Listen up again! This month we’re talking to John L. Walters, Editor of Eye magazine.
A year or so ago, we asked our artists to tell us about their favourite podcasts in a series of articles, which proved quite popular. So, this year we’ve expanded our remit to ask friends in the wider creative world to do the same thing. This month we’re talking to John L. Walters, Editor of Eye magazine.
Eye is a magazine that covers the world of graphic design and visual culture. It was first published in 1990 and John has been at the helm since 1999, though he had already enjoyed quite a career before then. He was a founding member of electronic band Landscape (best known for the hit ‘Einstein a Go-Go’) and then went into music production, working with artists such as Swans Way and jazz genius Mike Gibbs. John and art director Simon Esterson have been Eye’s owners since it became independent in 2008. John’s written for many publications besides Eye, and we haven’t even mentioned his books, talks or awards because we need to leave space for John to tell us about his favourite podcasts:
Making a podcast about a visual subject is quite a challenge. Jennifer Higgie’s podcast Bow Down, is about ‘significant women artists who deserve our attention’, and it’s a perfect integration of form and content: a 20-minute conversation in which Higgie invites a guest to talk about a woman artist. Subjects have included Agnes Martin, Claude Cahun and Leonora Carrington. Higgie’s voice is warm and inviting, prompting each guest to expand upon the subject, and leaving the listener feeling better informed. For another good example of ‘audio on visual’ try Antonia Quirke’s articulate and poetic summaries of current and classic cinema on Radio 4’s The Film Programme.
The Big Steal
I was completely hooked by Gavin Esler’s nine-part The Big Steal, a dramatic piece of investigative journalism about ‘Russia’s journey from Communism to kleptocracy’, and its implications for democracy worldwide.
If this interests you, I recommend the weekly Gaslit Nation by Andrea Chalupa and Sarah Kendzior, though it’s a harder listen (content-wise as well as acoustically) and a bigger commitment. The presenters’ campaigning anger about everything from Trump to Ukraine and from Brexit to Belarus (all connected) approaches boiling point, but the podcast has sharp, meticulous journalism at its heart.
I listen to many design/illustration podcasts, and several have been kind enough to invite me on as a guest, but my regular design-related fixes are about magazines. I’ve been impressed by how much Jeremy Leslie’s magCulture podcast has evolved in recent months, and I enjoy Steve Watson’s Stack podcast (not to be confused with Monocle radio’s The Stack, also worth hearing), which dispense information and opinions about the independent magazine scene. Full disclosure: both have given generous coverage to Eye magazine over the years and, as an indie mag, we appreciate every sliver of attention that comes our way.