A podcast about modern art doesn’t sound like a hit that can attract millions. Yet the Talk Art podcast has over 4 million downloads and is listened to in 140+ countries. In each episode, the two hosts interview a different artist about their work, life story, and views on culture. In 2021, they also published a book called Talk Art: Everything You Wanted to Know About Contemporary Art But Were Afraid to Ask.
Actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament started their podcast in 2018. The friends are passionate about art and can talk about it for ages. In the 2000s, Diament was the frontman of a successful electropop band, Temposhark. Too shy and introverted to perform on big stages, at the age of 30 he decided to promote other artists instead. Now he is the director of the Carl Freedman Gallery in Margate, UK. Russell Tovey, on the other hand, hasn’t dropped his artistic career. You might have seen him in Sherlock, Being Human, or Years and Years TV series. But Tovey also fell in love with art at a very young age. So much so that he spent his first acting paycheck on a painting, which started off his home art collection.
Many people avoid modern art because they think that they won’t get it, as it’s too complex or elitist. Tovey and Diament want to break this prejudice. They say that art is for everyone. You don’t have to learn the whole history of art to simply enjoy it. You also don’t have to understand “what the artist wanted to say with their work”. If you don’t like a piece of art, that’s okay too. After all, art is subjective. The hosts of the Talk Art podcast never seem like some boring know-it-alls. They sound like passionate kids who just want to chat and share with the whole world the things that got them emotional. Maybe this is what made the podcast so popular.
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