The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell

The podcast at the intersection of art, travel, business, philosophy, and life in general.

About the show

Artist Rebecca Crowell shares experiences and thoughts from three decades of painting, teaching and traveling, as well as her conversations with other artists. She is joined by her co-host, producer, and son, Ross Ticknor, who brings an entrepreneurial Millennial perspective. The conversations are broad and eclectic, focused on ideas, information and anecdotes that other artists may find helpful in their work and careers. A new episode is uploaded every weekend!

The Messy Studio with Rebecca Crowell on social media


  • Episode 263: After The Exhibit

    August 28th, 2023  |  31 mins 26 secs
    art, creativity, exhibits, galleries, mindset, rebecca crowell, shows

    It’s what so many artists work toward—a solo exhibit or small group show-- when a large body of work is shown at its best, to an appreciative audience. Preparation for an exhibit like that can take months, even years. Slowly you produce the work, experiencing everything from panic to satisfaction as the finished pieces for your exhibit accumulate. It can be both a draining and exhilarating experience as you head toward the finish line. Finally, your show opens, and then what? You have a few weeks or a month of receiving congratulations and feedback, hoping for sales, celebrating when they happen, and then rather suddenly, it’s all over. Today we’ll talk about the aftermath of an exhibit, a time to process what you’ve accomplished and consider what’s next.

  • Episode 262: Self Promotion For The Reticent

    August 15th, 2023  |  31 mins 22 secs
    advertising, art, business, creativity, exhibits, openings, rebecca crowell, self promotion

    If you’re an artist who wants to get your work out into the world to be seen, appreciated, and even purchased, you will face the need for self-promotion. If that idea makes you squirm, you are not alone --and this podcast is for you. Why do so many artists hate the idea of promoting themselves? Probably because many of us were taught from an early age to be modest, to avoid mentioning our achievements, and to be grateful for whatever life handed us without seeking more. But dealing with the art world requires a different approach. You need to let people know who you are and what you do if you want to advance your career. Today we’ll talk about ways of self-promotion that may be comfortable even if you have a reserved, humble, or quiet personality.

  • Episode 261: Moving Your Studio: Emotions and Memories

    August 1st, 2023  |  32 mins 14 secs
    art, creativity, downsizing, emotions, moving, rebecca crowell, studio space

    In our last episode we talked about some of the practicalities of downsizing, clearing out, or moving your studio, and tips about ways to deal with your artwork, supplies, and other items that you’ve accumulated. But what about the emotional side of this? We’re going to focus today on how it feels to move out of a studio that has been a very important part of your life. You may be on top of the logistics involved in dealing with downsizing, but you are not a robot, mechanically sorting and tossing. Today we’ll talk about the fact that your studio is a very personal place that can evoke a flood of memories and emotions when you need to leave it behind. And we’ll also mention the benefits and positive aspects of going through this process.

  • Episode 260: Downsizing For Artists

    July 22nd, 2023  |  33 mins 24 secs
    art, creativity, downsizing, moving, rebecca crowell, studio space

    The contents of an artist’s studio tend to be anything but minimal. Most of us accumulate a lot of art supplies not only for our current needs but for other projects that we have in in mind, or just because we love the possibilities suggested by a new material or tool. Then there is our inventory of older work, sometimes going back decades, as well as lots of miscellaneous items that tend to land in a creative space. Shelves, drawers, and closets become crammed as all of this stuff builds up. Whether you are planning a move or just want to clear out some space, downsizing is a major project. Today we’ll talk about some of the logistics of dealing with an overcrowded studio, or one that needs to be packed up for a move.

  • Episode 259: Surviving Your Opening

    July 17th, 2023  |  36 mins 19 secs
    art, business, creativity, exhibits, galleries, openings, rebecca crowell, tips

    Art openings are fun, right? Your friends and family are there to celebrate, your work is beautifully displayed, you meet new people who are interested in what you do, and you may see some red dots appear. So why do so many artists approach their opening receptions with mixed feelings or even dread? Even if you feel excited about the show and grateful for the opportunity to exhibit, you may feel nervous about being in the spotlight, confused about what’s expected of you, or disappointed by a small turnout. Even openings that live up to your highest expectations can feel overwhelming. Today we’ll take an inside look at how to survive and even enjoy your next art opening.

  • Episode 258: Making Assumptions

    July 11th, 2023  |  33 mins 46 secs
    art, assumptions, business, creativity, disappointment, galleries, rebecca crowell, rejection

    As artists we are often in uncertain territory when dealing with the world of galleries, exhibits, and other opportunities, and leaning on assumptions --what we believe you know about a situation --can help you feel more grounded or confident. But when you find out you’ve misread a situation, you may be left feeling angry or frustrated, or blame yourself for not seeing things more clearly. How can you maintain your objectivity and identify your assumptions as you navigate the ups and downs of an art career? There are no easy answers but today we will offer some perspective on this tricky issue.

  • Episode 257: More Than One Direction

    July 1st, 2023  |  38 mins 24 secs
    abstraction, art, brand, creativity, exhibits, realism, rebecca crowell, social media, style, voice

    In the interest of having a consistent style, artists are generally advised to stick to one type of work --both in the studio and when exhibiting. But many artists are experimental, curious, and explore more than one direction—so this advice can seem too restrictive. In our last episode, we touched briefly on the idea that a range of the same artist’s work CAN be promoted effectively if done with consideration. If you have more than one direction you may have questions about how you can best present your work when exhibiting or in other situations, and today we will address those concerns.

  • Episode 256: When Art Travel Ends

    June 24th, 2023  |  33 mins 24 secs
    adjustment, art, creativity, rebecca crowell, transition, travel

    We’ve talked several times in the past about the experience of attending an artist residency program when you are away from your home studio, focused exclusively on your work in a stimulating environment. We’ve also talked about the importance of travel in general for feeding your creative ideas. But what about when that residency or the travel is over? Will the bubble you have been in for weeks, focused on your work or satisfying your travel curiosity, simply burst? Today we talk about that transitional time back to ordinary life and how that plays out in your work.

  • Episode 255: Silence, Solitude, and the Creative Pause

    June 10th, 2023  |  35 mins 14 secs
    art, creativity, pause, productivity, rebecca crowell, time, work habits

    Many creative people embrace quiet, solitary moments as portals to being in synch with their work. Stepping away from everyday distractions is a way of nurturing your creative self, bringing you more in touch with your emotions, ideas, and the bigger picture of what you want to express. Yet true silence and solitude tend to be rare in our lives, unless we make a conscious effort to bring them in. Today we’ll talk about the value of doing so as part of the creative process.

  • Episode 254: Intuitive, Spontaneous, or Random?

    June 5th, 2023  |  32 mins 15 secs
    art, creativity, exploration, ideas, intuition, randomness, rebecca crowell, source, spontaneity

    Intuition and spontaneity are important to many artists. But what about randomness? While these words are related in superficial ways, they have very different meanings in the context of art practice. Intuition and spontaneity play positive roles. Intuition can be a powerful guide and a source of new ideas --and spontaneity leads to energy and excitement. Randomness, on the other hand, tends to lead you off track and reduce the meaning and impact of your work. Today we will talk about the differences between what is intuitive, spontaneous, and random and how to recognize them in your work.

  • Episode 253: Dealing with Rejection

    May 27th, 2023  |  36 mins 3 secs
    art, business, creativity, exhibitions, growth, mind set, rebecca crowell, rejection, shows

    It’s never easy putting your work in front of others to be judged and scrutinized, but if you don’t it’s very hard to gain a wider audience or grow as an artist. Submitting work to galleries, grant panels, juried shows, and competitions tends to become a routine part of what artists do. But for every time you’re chosen for an opportunity, there are many more times when you are rejected or simply ignored. And despite the thick skins many of us develop, rejection is never easy. Today we’ll talk about coping with rejection and try to gain some perspective on its inevitability

  • Episode 252: Personal or Formal?

    May 15th, 2023  |  31 mins 43 secs
    art, creativity, formal, personal, rebecca crowell, structure, style

    We tend to think of artistic expression as being very personal, as coming from the artist’s experiences, emotions, memories, and responses. But there are also many works of art that are not focused on personal expression. Instead, the artist is motivated to explore a more impersonal realm of ideas, patterns, and more universal concepts. For most artists, there is a balance between sources that are more and less personal, a balance in working between the heart and the mind. That individual balance is basic to the artist’s voice and unique expression. Today we’re going to talk about these two different approaches to making art and the balance in your own art practice.

  • Episode 251: Travel Tips for Artists

    May 8th, 2023  |  35 mins 48 secs
    art, creativity, hacks, listener suggestions, rebecca crowell, tips, travel

    The ideas and energy gained from travel are important to many artists, and when you travel, you seldom leave your art self behind. The stimulation of travel and new experiences tends to create strong impressions and bring on the urge to create while you’re away from home, no matter the overall reason for your trip. This means bringing along at least some art supplies, and lots more if the focus of your trip is a residency or workshop.

  • Episode 250: Expressions of Gratitude

    April 29th, 2023  |  30 mins 15 secs
    art, business, communication, creativity, experience, gratitude, personal, rebecca crowell

    As artists, what role can gratitude play in our work and practice? On a personal level, we know that focusing on what we’re grateful for is good for overall mental health and contentment. Today we’d like to talk about specific situations in which appreciation and gratitude can help artists cope with some of the tougher aspects of art practice. Expressing gratitude can also help in your professional life to build mutual appreciation and respect in your dealings with the art world. Today we’ll talk about the importance of gratitude on both personal and professional levels.

  • Episode 249: Explaining Abstraction

    April 23rd, 2023  |  36 mins 28 secs
    abstraction, art, artist statements, creativity, explaining your work, personal relationships, rebecca crowell

    Lots of people misunderstand abstract art and don’t respect it as a valid form of expression. We’ve all heard remarks that imply that abstract artists lack talent or skill or are trying to fool people into appreciating something that has no value. If you are an abstract artist, how do you deal with this attitude? Do you have family and friends who dismiss your work? Do you let negative remarks pass by or do you try to provide some background or insight into abstraction? Today we’ll explore why abstraction confounds many viewers and some ways you might provide some insight.

  • Episode 248: Feedback Time

    April 15th, 2023  |  38 mins 21 secs
    advice, art, creativity, development, feedback, mentors, rebecca crowell

    As artists, we know it’s good to get feedback now and then so we can understand how our work is seen by others. But managing how and when to solicit feedback can have a lot to do with how valuable and appropriate it will be. While feedback at the right time and situation can be exactly what you need, feedback can also have the opposite effect, and even experienced artists can be thrown off track. Today we’ll talk about exerting control over when and how to receive feedback to make it most valuable.