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‘The Boston Art Podcast’ sets out to document underrepresented local creators

Brian Huntress and Theodora Earthwurms began "The Boston Art Podcast" in January.
Brian Huntress and Theodora Earthwurms began "The Boston Art Podcast" in January.Eddie Vargas

When planning episodes for “The Boston Art Podcast,” the co-hosts, multimedia artists Brian Huntress and Theodora Earthwurms, defer to a simple concept.

“The way we talk about it is if you’re at a show and you go outside and this person is smoking a cigarette in the parking lot and you talk to them for an hour,” Earthwurms, 23, said in an interview. “People always talk about three o’clock in the morning art conversations. That’s what we’re trying to capture.”

The pair launched the podcast in January, featuring interviews with local creators and discussions on artistic processes and philosophy. They join a variety of podcasts covering the Boston art scene — from “The Lonely Palette,” hosted by Tamar Avishai, the Museum of Fine Arts’s first podcaster-in-residence, to “Hoodgrown Aesthetic,” covering local artists of color, to “Last Seen,” a joint effort between the Globe and WBUR to explore the famed Gardner Museum heist.

“The Boston Art Podcast,” by comparison, is of the scrappy, DIY ilk, focusing on the preservation of unknown, emerging, and underground artists. The episodes, which range in length from under an hour to over two hours, are posted every Friday on YouTube and Spotify. The podcast is completely unedited and recorded with phones instead of professional microphones. “I think it adds a different level of rawness,” Earthwurms said.

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The episodes are all structured as uninhibited, free-flowing conversations — either between the hosts and their guest, or between the hosts themselves — in all their awkward glory. But the stripped-down style has a purpose.

“There are a lot of artists that might not be here in the future, or that might not be doing what they’re doing right now, and they may not believe what they believe right now,” said Huntress, 25. “If we can ... pinpoint and record this one moment, that’s huge to me. I think that’s a beautiful thing.”

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Recent guests include artist, designer, and roboticist Joe Taveras and painter, illustrator, and tattoo artist Lily Fay. At first, the guests were those in the hosts’ networks, but now, “we’re just kind of reaching out to everybody we can,” Earthwurms said.

A painting by artist, designer, and roboticist Joe Taveras, who was a guest on "The Boston Art Podcast."
A painting by artist, designer, and roboticist Joe Taveras, who was a guest on "The Boston Art Podcast." Joe Taveras
A tattoo by artist Lily Fay, who was a guest on "The Boston Art Podcast."
A tattoo by artist Lily Fay, who was a guest on "The Boston Art Podcast." Lily Fay

“The times that we romanticize, like New York in the ’60s … really are just people that have really great ideas being in the same space and sharing art without worrying about profits,” said Earthwurms, who helped found art collaboratives at Quincy College and in their hometown of Plymouth. “The podcast is the way that I found that works the best for a non-physical space.”

In episodes, the hosts chew on topics like the intersection of portraiture and identity or review exhibits, like the “The Visitors” by Ragnar Kjartansson, on display at the Institute of Contemporary Art.

“I think that’s really the heart of someone’s art making process, is their story and the reasons why they’re doing it, not necessarily the product that they’re creating,” said Earthwurms, who worked as a membership sales representative at the MFA for two years until mid-2020.

Earthwurms and Huntress, who both live in Brighton, became friends over quarantine through developing “The Letter Project,” where they made collaborative drawings with each other through the mail. The podcast, Huntress said, came naturally after that.

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At times on the podcast, the hosts are “radically vulnerable,” Huntress said, talking about their mental health and other personal topics.

“We’re showing ourselves as we actually are, our authentic selves in this moment. Just like we want to show Boston’s art as its authentic self as it is right now,” Huntress said. “We want to break through the artist statement and the PR press package and get to who these artists and these creators really are. So we do that [with] ourselves first.”

A chief goal of the podcast, Earthwurms said, is community-building, which includes establishing relationships with, lifting up, and documenting artists who don’t have the resources or infrastructure to dedicate themselves to their art full-time.

“People that probably aren’t going to wind up making it the focus of their life because they systemically can’t because of income, their backgrounds, whatever different hoops they have to jump through,” Earthwurms said, “I really want to shine a light on those people.”

Their audience is small — each episode garners about 20 to 50 listeners, according to Huntress — but a massive reach isn’t the hosts’ goal.

“If we’ve interviewed an artist, or talked about someone on the podcast ... and something good came of it from their life and they got to tell their story or be seen and actually tend to be taken seriously as an artist, just that alone is a victory to me,” Huntress said.


Dana Gerber can be reached at dana.gerber@globe.com