Teaching creativity through the mess of artistic expression

March 20

By Sean Meyer


It was just three years ago when Krista Kankula picked up a paintbrush after being inspired by watching a five-day painting challenge on Facebook.

Krista had some art supplies, but she hadn’t done anything with them for the longest time. And so, she decided it was time to do something that didn’t involve a computer, a screen, or even an end result — it was just time to do something for the sheer fun of it.

That epiphany led Krista to launch Revel in the Mess, an initiative to help people embrace their own creative cravings.

“Through that process I realized the lessons creativity can teach us. I started sharing the work I was creating, not to sell it necessarily, but as a way of talking about the creative practice I had at that time,” Krista explains. “I realized this helps me with my struggles with perfection; I can focus on just making a mess and enjoying the process without worrying about what the final outcome looks like.”

The first workshop Krista did was titled the purposefully ironic, “The Art of Making a Mess.”

Ironic, she explains, because there is no art to it.

Instead it was the idea of helping people move from being “stuck in perfection” and just staring at a blank page, not knowing where to start or what to do, completely worried about making a mistake or doing something wrong.

Instead, the workshop offered participants the opportunity to do some painting experiments and talking about creativity.

Then would then leave with some tools necessary for establishing their own creative process.

“We talk about how to carve out time and space to interact with your creativity, and what that looks like, especially as adults because sometimes we’ve gotten so far away from it,” Krista said. “Really it was reaffirming they are creative, even if it doesn’t feel like it. A lot of times people don’t identify with being creative.”

Turns out there is a striking similarity between creativity and innovation, which is why it makes sense Krista would end up a co-tenant at Innovation Works.

Krista had heard of Innovation Works, but it wasn’t until she came for a networking event and toured the space that she saw it as not only “a really cool place” to host workshops, but how Innovation Works staff were structuring the social events to connect with people.

“It all seemed to align. The real essence of what they are trying to create here lined up with my values,” she explains. “I think someone talked about experiments, the idea they are trying things here, and to me that made total sense and was a fit with what I’m supporting people in doing.”

Krista has been set up at Innovation Works since November and the connections she’s made have allowed her to bounce ideas off of others, discuss her approach with like-minded people and even share her own experiences, all with the goal of being a greater part of the community conversation around creativity.

“It isn’t about giving somebody one more thing to do, it’s about how can you incorporate these creative practices into what you are already doing every day,” Krista said. “That is what’s going to be sustainable and really is what will sustain them.”

For more information on Revel in the Mess, visit http://revelinthemess.com.