My Interview with Tamar Avishai
I first heard about The Lonely Palette at a BBQ for Somerville Open Studios. People are constantly recommending artists for me to interview (which I love) and Tamar’s podcast sounded intriguing. “A podcast that returns art history to the masses.” What I expected to find was a well-produced art history lecture. And while there is some of that, her episodes are beyond purely stylized non-fiction. They’re intimate and reflective, and give the listener a sense of what she or he could feel in her/his heart.
That experience, sitting in front of a painting and feeling, is not something I’ve had room for in my life in a bit. With two small children and three side jobs, my brain has been rewired for practicality and efficiency. Two things I often feel are at odds with living a creative life. Listening to Tamar’s episode on Rothko (ep. 24) reminded me of that younger artist I once was and gave me hope I could find her again.
Also, Tamar is just a lovely person. At the time I recorded this interview she was 38 weeks pregnant. She reminded me of that time when my own pregnancies were coming to an end, where you’re aware your life is about to profoundly change and all you can do is wait for something to happen. And each day when nothing happens, it’s harder to stave off the impatience. My son was 11 days past his due date and in my case that impatience swam dived into brooding melancholia. Plainly put, I was a grump. But Tamar was not. She was open and funny and delightful to sit with for an hour. And listening to her discuss her podcast made me realize that each episode could itself be an artistic expression, rather than a well-edited bit of conversation. It’s something I’ve taken to heart as I am mixing the first episode of Republic of Camberville (Salsaholico! Out August 19th!), that I want my fiction podcast to be savored like The Lonely Palette is. And to do that, I need more of that young artist Tamar reminded me was still there.