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

Episodes

  • Episode 223: Your Upcoming Exhibit

    October 1st, 2022  |  42 mins 3 secs
    art, business, creativity, exhibits, galleries, rebecca crowell

    Nothing energizes and motivates an artist like being offered an exhibit, especially one that involves showing a lot of pieces together. Even experienced artists with a history of exhibits feel excited by the opportunity, but also a little daunted by all the work and planning involved. For artists preparing for their first big exhibit, there is a lot to learn and figure out. Today we’ll go through some of the practical aspects of preparing for a show, based on Rebecca’s almost 40 years of experience with exhibiting her work--and in a future episode we’ll consider some of the other challenges involved with showing your work.

  • Episode 222: Self Assertion for Artists

    September 25th, 2022  |  40 mins 49 secs
    art, business, confrontation, creativity, personal relationships, rebecca crowell, self assertion

    When artists deal with the world outside their studios, they are often called upon to state their needs, assert their rights, and sometimes to confront unfair actions by galleries, organizers, or clients. Most of us don’t have agents or employees to handle these situations for us, and so we need to handle them on our own. To be effective, you need to be confident and straight-forward with the discussion. But instead, your personality may cause you to feel shy, socially awkward, or less than confident when you need to be self-assertive. Today’s episode is for those of you who struggle with confrontation and self-assertion in your dealings with the art world.

  • Episode 221: Creative Momentum

    September 18th, 2022  |  33 mins 12 secs
    art, business, creativity, galleries, mindset, momentum, rebecca crowell, sales, work flow

    Studio practice has noticeable ebbs and flows in terms of productivity, sales, exhibiting and marketing. There is also an energy flow that is less specific and harder to quantify that runs through our days in the studio. Sometimes our energy is strong, and we feel carried along by ideas and excitement, and other times we feel sluggish, lack ideas, and must push ourselves to even go to the studio. When we lose creative momentum, it’s hard to feel we’re doing our best work. What is creative momentum, and how can we create and sustain it?

  • Episode 220: The Blank Canvas

    September 10th, 2022  |  38 mins 58 secs
    art, blank canvas, creativity, getting started, materials, practice, rebecca crowell, time

    Beginning a work of art is a leap into the unknown. Facing a blank canvas or panel or sheet of drawing paper, a lump of clay, a block of wood, a freshly prepared litho stone, or the untouched material of any art form is exhilarating but also a bit intimidating. How do you approach starting new work? Do you feel the energy of a fresh start, or is there some worry about how things will go? How do you overcome resistance to starting something new? Today we will talk about the ups and downs in launching into new work.

  • Episode 219: The Confidence Game

    September 4th, 2022  |  33 mins 18 secs
    art, attitude, business, confidence, creativity, personal development, rebecca crowell

    As artists and as creative entrepreneurs we all know the challenges of building confidence—in our own attitudes and in our encounters with people we want to engage with our work. To a large extent, we invent ourselves as we go along, developing a vision for our work and an audience to appreciate it. And often we tackle all of this without much emotional or practical support, and the times when we struggle have a way of depleting our confidence. Today we will talk about understanding the role of confidence in your work and in your business dealings.

  • Episode 218: About Teaching Workshops

    August 27th, 2022  |  43 mins 50 secs
    art, business, creativity, entrepreneurship, rebecca crowell, teaching, workshops

    Last week we talked about workshops from the point of view of artists taking them, what they look for, and how to make choices from the many options available. Today we want to talk about workshops from the perspective of workshop instructors. Many artists who have ideas and experience to share are drawn to workshop teaching. And teaching can be a very rewarding, interesting, and lucrative side job that fits well with an artist’s own studio practice. But it’s also a completely unregulated territory where success depends largely on personal reputation and endorsements, and where sometimes the best laid plans fall apart. What does it take to do well as a workshop instructor? What are some of the rewards of teaching workshops and what are some things to watch out for?

  • Episode 217: Navigating Workshop World

    August 20th, 2022  |  40 mins 15 secs
    art, creativity, education, rebecca crowell, students, teaching, workshops

    Workshops serve many purposes for artists, including learning new skills and information, connecting with other artists, and receiving feedback and critique. A workshop with the right instructor at the right time can provide an important breakthrough for your work. But attending a workshop can also be challenging on a personal level, involving travel, a commitment of time and money, and working in a group environment. And not all workshops are well organized or worthwhile. Today we will be talking about workshops from the perspective of artists who have taken them--what was gained, and what difficulties were encountered.

  • Episode 216: The Personal and The Professional

    August 14th, 2022  |  41 mins 50 secs
    art, business, creativity, galleries, openings, personalism, professionalism, rebecca crowell, sales

    In every field of work, there are some interactions that are professional and some that can be more personal, and the lines between them are not always clear. How casual, how revealing, how personal can you be while keeping a businesslike and professional attitude? In an art career, this issue impacts your interactions in many ways—in talking with dealers and collectors, when you give talks and interviews, in setting the tone of your website, and any time you are meeting the public. Today we’ll talk about the boundaries between personal and professional situations in an art career.

  • Episode 215: Being Vulnerable

    August 7th, 2022  |  33 mins 19 secs
    art, business, creativity, emotion, professionalism, rebecca crowell, vulnerability

    Situations in which we feel unsure, insecure, and vulnerable are a common experience for many of us. As artists, that feeling of vulnerability may come with exhibiting our work, promoting ourselves, explaining what we do, and even when we’re alone in the studio making art. Today we will share some thoughts about what it means to be vulnerable as an artist. Is vulnerability something to avoid --or tolerate-- or even embrace? What can we learn from situations in which we feel vulnerable?

  • Episode 214: Emotional Territory

    July 31st, 2022  |  35 mins 43 secs
    art, creativity, emotions, producing work, rebecca crowell, selling work

    Creative work involves a myriad of emotions. In a single day in the studio, an artist can cycle through excitement, frustration, despair, relief, pleasure, and hope. Sending a finished piece into the world can bring on anxiety and feelings of vulnerability, along with more positive emotions like anticipation and satisfaction. Emotional involvement comes with the territory of our work-- but we do need to stay on track, focus, and show up in the studio. Today we’ll talk about coping with the tangle of emotions that can challenge artists and other creative people.

  • Episode 213: Artists as Entrepreneurs, with Jerry McLaughlin

    July 23rd, 2022  |  38 mins 17 secs
    art, business, creativity, entrepreneurship, jerry mclaughlin, mexico, rebecca crowell

    For many of us in the art world, making art is only part of what we do. The other big role most of us play, that of businessperson, can be one that comes less naturally. Many artists resist getting involved with art as a business, seeing it as something that dilutes creativity and true voice. At the same time, most of us get a lot of satisfaction from exhibiting our work and would like to be able to make a living doing what we really love, and it is gratifying to provide something that enriches the lives of fellow humans. Can we learn to see the business aspects of art in a more positive light, and bring to our art business the same skills we use in the studio?

  • Episode 212: Imaginary Friends and Critics

    July 16th, 2022  |  32 mins 50 secs
    art, business, communication, creativity, marketing, outside influences, personal voice, rebecca crowell

    When an artist creates, the people that the artist images viewing the work often are unseen presences in the studio. When we are deeply involved in our work these may fade away, but they tend to reappear when we are uncertain or involved in self-critique. A legitimate and important part of evaluating our work is trying to see the work through someone else’s eyes. But who are these viewers, exactly? Who are we creating art for, besides ourselves? Today we talk about those who view our work, how we imagine them and how much power to give them.

  • Episode 211: Meaning in Abstraction

    July 10th, 2022  |  35 mins 11 secs
    abstraction, art, communication, creativity, meaning, rebecca crowell

    Abstract art --especially the kind that has no identifiable imagery-- may appear to have little meaning to the viewer beyond its purely visual appeal. Certainly, we can admire and respond to abstraction without needing a story or an explanation, as long as our eyes are intrigued or delighted, and that is an important way it can be appreciated. But in fact, ideas, emotions, and other points of reference lie behind even the most purely abstract work. Today we will consider the ideas that compel abstract artists and guide them in their work.

  • Episode 210: Interview with Jason Matias Part II

    July 3rd, 2022  |  47 mins 10 secs
    art, business, creativity, design, jason matias, photography, rebecca crowell

    Today we are excited to welcome Seattle-based artist, author, and educator Jason Matias back to the Messy Studio. We published the first part of this interview back in January, which focused on Jason's approach to the business side of art. We recorded a second interview that same day so that he could tell us more about his own art, and what it takes to make his striking photographs of the natural world. We are excited to share this second interview with you today.

  • Episode 209: Abstraction and Visual Ideas

    June 25th, 2022  |  37 mins 58 secs
    abstraction, art, creativity, rebecca crowell, visual ideas

    Abstract artists are known for getting ideas for their work everywhere. If you notice someone taking a photo of a crack in the sidewalk or staring at a piece of rusted metal, chances are good that’s an abstract artist at work, collecting ideas for lines and colors and textures. Even if we don’t depict objects realistically in our work, we are constantly observing the world around us. Today we are talking about the process of gathering and using visual ideas in creating abstract art.

  • Episode 208: Counterproductive Habits

    June 19th, 2022  |  36 mins 59 secs
    art, creativity, personal development, productivity, rebecca crowell, work habits

    Being productive in the studio means different things to each artist--but wanting to grow and achieve new levels in our work is basic to the creative process. Yet there are many practices and attitudes that work against productivity, causing frustration and creative blocks, and wasting valuable studio time. Today we will talk about some of these counterproductive situations and how to challenge them in your own studio practice.