January 3rd, 2022 | 37 mins 55 secs
art, artist statements, authenticity, creativity, overthinking, process, rebecca crowell
We talk a lot on the podcast about the importance of thinking about your work—of identifying intentions, strategies for developing your ideas, describing your work, researching other artists, and practicing self-critique. All of these are important, but we never want to neglect the more intuitive side of an art practice. So much of what we do is the result of hunches, impulses, and flashes of insight. And the bottom line is that as visual artists, whatever we do needs more than intellectual underpinnings. Today we will talk about the balance of thinking and overthinking when it comes to making art.
December 17th, 2021 | 39 mins 55 secs
art, brand, business, creativity, personal voice, rebecca crowell, social media
Many of us enjoy social media as a convenient way to share our art with others, for the sense of community it offers, and the easy way it lets us keep up with people we seldom see in person. But artists who are not enthusiastic about social media can feel pressured into participating because of the benefits it offers, yet squeamish and awkward when they do. Today we’ll talk about the role of social media in art practice and how to find a comfort level with participating if you’ve been avoiding it.
December 12th, 2021 | 50 mins 23 secs
art, collaborating, creativity, gratitude, looking back, milestone, personal development, podcasting, rebecca crowell, review
We have reached a milestone here at the Messy Studio that we are excited to report. We recently surpassed half a million total downloads of our episodes, which we first published in late December 2017. This week also marks our 200th episode, and we are also coming up on our 4th year anniversary as well. We’re proud of our podcast and grateful to our many listeners, and to celebrate we decided to talk today about the podcast itself—how it got started, how it has grown, and the challenges and rewards of this project.
December 4th, 2021 | 33 mins 2 secs
adventure, art, creativity, personal brand, personal voice, rebecca crowell, risks, travel
As children, we all explored constantly—the world was new and we needed to try things out, push boundaries, and make discoveries in order to grow. Most of the time we were totally absorbed in these activities and found them enjoyable. Artists in their beginning phases often show a similar attitude—they are willing and eager to explore, play, and experiment in an open-ended way with few expectations. But once artistic maturity sets in we tend to settle into more predictable practices and may lose the urge to explore. There are important benefits to finding your groove and sticking with it, but how can we keep an inventive and adventurous spirit alive at the same time?
November 27th, 2021 | 41 mins 33 secs
art, creativity, interview, laurie rosenwald, messy studio, mistakes, rebecca crowell
Many of us live lives based on habit and predictability--we aim for expected results, and generally avoid uncertainty and disruption. But our guest today, Laurie Rosenwald, challenges us to steer away from the tried and true in order to bring freshness and spontaneity to our lives and work. Laurie is a New York City-based illustrator, artist, designer, and book creator whose work is a mix of collage, drawing, painting, and storytelling. In addition to her many editorial illustrations for a wide variety of publications, Laurie has created animation, product design, and leads an ongoing workshop, "How to Make Mistakes on Purpose."
November 20th, 2021 | 35 mins 17 secs
art, creativity, criticism, mindset, praise, rebecca crowell, teaching
When we think of the kinds of reactions to our work from other people that cause a block in creative flow, most people think first of negativity, indifference, or misunderstanding. All of these can undermine our self-confidence and cause us to feel incompetent, uninteresting, or simply off track. They can lead to anxiety and avoidance behavior towards our work. But what about the opposite—positive remarks of praise and admiration? These can create a blockage of a different kind that may be harder to recognize and acknowledge. Today we talk about the rather odd fact that praise can stall us as much as criticism.
November 15th, 2021 | 39 mins 35 secs
art, art tours, business, creativity, rebecca crowell, sales, studio tours
At some point in their art careers, many artists are offered the opportunity to take part in an Open Studios event or Art Tour in their communities. These events can be lucrative and exciting --and provide many new contacts to help spread the word about your work. They also entail a lot of preparation and time taken away from normal studio life ---and several intensive days of meeting the public and handling all the details of selling work directly during the event. Today we take an inside look at this experience and consider the pros and cons of participating in an Open Studio or Art Tour in your own community.
November 6th, 2021 | 35 mins 56 secs
art, business, creativity, efficiency, multitasking, outsourcing, rebecca crowell, workflow
The behind-the-scenes aspect of almost any job is surprising, and that of a working, professional artist is no exception. So much goes on that has little if anything to do with actually making art. Maintaining a studio, tracking inventory and expenses, photographing work, keeping up a website, engaging with social media, answering email, staying in touch with galleries, and handling countless other details of art practice—all of these tasks are time-consuming and each requires its own skillset. Most artists do all of this on their own without assistance, learning as they go, and over time they find what works for them. Today we look at the frustrations and rewards for artists as they constantly change out their many hats.
October 31st, 2021 | 39 mins 46 secs
abstraction, art, book, cold wax academy, creativity, rebecca crowell, teaching, writing
A year ago, Rebecca and her teaching partner and co-author, Jerry McLaughlin embarked on a new project to meet the needs of artists during the time of Covid. With in-person workshops canceled, they turned to online teaching as a way to continue to offer instruction to artists interested in using cold wax medium and oils. Faced with this challenge of offering deep learning in a new format, Rebecca and Jerry developed a structured curriculum of online sessions for a worldwide audience of artists. Cold Wax Academy has evolved to be the leading online resource for mastery of both technical and artistic skills required for painting with cold wax medium.
October 23rd, 2021 | 33 mins 6 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, observation, realism, rebecca crowell, technique
It can seem sometimes like artists and art lovers fall into two camps—those that adamantly prefer abstraction, and those who feel the same way about realism. Of course, this is a very simplistic view of art --and the fact is that these two approaches meet and mingle in countless unique ways. But it can be demoralizing for an abstract artist to be dismissed out of hand as lacking seriousness and skill, and the same for the realist who may be criticized for lacking imagination or unique vision. In fact, all artists who have gained mastery at what they do have something to teach others.
October 16th, 2021 | 33 mins 18 secs
abstraction, art, creativity, experience, life, personal voice, rebecca crowell
How do abstract artists focus on specific ideas in their work? How can personal voice be discovered and followed given the endless possibilities of abstraction? Today we will talk about one path that has proven to be a rich vein of ideas for many abstract artists—that of pulling from their own experiences in life to create a meaningful, personal visual language. Today we’ll talk about ways to access ideas for abstraction from what you know best, your own life.
October 9th, 2021 | 30 mins 43 secs
changes, creativity, frustration, mess
We named our podcast The Messy Studio for a reason that goes beyond the physical working space. We also mean to imply that the creative process itself is rarely neat or clearly defined. It is more often confusing and convoluted. This aspect of creativity can be frustrating, but it’s necessary each time we find a new path in our work. Today we talk about the importance of the messy stages of creativity and how clarity can be achieved as we move forward.
October 4th, 2021 | 37 mins 42 secs
art, creativity, letting go, moving, possessions, rebecca crowell, stress
A couple of weeks ago-- during our first episode after the break that we took for moving this summer--we talked a little about the emotional side of letting so much go from our former lives. This seems to have struck a chord with listeners—we received quite a few comments about the experience of moving, its difficulties, and the anxieties it creates. A need to shed possessions of any sort is a challenge, but to let go of very personal objects like works of art is especially difficult. Today we’ll focus on Rebecca’s experiences of clearing out her studio and some thoughts about letting go in general.
September 25th, 2021 | 40 mins 39 secs
art, creativity, focus, jim scherbarth, passion, practice, purpose, rebecca crowell, teaching, voice
James Edward Scherbarth was a dear friend, colleague, and teacher, and artist who developed profound and personal ways of working in just a few years following his retirement in his mid-60s. Today we share our interview with Jim near the end of his life in which he discusses his life, work, and teaching philosophy. Jim passed away a few days after this recording, on June 22, 2021. We are very honored to have had this opportunity to hear what he wished to share with our listeners.
September 18th, 2021 | 30 mins 40 secs
art, creativity, life changes, moving, process, rebecca crowell, stress
Those of you who follow the Messy Studio know that we have taken time off this summer because each of us was involved in a major move from the family home in Wisconsin. The process of moving is no fun, as anyone who has done it knows—it’s hard work physically and emotionally and there is plenty of stress. But now that we are each settled in we’re happy to be back with producing the podcast. Today we join you with thoughts about changing situations and what Rebecca has been seeing in her current work in the studio as a result.
July 17th, 2021 | 36 mins 22 secs
3d printing, art, crypto currency, encryption, entrepreneurship, liberating technologies, ross ticknor
As artists --engaged for the most part in fairly traditional and long-established ways of working—it may be hard to understand or embrace new technologies. Yet artists have always been involved in revolutionary advances in culture and technology. Today we will discuss some technologies that have liberating potential for artists. In a bit of role reversal, our guest today is Ross Ticknor, and his focus is on the uses of 3-D printing for artists.