Saturday, June 6, 2020

Lockdown days with Art Podcasts and Books-Audiobooks

I thought it didn’t matter much, personally, since I had been living in a kind of isolation a good part of my life. Being an artist it’s nothing new. Every artist is in isolation most of the time, working alone, scarcely interacting, thinking aloud at times probably, listening to music or podcasts, movies and characters to give company...animate and inanimate objects around by and large...the foundation of a “sound artist” not dependent on the money they make of course and does not depend on the size of the studio too whether it be a whole complex or the bedroom of a one bhk. Likewise, my days are moving onward, engaged in my work as much as time and energy permits. I listen to podcasts, audiobooks and movies while I am at work. It keeps me engaged not when detailing my work though. I need complete attention there.

Bearing this instance in mind, I thought of putting together a blog post on the podcasts I listen fact podcasts I can't live without. There are some more than the one given below which I listen to on and off but the ones below are absolute gems! I am inclined towards women-oriented ones - I found that out while compiling this list!

In case you are interested, check them out.

Podcasts I can’t live without –

Bow Down: Women in Art (*Rating - 4.9/5)

Bow Down-Frieze-Jennifer Higgie-HuesnShades

Bow Down is a podcast about significant women artists from the past, hosted by Jennifer HiggieAustralian novelist, screenwriter, art critic and editor of the London-based contemporary art magazine, Frieze.

“Women have been expressing themselves since the beginning of time. Yet, ask around and you’ll find that most people struggle to name even one non-male artist from before the 20th century. For each 20-minute episode, Jennifer invites an artist, writer, historian or curator to nominate an artist to whom we should all … well, bow down.”

This feels more of an academic podcast where Jennifer takes the listeners through the lives of the said artists through brief episodes and yet is seeped with information about each artist that one will get hooked to it instantly. She has her fingers on the pulse of the art world and it’s rightly said so. She can gauge the rate and rhythm at which it beats and set the tone right.

Their first season is now over with 9 episodes and am anxiously waiting for their new season. You can check on what they already have by clicking the link above.

The Great Women Artists (Rating 4.9/5)

The Great Women Artists-Katy Hessel-HuesnShades

Hosted by Katy Hessel, a 26-year-old curator, writer, and art historian.

“The Great Women Artists Podcast interviews artists on their career, or curators, writers, or general art lovers, on the female artist who means the most to them.” and celebrates women artists on a daily basis. “Writing about art in an accessible and fun manner, my goal is to readdress the gender imbalance in the art world by reinserting women of all backgrounds back into the canon of art history.”

Katy is a cheery and delightful host replete with a zest that she definitely will impart to the listener. One can feel her curiosity in all her episodes, so full of life and knowledge and with intense desire to spread the same. She is sure to make us sit on the edge of our seats asking for more. Katy surely thinks out of the box and her quiz that she holds live on Instagram is one of my favourites. Her unquenchable thirst for knowledge and determination to bring it all together is sweetly infectious. 

Season 2 is currently on and you have 28 fantastic episodes there.

ArtCurious (Rating 4.8/5

Art Curious-Jennifer Dasal-HuesnShades

“...where we explore the unexpected, the slightly odd, and the strangely wonderful in Art History.” This podcast is by Jennifer Dasal, a contemporary art curator with nearly twenty years of art-historical studies and experience.

“Think art history is boring? Think again. It's weird, funny, mysterious, enthralling, and liberating. Join us as we cover the strangest stories in art. Is the Mona Lisa fake? Did Van Gogh actually kill himself? And why were the Impressionists so great?”

Art Curious is the first podcast (and the oldest in this list) I started listening to a couple of years back particularly during my commute between Palakkad and Ernakulam and back when I was in India. It is a kind of art detective podcast where Jennifer takes us on an adventurous trip into the not-so-known-regions of the art world. Her words are enticing and you go along with her, through the dark corridors, looming shadows and mysteries of the artists' world while she unravels the secrets for us. I absolutely love the signature music, the tagline and the intro every time I hear it.

Currently, Season 7 of The Coolest Artists is on. RivalsShock ArtTrue Crime are all my favourites; Art Curious has a total of 91 episodes. 

The Jealous Curator (Rating 4.7/5)

ArtForYourEar-The Jealous Curator-Danielle Krysa-HuesnShades

Hosted by artist-curator, Danielle Krysa.

ART FOR YOUR EAR brings you stories from some of my favorite contemporary artists. When I studied Art History, the best part was, well, the gossip. I loved finding out why artists did certain things, what was going on in their personal lives, and behind-the-scenes details about other artists they knew and worked with. This podcast is exactly that ... inside-scoop stories from the artsiest people I know. You'll hear first-hand from these talented, successful, full-time artists (who also happen to be regular people with hilarious stories) BEFORE they’re in the Art History books."

Danielle Krysa, one would feel, is the next door girl who you know so well. Her episodes are light-hearted conversations with friends (but mind you they develop into real intense stuff too) who sometimes come on air more than once showing us their progress over a period of time. One would get to know all there is to know about the artists. The episodes are around one hour long and really good to listen to when you are developing time-consuming works. Sometimes she invites her son and husband too and it's wonderful to hear them together.

TJC has 100 episodes to their oeuvre.

Art and Cocktails (Rating 4.9/5)

Art&Cocktails-Ekaterina Popova-HuesnShades

An art podcast by Ekaterina Popova, artist and founder of Create! Magazine.

“Casual conversations about art, creative business and more" is how the podcast has been described and it's totally true. 

Art & Cocktails speaks not only about the artists' journey in the art world and their processes but also about the struggles, handling disappointments, the nitty-gritty of business involved in art, the tips and techniques of various aspects. It speaks about anything and everything related to art. Ekaterina is a strong believer in community-building and renders guidance and support through her podcast and her empowering work at her magazine, Create! She herself is an amazing artist. 

A&C recently completed two years and they have 100 episodes to their credit.

'Aside': I have a wish to meet all these gorgeous women, who herald such incredible shows, in person. Some day! And some day it would be!

Books and Audiobooks:

Aside from these podcasts, I had been reading and listening to a couple of books and audiobooks. I am following Reese Witherspoon's book club on Instagram, I always check out her recommendations and they suit me fine. So some of the books were from her monthly picks. Audiobooks are from Scribd (it involves a subscription fee). You could choose Audible too. We took Scribd for my daughter’s project and then I came across a collection of wonderful audiobooks and I got habituated. So the site now serves me more than her. 

Only the ones I liked the most, so far this year:

1. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert (Absolute favourite - every human must read it!)
2. The Far Field (debut) – Madhuri Vijay (Debut?! Seriously!! Awesome)
3. The Dutch House – Ann Pachett (Tom Hanks' narration and Ann's book and the "delicious" book cover!)
4. The Scent Keeper – Erica Bauermeister (I can still smell the fragrances! Magical)
5. The Shopkeeper of Tehran – Marjan Kamali (Old world charm!)
6. State of Wonder – Ann Pachett (Still in wonder! Amazon - I have to come to you!)
7. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke (Some incredible advice!)
8. The Unlikely Adventures of Shergill Sisters – Balli Kaur Jaswal (Wow! Three NRI sisters reuniting in India at Mother's funeral...what a journey!)
9. The Henna Artist – Alka Joshi (almost a decade after independence, people enjoying the newly acquired independence, the art of henna, Jaipur and sensuous much to talk about this!)
10. The Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert (Lack words!! Incredible research, stunning characters and a jaw-dropping tale of a wonderful woman in the 1800s!)
11. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine - Gail Honeyman (again an awesome debut of a not-so-ordinary woman. Waiting to see Reese as Eleanor!)
12. Story of your Life - Ted Chaing (Story of the movie "Arrival" Read it as soon as I finished watching the movie, literally. Such a meta-physical delight!)

I hope these lists help you to engage in a positive way during this lockdown.

Do leave your comments/ recommendations/ podcasts -books-audiobooks suggestion if any... All eyes and ears.

* Apple podcast rating
image courtesy from respected sites which I photoshopped along with the picture of the host.