In 2016 I established a firm base in Sheffield from which to exhibit and develop my creative practice. A success, all things considered. However, this year I intend to widen my audience and develop my practice away from Sheffield with the intent on establishing myself as a UK artist. You see, while being relatively known locally is nice and indeed important as it provides a solid foundation from which to build, by ultimate aim is to become an established UK based artist – with a UK wide audience.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year I had no experience in exhibiting my perfume portraits. However, over the course of 2016 Perfume as Practice found its way into 3 solo exhibitions, a few talks, a few group exhibitions and even a few commissions. The sheer presence of the project enabled me to initiate relationships with other arts institutions and as such, my aim of housing 2 solo Perfume as Practice exhibitions a year, under the guise of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections will almost certainly be achievable this year with an expected show at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, in September.
Inadvertently, I established myself as something of a facilitator of artistic activities in 2016, as evidenced by UNITY – a group exhibition devised and curated by myself and Sharon Mossback, and FUSE – a group exhibition at The Holt, Sheffield. This is something that I see myself building on this year, especially with the imminent arrival of The Court of Love and corresponding poetry open call.
Speculative Studio Spaces – a.k.a that other thing I do that isn’t perfume – had some presence in 2016, with a solo show at BasementArtsProject, Leeds. This project seems a little underdeveloped in comparison to Perfume as Practice and as such, I aim to create a firm body of work which will take the guise of a small stage play: If I can get the play written and performed at some point this year than I’ll be happy.
And what of that old chestnut Pixel Poetry? This project saw resurgence in the latter half of last year. With a few more poems based on video games created and performed. I’m pretty happy to have this one continue to bubble under the surface. It’s sort of established itself as a hobby more than anything – a relaxed alternative to the pressures of my other projects, which are bloody hard work at times.
So this year I want to build on the successes of last year, develop more coherent perfumes, create a stage play and have fun with a little poetry, all the while establishing relationships with arts organisations outside Sheffield. Better get on with it then!
The tail end of 2015 provides two things; A platform for reflecting on the year and time to prepare for the year ahead.
Indeed, 2016 is already set to be my busiest; with a fair few very exciting and diverse exhibitions and events already lined up. And the next 6 weeks offers me time to affirm these opportunities, as well as initiate more.
Not to dismiss 2015 straight away of course, for it has been a ruddy good year! My two primary avenues of enquiry – Speculate Studio Spaces and Perfume as Practice – have each been made public in the guise of exhibitions, workshops, talks and residencies. They both seem well received with emphasis of how they both demand a certain level of engagement to be fully understood. What has been revealed is actually how similar the projects are; both assume the guise of something relatively innocuous and loaded with preconceptions. But scratching away at the surface will reveal something more: A perfume shop becomes a room of portraits and how a studio space can be exposed as the deconstructing of creative processes. This is something to consider when placing these projects within new spaces and contexts over the next 12 months.
Indeed, I won’t have to wait long before I can display these projects in a public realm, with Yorkshire Artspace’s Open Studio event happening this weekend. This will proved a perfect opportunity to chat about my project, externalise a few thoughts and see how audiences engage with my work. It’s also a great way for people to have a nose around artists studios, see what they get up to and even find a Christmas bargain, so do try and pop along if you can! It’s on at Exchange Place Studios from 11-4 this Saturday and Sunday (21st and 22nd)
And that’s not all! Access Space are holding their fun and diverse 20×20 exhibition until the 18th December. I have a piece of work in there, along with the work of over 40 other artists. It’s well worth checking out. You can find more information here. My work, named ‘Scent Wheel’, sets to design a fragrance wheel using string and a rather large helping of essential oils. You’ll probably smell it before you see it!
Lots to think about, both for this year and next!