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The Cultured Podcast

Author: Michelle Khouri

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Discover artists and art forms you never knew existed in this biweekly podcast hosted by arts and culture-obsessed Michelle Khouri. Every other week, Michelle sits down with wildly imaginative creators, performers, and makers from around the world to have relaxed conversations that leave you wide-eyed and inspired. Cultured is produced by Michelle’s own podcast production company, FRQNCY Media.

79 Episodes
In its final episode, Michelle Khouri sits down with the women behind the scenes, the “OGs of the OG” of FRQNCY Media’s own The Cultured Podcast. Michelle reminisces with her team-turned-family about what Cultured has meant to them on their journeys in podcasting, with FRQNCY and with each other. Listen to this episode to hear the story of how Cultured changed Enna Garkusha’s, the show’s producer, whole life, including meeting her future husband, the kismet of how Becca Godwin came into her role as Associate Producer, and how the first emails between Jessica Olivier, FRQNCY’s lead content strategist, and Michelle started it all.
An illustrator, educator and overall joyful person, Kate Bingaman-Burt approaches her artistic outlets with intention and commitment to community. Kate’s first project of drawing her own credit card statements everyday and coming up as an artist during the graphic design boom of the mid 2000s inspired her signature style, or her “confident wonk,” as she coins it. Her expressions of consumerism and her hand-drawn technique, a way to put the humanity back into art, continues to be the essence of her work. Listen to this episode to hear Kate’s philosophy on “good nervous,” teaching through the pandemic and being an active participant in your life.
A true hyper-creative who knows no bounds, Drew Tetz is a trained graphic designer, a one-time professional Yoyoer, and now a widely celebrated vinyl record animator. Using his spin on the early motion picture tool, the phenakistoscope, Drew has even animated records for some of his musical heroes, like the band Bright Eyes. Listen to this episode to hear Drew “nerd out” and “shout out” to the creators and innovations throughout history that have inspired his work. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
We're rewinding back to April 2018 to revisit our episode with FRKO, who has since flexed on some major collaborations, like with Reebok and Redbull, and continues working with some of the biggest names in hip hop on album artwork. FRKO's sense of humor and knack for capturing the essence of life on the streets has landed him on the radars of some of the biggest names in hip-hop. In fact, FRKO has drawn multiple covers for Action Bronson, including the artwork for Mr. Wonderful, and the artwork for Gucci Mane's "All My Children." FRKO joins Michelle on The Cultured Podcast to discuss his earliest influences and how the streets of Atlanta shapes his art.
We're rewinding back to October 2018 to revisit our episode with Collins Provost, who has since been expanding her artistry — spray painting and working on murals with her husband, and designing shirts for Thrive Unltd., which is meant to empower indigenous communities. Lakhota artist Collins Provost finds healing and self expression through her intricate and vibrant beadwork. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to uncover Collins’ deep-rooted journey as an artisan and how her Native American heritage both inspired and challenged her individual path.
We're rewinding back to March 2018 to revisit our episode with Raymond Carr, who has since worked on a Disney+ show called Earth to Ned, made his own Afrofuturistic sci-fi adventure film called Joyriders, and worked on Space Jam 2. It’s hard to imagine anything more surreal than the stories Jim Henson Company-trained puppeteer Raymond Carr brings to this episode of The Cultured Podcast. Raised by Christian clowns, Raymond spent his childhood touring the country in a pink 18-foot trailer with his family. Raymond shares how his nontraditional upbringing inspired his career in puppetry, which has since led him to perform everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Iceland.
We're rewinding back to May 2018 to revisit our episode with Danielle Deadwyler, who has since been up to quite a lot, including landing a recurring role in HBO's Watchmen and writing, directing, and producing her own experimental short film, CHOR(E)S. Danielle is a multimedia artist who uses her body as her primary medium, including through on-screen and on-stage acting, dance and performance art. In her conversation with Michelle, Danielle discusses her method, process, and motivations. Danielle and Michelle discuss how the goal of Danielle's art—whether it be in a traditional acting role, an abstract performance, or life itself—is to explore the chaos of life and how we can flow freely within it.
From the moment Michelle Norris began picking her own outfits as a child, she knew she had an affinity for bold self-expression. Today, Michelle is celebrated in the photography world for her striking shapes, playful perspective and rich palettes. And when it comes to color play, no hue is off limits. Once told by an art teacher that she did not understand color, Michelle’s own personal color theory color has become the language her art speaks fluently. Listen to this episode to hear why Michelle advocates for ditching the little black dress and instead rocking a celebration of you. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
Daniel Popper is larger than life in the art world. Known for his large-scale public art installations, Daniel creates fantastical structures designed to invite spectators to interact directly with them. From music festival audiences having psychedelic experiences with his installations, to students perched under his piece at the Nelson Mandela School of Science and Technology, Daniel’s work has intrigued and inspired crowds worldwide. Listen to this episode to hear what Daniel claims is his most psychedelic experience in life so far. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
After studying neuroscience at Columbia and spending years researching in an Alzheimer’s lab, Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya felt compelled to tell the stories of science in a creative and impactful way. A multidisciplinary artist who describes her pieces as an explosion or color and joy, Amanda and her work are now globally celebrated for being creative connective tissue between the communities of science and art. And while her work is honored in museums, galleries, and prestigious publications, Amanda is using this unique time in history to focus on public art and awakening the next generation of badass women scientists. Listen to this episode to hear Amanda explain the parallels between women in STEM and dark matter. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
Tammy Kanat plays with color and imagination as she weaves magical portals through textile. Spontaneous by nature, this jewelry designer turned textile artist is a testament to following the evolution of your dreams. By embracing her unique weaving style and celebrating the imperfection of loose threads, Tammy’s work has hung in prestigious galleries, such as the National Gallery of Victoria. Listen to this episode to hear why Tammy gives the greenlight to cuddling her pieces. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
After a difficult childhood, Hillary Klug knew her ambition would be the key to building a new life for herself. When faced with the decision of pursuing buck dancing, fiddling, or singing, she chose to take on all three. Simultaneously. With the guidance of her beloved mentor and the support of her massive YouTube following, Hillary’s multi-faceted performance style has skyrocketed from its Tennessee roots to become a global sensation. And as the Black Lives Matter movement sends ripples throughout 2020, Hillary has committed to uncovering and sharing the hushed African history of the Appalachian art forms she practices with a passion. Listen to this episode to hear how Hillary refuses to be fearful of mistakes, both in her art and in difficult conversations about race. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
In Lino Lago’s "fake abstract" paintings, classical portraiture peeks out from under blankets of modern hues, showcasing what happens when the traditional crashes into contemporary. In this episode of The Cultured Podcast, Lino calls Michelle from Spain to share the methodology behind his work. With translation help from his son, Nojus, a conversation spanning languages, eras, and epochs takes place, unpacking the power of both tradition and revolution. Listen to this episode to witness the theme of tension move from art on canvas to the perspectives offered within this very conversation. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
Born three years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Svitlana Zavialova ("Wu Woman") grew up knowing what it was like to not have water and how to do homework by candlelight. In these dark formative years, Svitlana decided she had two choices: exit the earthly plane or take full blown action toward her dreams, dreams that turned reality when she became a world champion Wushu artist. Now, Svitlana performs martial movement, an art designed for combat, to express the multiplicity of human emotion. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to hear how Svitlana founded a new method of martial art, how that art fosters a growing community, and why that community sees Svitlana as more than an artist, but a modern day philosopher. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
While Jean-Pierre Roy has been hunkered down in his Brooklyn studio creating hyper realistic world-altering paintings for years, this practice feels different during the time of COVID-19. Without access to museums, galleries, or even the NYC subway, Jean-Pierre paints the connective tissue in his paintings from the world before to the unprecedented time today. As an artist who toys with the concept of uncertainty, Jean-Pierre’s work is more poignant than ever. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to hear how watching the Empire Strikes Back on VHS influenced Jean-Pierre’s world-building fantasies. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
In 2018, Elisa Valenti was a Pharmacy Director treating patients' skin with ointments and elixirs. Today, Elisa is a contemporary figurative artist who considers her work to be the medicine she provides to healing bodies. Exploding in the art scene, her fresh perspective is reshaping the way we perceive and celebrate women’s forms. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to hear how Elisa found her artistic muse in an old photo she used to hate. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
At 39 years old, Lisa Congdon embarked on an art career that would quickly transform her into a pillar within the art community. And while her art began as a way to navigate a dark period in her life, today, her vibrant and heart-centered illustrations are celebrated worldwide because of their ability to inspire and bring people together. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to hear why Lisa ultimately thanks her brother for her pivot from a career in education to a career as a full-time artist. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
In lieu of a new episode this week, we are joining @cult45podcast in their call for a #podcastblackout. We stand AGAINST racism, legalized slavery, white supremacy, and police brutality. We stand against the violent, unapologetic, unpunished murder of black lives. We stand with our black family. #blacklivesmatter A message from Cultured host Michelle Khouri: Fuck legalized slavery. Fuck systemic racism. Fuck patriarchal capitalism. Fuck white supremacy. USE YOUR SUPERPOWERS, NON-BLACK FOLK. WE AREN'T ALL MEANT FOR THE FRONT LINES. SOME OF US ARE MEANT TO CHANGE SYSTEMS FROM THE INSIDE. SOME OF US ARE MEANT TO REDISTRIBUTE WEALTH. SOME OF US ARE MEANT TO CHANGE LEGISLATION. SOME OF US ARE MEANT TO CAUSE RIPPLES WITHIN RACIST COMMUNITIES. USE YOUR POWER. USE YOUR PRIVILEGE. HOWEVER YOU CAN. Our black and brown family has had to bear this burden for far too long. It's time for us to step up. Change won't happen overnight but, if you haven't started working on this already, start NOW. To my black family: I love you. You're so needed in this world. Don't let the oppressors fool you - they oppress you because you are innately POWERFUL. Your sense of self, connectedness, and unwavering soul threaten those who feel meek and small. Never forget that their oppression is a projection of their own feelings of unworthiness and powerlessness.
For Okuda San Miguel, his art is his church. And a church is just another canvas--literally. Okuda uses geometric shapes and vibrant colors to bring new life to forgotten buildings and overlooked walls all across the world, often splashing in references to classical art or figures from his own life. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to hear what famous painting Okuda regularly visits and how he continues to draw inspiration from this piece in his work. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
Tracie Cheng’s paintings blend abstract with figurative, structure with freedom. Her sweeping line work means something different to every viewer, taking on the role of architectural Rorschach blotches. For Tracie, those lines offer a release from the constraints of perfectionism and into the free flow of pure expression. Listen to this episode of The Cultured Podcast to learn about Tracie’s process and hear how this former architect ultimately found purpose and peace in painting. Visit for full transcripts of this episode and links to things mentioned.
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