The Best Podcasts For Artists, Some Great Background Listening…
Many of you have probably fumbled around in vain for hours (I certainly have), searching for good stuff to listen to while you work. Whether it be while painting your latest masterpiece, updating your website or re-grouting that bathroom tile…
The artist life can be isolating and full of solitude – having something engaging to listen to, can help transport one into a groove and feel less alone. We thought we’d share some of our favorite podcasts with you and save you the fumble.
(Most can be searched and subscribed to, on iTunes…)
You Must Remember This - explores the secret and/or forgotten histories of 20th Century Hollywood. This is a truly fascinating series about the inner worlds of Hollywood icons of the past and present. The characters and stories range from famous and familiar, to the unknown and bizarre. Presented with just the right touch of tongue-in-cheek, gossip, sarcasm and wit. Created by writer Karina Longworth, it is full of intelligent connections and thoughtful research. (And that killer remix of the title song, can’t hurt!) - LINK
Serial - unfolds one true story, over the course of a whole season. (Start with the first episode or you’ll miss out!) Hosted by Sarah Koenig, who spent more than a year examining the crime and case of Adnan Syed. Koenig has said that Serial is “about the basics: love and death and justice and truth. All these big, big things.” From the creators of This American Life, one season to date, 2014. - LINK
The New York Public Library Podcast - An eclectic mix of favorite writers, artists, and thinkers in smart talks and provocative conversations. At first, the old school square and somewhat uptight host can be off-putting, but his intelligent threads and commentary prevail. Some of our favorite episodes have featured George Clinton, Neil Gaiman, Sonia Sotomayor, Matthew Weiner, Charles Blow, Ann Patchett and Elizabeth Gilbert. - LINK
Fugitive Waves - Lost recordings and shards of sound, along with new tales from remarkable people around the world, people with a mission, a purpose, a story to tell. Stories from the flip side of history – from Thomas Edison and Patti Smith, to river activists and Route 66. Radio with a soul, cool old sounds bites and unknown historical tidbits, produced by The Kitchen Sisters. - LINK
Criminal - A podcast about crime. Stories of people who’ve done wrong, been wronged, or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. From building an illegal Buddhist altar in Oakland, to the sad tale of an aeronautical engineer who sideswiped a parked car in Compton. Not so much the “if it bleeds, it leads,” kind of crime but something a little more complex. Created by Phoebe Judge, Eric Mennel and Lauren Spohrer. - LINK
Live Free - A show of casual interviews and talks with artists and creative types in general. There are a ton of episodes here, most we found interesting, a few not so much – mainly due to the personality of the artist. Maybe the F word is thrown about too much or the need to see tits – but overall this is a podcast worth listening to. Lots of interesting discussion about the life of an artist – things which affect and influence their work, bits of painting tips and methods, philosophies and politics of daily life. Produced by likable artist Max Maxwell, in an accessible and unpretentious manner. - LINK
The TED Radio Hour - A revamping and editing of the famous TED talks for radio listening. A journey through fascinating ideas: astonishing inventions, fresh approaches to old problems, new ways to think and create. The source of happiness, crowd-sourcing innovation, power shifts, or inexplicable connections. From NPR, hosted by Guy Raz. - LINK
Lore - A podcast of slightly creepy tales chosen from real life, all around 20 minutes long. The people, places, and things of our darkest nightmares all have real facts at their core. Each episode looks into a uniquely scary tale and uncovers the truth behind it. Produced and written by Aaron Mahnke, narrated well, in calming mystery. - LINK
The Memory Palace - is an ancient memory technique where you visualize a complex place in which you can physically store a set of memories. That place is often a building such as a house, and every room is home to a specific item you want to remember. This podcast builds on history – people and events, edited to offer more than you learned in school. Shortish episodes, often only 7 minutes each, full of interesting tidbits, little known facts and obscure correlations. Created by Nate DiMeo - LINK
My Favorite Murder – A funny take on actual true crime cases, by two no nonsense women based in Los Angeles. Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark talk murder, therapy, justice, fashion, personal life, history and sexual assault in an everyday, endearingly human way. Each episode the girls tell each other their favorite tales of murder… If you’re a true crime fan, this one’s for you! – LINK
Fresh Air - We hesitated about including this one, because it is so well-known, but it is known as the gold standard for interviews and an old standby of goodness. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators. Hosted by Terry Gross with intelligent questions and a usually empathetic approach, she is a woman who definitely does her homework and it shows. (Note: We felt Gross’s recent grilling and harping on photographer/author Sally Mann was way overboard, and any empathy was sorely lacking…) - LINK
Last, but not least – depending on your personal taste – there are many shows from NPR and elsewhere, worth a periodic listen or subscription: Death, Sex & Money - 99% Invisible - The Truth - Stuff You Should Know - Love & Radio - Invisibilia - Radiolab - Snap Judgement - Freakonomics - The Moth.
We hope to keep this list updated with new hidden gems – you can find it re-posted on our Tips & Tools page, under Resources. Please send any podcast suggestions you might have to us and we will check them out!