Ross Ticknor grew up surrounded by art and artists, and studied 3D art and ceramics in college. He has worked as a commercial kiln operator, web designer, vineyard supervisor, and as an audiobook producer and voice talent. He is passionate about his various entrepreneurial ventures, including Northwoods Drink Stones and [Clear Water CBD](www.clearwater-cbd.com).
August 22nd, 2020 | 42 mins 22 secs
art, career, conversation, creativity, criticism, marketing, rebecca crowell, self improvement
In a recent podcast, we talked about the remark often made about abstract artists --” my kid could paint that.” But there are lots of other things people say to and about artists that show a lack of understanding or even hostility toward art. When these happen in conversation, they can create some awkward moments. Most of us tend to feel defensive when this happens, and we can miss an opportunity to elevate the conversation. Today we’ll talk about some of these common remarks, consider why people make them, and ways to handle them gracefully.
August 15th, 2020 | 37 mins 44 secs
abstraction, art, child art, creativity, rebecca crowell
Saying that an abstract painting is something a preschooler could do sounds like the ultimate putdown for abstract art. It implies that abstraction is a scam, meant to fool the viewer into thinking it has actual importance and ridiculing the fact that it is sold for thousands of dollars. It also denies that it takes effort, skill, or seriousness to make the work. But can that same remark be viewed in a positive light instead? What do we lose as adult artists that children have naturally, before becoming self-conscious about their work? And is child art really the equivalent of adult work? Today discuss the relationship between abstraction and child art.
August 8th, 2020 | 29 mins 48 secs
art, creativity, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, style, texture
Along with color, texture is one of the most evocative visual elements, engaging not only our eyes but our sense of touch—as well as our memories and associations. Many artists seek out ways of creating texture and consider it one of the most important aspects of their work. Yet because it is such a powerful element it needs to be used thoughtfully, and often with restraint. How can we use texture most effectively in our work, allowing it to take its place with other visual elements without overpowering them? What are the special qualities of texture that can be used to enhance our work?
August 1st, 2020 | 36 mins 39 secs
A theme in all of our podcasts over time has been encouraging artistic growth. To us, growth is a given, something all of us strive as artists and as people. But what does it really mean to grow artistically and why is it important? What can you look for in your work to know if it is growing? Today we will look at what growth means in our studio practices and share thoughts about its importance.
July 25th, 2020 | 35 mins 20 secs
art, art researching, creativity, curiosity, growth, rebecca crowell, style, technique
We were all curious as children and many artists retain that trait as vital to dynamic art practice. Yet curiosity can be fragile, disappearing in the face of information overload or the desire to seem knowledgeable and in control. To be curious, to wonder, to explore –all are aspects of ourselves that keep us young, with room to grow. Today we will look at how to nurture curiosity in your art practice and the importance of exploring and wondering, in art and in life.
July 18th, 2020 | 38 mins 47 secs
art, creativity, editing, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, skills
Artists need to edit, too!. Of course, we’re all familiar with the idea of editing as it applies to writing. It is often said that every author needs an editor to make sure that their writing is technically correct, cohesive, and impactful. But as visual artists we don’t typically involve anyone else in that kind of role --it's up to us to do it ourselves. Today we will talk about editing our work for stronger and more consistent results, and point out that it need not be a chore or necessary evil.
July 11th, 2020 | 38 mins 8 secs
art, collecting, creativity, rebecca crowell
When artists collect, it’s often--but not always-- related to our art practices. We tend to collect works of art that we’ve bought or traded for, art books, memorabilia like announcements and posters, and of course, art supplies. But what about the more unexpected things we gather in our homes and studios? What do our collections tell us about ourselves and our attraction to certain kinds of objects? Today we’ll report on what some artists had to say when Rebecca posed the topic on Facebook, along with our own musings about the meaning of collections.
July 4th, 2020 | 29 mins 43 secs
art, beauty, creativity, rebecca crowell
We often say “That’s beautiful” in response to a work of art, but the word beautiful can have many meanings. Most of us recognize it as a heartfelt compliment when it is said about our own work, but we may wonder what specifically prompted the viewer to use the word. And while we may strive for beauty in our work we may have not thought much about what that means. Today we look at what deeper ideas or responses the words “beauty” and “beautiful” can hold.
June 27th, 2020 | 28 mins 47 secs
art, creativity, intentions, personal development, rebecca crowell
A key aspect of establishing your personal voice is figuring out what is most important to you in your work. What do you want to communicate to other people? What responses do you hope to evoke? The process of defining intentions can be challenging, involving some basic but important questions, and may take some time to process and refine. But clear intentions are a powerful tool. Today we will look at the process of clarifying your intentions and the advantages for doing so.
June 20th, 2020 | 38 mins 38 secs
art, authenticity, being authentic, creativity, influences, inspiration, rebecca crowell
This is a topic that we have considered covering for a while. It dovetails nicely with past episodes addressing what inspires and motivates our work. But it seems especially relevant now given the worldwide pandemic and recent social unrest, which have many artists thinking deeply about the meaning and honesty of their work.
Being authentic in your work means being true to yourself, and unafraid in your creative explorations. During this time we are experiencing massive changes all around us. Examining how authentic we are being in our work can lead to new insights and growth. The more challenges we are facing in life, the more important it becomes to bring our whole selves into our work. This results in better work and a better mental state.
June 13th, 2020 | 36 mins 50 secs
art, fundamentals, rebecca crowell, scale
Scale is an aspect of visual design that is perhaps the easiest to overlook. This is because there is a default mode that generally works—that is, medium-sized works of art, and imagery that fits in expected ways within those boundaries. But challenging habitual ways of using scale can be an exciting path. As viewers, we notice immediately when someone steps outside the expected and calls attention to scale. Today we have some thoughts about using scale in dynamic ways.
June 6th, 2020 | 36 mins 30 secs
art, composition, creativity, fundamentals, rebecca crowell
We touched on today’s topic in our last episode when we went briefly over through some important design elements. Basically, we were talking about composition—how to arrange the visual elements on a 2-d surface so that they “work.” This is complex because each aspect of a composition affects others in subtle or not so subtle ways. Intuition plays a role in composition—something just “looks right”—but to make really strong work we need to balance that with understanding. Today we are going to look more closely at composition and its role in your art practice.
May 30th, 2020 | 33 mins 47 secs
art, creativity, elements, fundamentals, principles, rebecca crowell, visual language
Learning to use the visual elements and design principles in your work is often compared to acquiring vocabulary and then being able to use those words to communicate. It also means being able to understand better what other artists have to say in their work. This understanding is basic and contributes to your growth for your whole artistic life. It also grows in tandem with intuitive responses and understanding. Yet many artists do not progress much beyond a limited vocabulary, used in only a few repeated combinations. Today we will give a perspective on the benefits of growing your visual vocabulary.
May 23rd, 2020 | 39 mins 36 secs
art, creativity, critique, rebecca crowell, teaching
It can be very unsettling to put your work in front of someone else for a critique. We may fear harsh, judgmental comments. Yet the value of critique is exactly that, the chance to gain an outside perspective and insight, and very often criticism can be given and received in a supportive way. Today we’ll talk about the positive aspects of critique as well as handling negative criticism with regards to our work.
May 15th, 2020 | 29 mins 10 secs
art, quarantine, rebecca crowell, therapy
As we record this episode, a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, there is so much we don’t know—what the situation means in our own lives and in the world at large, how long it will last and what we will endure before it is over. How can our art practices help us through this difficult and anxious time? Today our podcast includes thoughts from two art therapists, Mimma Della Cagnoletta and Barbara Bagan, who generously shared their ideas about this topic via email.
May 9th, 2020 | 37 mins 16 secs
art, experience, rebecca crowell, teaching, wisdom
If you have ever had a really good art class, whether, in school or a workshop, you probably retained some real gems of wisdom from the instructor. These may be specific things that were emphasized or their overall teaching philosophy. These positive ideas and words have the power to shape our studio practices for our entire creative lives. We reached out to some art instructors, all friends of the Messy Studio Podcast, to ask them to share their insights and approaches to teaching, as well as how they motivate and inspire students to find their own direction.