callen Schaub, which was posted a couple of days ago on his Instagram profile.
“Circolo” is a complete performance in which the ballerina, covered with white paint, gracefully dances on a giant black canvas, creating an amazing abstract piece with her body and dance.
But not all tools are that “romantic”. There are many funny examples on the web of people that used almost every part of their body to paint, and actually.. it worked!
For instance, you’ll be able to find people using their tongue to paint (Ani K), their breast (Kira Ayn Varszegi) or even more “private” parts of the body (Tim Patch).. I’m not sure I understand how, but they work!
We don’t need to get that original: the rest of us mere mortals can limit ourselves in the use of hands, feet or anything we want to create curious pieces differently and have fun!
| Cards as art tools
Your credit card could have many other potentials, which you may not think about at all. (Yes, besides being abused by you.) Or maybe you’re full of fidelity cards you don’t even use. Well.. I can give a purpose to any of those cards; why don’t you try to paint with them?
This technique has spread a lot among contemporary artists, especially in the abstract field.
The result is slightly different from a brushstroke, and it allows adding particular touches to your artwork. It can be used with many materials, such as paint (of course), plaster, gesso, oil and so on; the choice is vast, being a very versatile technique.
With a card, you’ll be also able to build interesting 3D strokes, scratch away fresh paint, create geometrical shapes free-hand and many other unusual and pleasant effects.
| Let the objects paint by themselves
This is the perfect technique if you’re lazy enough to delegate your own art to itself.
Jokes apart, this procedure allows you to create amazing pieces with little skill and little effort (I’m not underestimating this technique, it’s just different from painting). Actually, it is really funny, and when I was a kid I used to do this in school; it improved my creativity and my composition skills a lot and it cheered me up when I was bored and tired in school (moms, take notes!).
What you’ll need is everything you can dip in paint and put on a sheet of paper – sorry, your dog is not a great choice. You can consider taking a pretty leaf from your garden (best choice), an animal toy, half of a fruit, or a sponge with a particular shape. It could be anything.
Even a fish.
Gyotaku literally means “fish impression”; it’s the name of a traditional Japanese technique used to print fish figures, with real fishes. This method of printing fish was really common in the mid-1800s and was mostly used by fishermen to record their catches.
It’s the same mechanism that stamps work. You dip them in a little bit of paint or ink and then press them on a piece of paper.
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| Throwing colours randomly
This can sound crazy, but people really built a proper career throwing randomly colours!
Again, I’m joking; every artist can give meaning to every gesture in his creative process. It’s harder than it seems to create a pleasant-looking piece by just throwing colours on a surface; there’s at least some basic study behind it, and a lot of passion and dedication as well.
Jackson Pollock was the king of this “throwing randomly colours” technique, better known as “abstract expressionism”.
While we see “just” drips and squashes of colours on a canvas, Pollock saw a communicative potential in the entire process behind that artwork.
It’s more than “just” colour thrown and dip onto a canvas; for him, it was a real ritual.
In each work, he performed a dance, creating a dee connection between the paint, the canvas and his feelings.
This “throwing and dripping colours” technique have been successful for its aesthetic power and for its strong scenographic significance as well.
| Having a loving relationship with your canvases
If you think it’s weird to kiss repeatedly a canvas, you should talk with Natalie Irish. This artist choose to use an alternative way to paint her portraits.
Her tools? Lots of love and a lipstick.
Natalia became known for her ability to create huge portraits using her lips only. I could have put this in the “Paint using body part” paragraph, but I feel like this deserved an entire paragraph just for the amount of love that she puts in her creative process.
She definitely is a lovely woman.
| Risking to burn down your whole house
No. It’s better to avoid trying this at home. PLEASE DON’T.
But I find really interesting how Steven Spazuk manages to create amazing art pieces using fire; I never thought it could be used in art until now.
In reality this art form already exists and has a name: “fumage”.
Spazuk wasn’t the first and only one to use it. There are traces of fumage art in all history: in fact, historians think our ancestors used it to create cave paintings back then.
Basically, Spazuk puts his papers near flames to create black outlines and shapes that then will be “corrected” with pencils and other tools by the artist. He often uses also acrylics to complete his artworks and give the final touch.
Steven, please pay attention to your curtains.
These are just a few techniques that we were able to find in the immense vastly of the internet; sure we’ll continue to research! Do you know any strange or particular technique that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment down below and read other comments to discover something new! ☺️
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