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Resin as a Medium

Dear Artsperts:
I keep hearing people talk about resin in art. Can you tell me what it is? Signed,
RESINating Resin

Dear RESINating,
Epoxy resin is one of the newest types of media used by artists and has became very popular in the year 2019. Many artists have taken to social media to provide demonstrations on how to use epoxy resin in art. These videos have struck a chord with viewers perhaps in part because watching the process of mixing and pouring epoxy resin can be a bit therapeutic, or as the social media craze has dubbed it - “oddly satisfying”. Epoxy resin is easy to work with and relatively inexpensive, making it an attractive medium for artists.

Traditionally, epoxy resin has been employed for practical uses, such as coating pipes to prevent corrosion. It then began to be used use in home design with special flooring and countertops. Now we are seeing its use in art. Epoxy resin used in art consists of two liquid chemicals that when mixed together react in such a way that they form a very hard and glossy, clear coat. It almost gives the appearance of glass. While epoxy resin is clear, it can me mixed with pigments to create colors. Some artists are simply pouring various colors of epoxy resin directly onto a surface. This is similar to the poured paint techniques of the past, only using resin instead of oil paint. The finished look is different from oil in that resin creates a hard, flat surface of mixed and layered colors, instead of the varying thickness of oil paint. Other artists are using resin to enhance their work.

Epoxy resin can be used to enhance artwork because the clear, glossy coat will make paint colors underneath and on top of the resin appear more vibrant. Artists can paint on top of the hard resin coat once it has is cured, after about 24 hours. The layering of paint and epoxy resin creates the illusion of a three-dimensional image from a two-dimensional work of art. Some artists will build up several layers, altering the use of paint and epoxy resin with each layer.

While epoxy resin in art is currently very popular, it is so new that it remains to be seen whether this is a passing fad or will become a standard medium in the art industry. It wasn’t too long ago when acrylic paint was introduced as a readily available art medium in the 1950s and now it is commonly used by many artists. However, as an art collector, your decision to acquire a work shouldn’t necessarily be based on the medium the artists chooses to work with, unless it adds interest to the work of art.

For example, we have artists who have worked in various and unusual media including Reyneir Llanes who paints detailed compositions with coffee on paper, Joan Konkel who creates wall sculptures using painted aluminum and copper mesh, and Hunt Slonem who has not only incorporated resin in some of his latest work, but has also used “diamond dust”, which is ground glass on a number of works.

The Artsperts

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