playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | investigating creative processes

Last Week: From Liverpool to London

If a week is a long time in politics, then how long is it for an artist? Well, to answer that awkward and clumsy self-imposed question, allow me to take you through my last 7 days.

It has been a week where I feel a very tangible sense of progression as I navigate my own unique way through the art spanning the industries of fine art and perfumery – all the while keeping my crowdfunding campaign ticking over. The 14th of May saw me complete a piece of work for LightNight at Tate Liverpool, to be exhibited the very next day for 4 hours. There is something quite joyous and immediate about such a swift exhibition – which took the form of a treasure hunt – I rather enjoyed the urgency of it all. There is a sense of intensity; of something temporarily grasping onto a space for dear life, only to disappear in an instant. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, the piece I exhibited formed an extension of ‘Perfume as Practice’ – the residency I am currently running at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, which looks at how perfumery can be used as portraiture. I asked fellow artist David Andrews what defines him as an artist. His response was analysed, investigated and interpreted until a perfume was concocted, revealing the true essence of who he is:

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LightNight was brilliant. A great success, and good fun. A weekend of reflection ensued, which also involved a mammoth promotional surge with regards my crowdfunding – it’s going well, I just need £200 now – but it has been a massive effort. Its very hard to forget about it, and it’s always tempting to see if any more money has come in. That said, it’s very rewarding and a great gauge when considering how well received your project is. I’d do it again without doubt.

On Tuesday, I went to London accompanied by fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck. I have wanted to visit Barbican Centre’s latest offering – Magnificent Obsessions – since it’s opening in February. It didn’t disappoint. Indeed, it offered intrigue and inspiration for an upcoming collaboration with Mossbeck, which is based on a re-imagination of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Magnificent Obsessions offered an innovative way of thinking about artists and the perceived identity of artists. It shifts the dynamic that of the obsessive – an individual whose creative practice extends beyond the exhibition space. Food for thought when creating my Speculative Studio Spaces.

From Barbican Centre, we trot off to Illuminum Fragrances. I set up a meeting with them, as we have like-minded ideas about scent, perfume and what perfume can be. How they present their fragrances is beautiful – scent becomes almost visual, and takes centre stage. What is actually visual becomes minimum – an appendage to the scent, complimenting it and enhancing the experience of it. In terms of a display, it provided me with a great deal of inspiration regarding how my exhibition at Bank Street Arts could look. More than that though, I really loved just being there, in the room. There was a strange sense of familiarity about it. Compounded no doubt by how friendly and approachable everyone there is. I was even gifted an awesome bottle of perfume. How great is that?!

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I would love to instigate some kind of collaboration with Illuminum, and will spend the weekend having a think about what we could create together.

And so I find myself here, within the realms of contemplation, as I consider exactly what’s next. I know June will be a bloody busy month; with my crowdfunding coming to an end, two exhibitions – including one I am organising myself – and preparation for a third exhibition at the beginning of July. It’s gonna be a big ‘un! Bring it on, I say!

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