We are known for a lot of things in Scotland, like our many inventive uses of haggis and our unique methods of welcoming strangers.

One thing that we are becoming more increasingly known for is our art, which can be found in the most unlikeliest of places; from the gargantuan Billy Connolly murals at Candleriggs to the various artistic remnants of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at the Clydeside. 

Talk Art is a podcast featuring actor Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament, and this week it is turning it’s sights to art in Scotland in partnership with Bombay Sapphire. 

Inspired by the gin brand’s mission to Stir Creativity, the podcast mini-series dives deep into the Scottish creative scene. 

Glasgow Times:

Russell and Rob speak with leading figures from Scotland’s creativity scene, such as the Head of Exhibitions for Jupiter Artland, Claire Feeley and the head of Edinburgh Art Festival, Sorcha Carey.

“We met at the Scottish National Gallery about 10 years ago” says Russell. 

“We were collecting Tracey Emin’s work, and we were both the youngest collectors. 

“She sat us together and said, ‘you both must have something in common’. 

“It turned out that I had bought the piece that Rob had put on hold. Everyone around us moved away and we geeked off Tracey Emin monoprints for an hour and a half, and that was it.”

The Talk Art podcast began as a way to talk about art that made it accessible and easy for anyone to listen to, and actually was encouraged initially by Rob and Russell’s mums. 

“Russell and I were already doing this, geeking out on art, but now we turn on a microphone and document it” said Rob. 

Glasgow Times:

“We make art for everyone” says Russell. “It’s non elitist, non-academic; we don’t want to mystify it or for people to feel angry about it. They say never consider religion or politics when you’re drunk – they should add contemporary art. It’s so divisive. We aren’t selling it, we’re just making it gossipy and fun and exciting to enjoy art on that level.” 

The mini-series with Bombay Sapphire focuses directly on Scottish art, which for both Russell and Rob, is becoming increasingly more ground-breaking. 

“Every year we went to the Edinburgh Fringe but there is also an art festival – the Edinburgh Art Festival, that can get overshadowed” said Russell. “There is an art journey to be had beside that. Rob always talks about Jupiter Artland, and when the podcast came up, Rob said we had to do it. I went up now and all I do is talk about that place.”

Glasgow Times:

But the podcast stresses that incredible art is not reserved only for the capital. 

“Glasgow is really important for art too”, says Rob. “I’ve been working in the professional art world for decades, and I worked closely with Michael Fullerton. Russell will travel too, but there are some really cutting edge galleries in Glasgow, like Transmission and the GoMa.”

“Scotland has a close-knit art scene, and I think that some of the best artists come out of Scotland”, says Rob.

“There are so many artists and it has a really unique perspective. There is a down to earth quality in Scotland, and it’s the friendly quality that people just love. You can walk into any gallery and start talking with someone. That’s hard to get elsewhere”. 

“I believe a lot of the art is unique to their situation” Russell adds. “Scotland just has that enthusiasm”.
And indeed, Scotland does seem to be steeped in fantastic art.

Glasgow Times: Russell and Robert in talks with Adam Benmakhlouf – Artist, Educator and Art Editor of The SkinnyRussell and Robert in talks with Adam Benmakhlouf – Artist, Educator and Art Editor of The Skinny

I tell Russell and Rob of my experience meeting Billy Connolly at the exhibition of his line drawings in Castle House Art gallery, when my friend had saved up her first paycheck to buy one of his pieces. Connolly himself has gone from stomping around Candleriggs to being immortalised on the side of buildings in mile-high paintings, and selling what he calls ‘silly wee pictures’.

“Isn’t that amazing” says Russell. “Art has that magical thing, it’s a connection to other people who tell their story.”

The Talk Art – Edinburgh Art Festival mini-series with Bombay Sapphire is available on the Talk Art feed now. Click here