Through an established process of asking artists ‘Why do you make art?’ then using the response received to inform the use of fragrances, I have been making ‘perfume portraits’ of other artists for over 2 years, amassing 40 perfumes so far – and counting.
Naturally, the question that emerges as an audience becomes more familiar with my work is ‘Have you made a self portrait in this way?’ The answer, up until now, has been no.
However, upon devising a group exhibition (along with fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck) entitled Alternative Portraits, an opportunity emerged to subject myself to my own processes, thus achieving a perfume that captures my essence.
It’s also an opportunity to get firm with myself – directly externalising and ordering the processes that drive my creative output. It could result a cathartic and affirming statement that reinforces my creative integrity. Or it could result in a muddle of contradictions that throws up more questions than answers. Either way, it’s something of a challenge.
So, I presented to myself the question: ‘Why do I make art?’ Ultimately I concluded that it’s because I strive to find alternatives. Alternatives to pre-established conventions and alternative ways of experiencing, relating and responding to the world around us. To provide an alternative is to provide new means of communication that can potentially instigate social, moral and political change, provide agency, bolster and unify communities, and bring together otherwise fractious sets of people. An alternative can be important, necessary and powerful.
From my answer, the notion of the trailblazer emerged, and it’s dual meaning – as one who discovers something new and makes it accessible and one who prepares a trial through a forest – have informed the fragrant and aesthetic designs of my ‘perfume self portrait’.
My perfume’s visual designs are based on the Czech Hiking Markers System. It’s a system that’s universal in it’s method of communication and can be used in a literal sense to illustrate new directions. It’s also a system that’s adopted in the Ukraine, and as such provides a neat, if abstract, nod to a certain part of my heritage.
The fragrance itself takes cues from the outdoors – woody fragrances allude to the very notion of the trailblazer; from the physical act of forging new grounds to the emotional tenacity and presence of mind to persist with innovation for the greater good.
Floral tones are also present, describing a certain vulnerability within my creative processes: A ‘fine art perfumer’ is a somewhat untested and undeveloped space to occupy, and is something I am moulding myself without any real precedence. As such, there exists a delicacy and nuance that emerges when the steps I take to assert my creative integrity are more unsure and tentative.
I do feel my perfume as though my self portrait is well rounded. It describes the spirit of innovation and trailblazing, yet has the humility to understand the untested task in hand.
But don’t take my word for it, come and have a sniff for yourself at ‘Alternative Portraits’ – which opens at Access Space, Sheffield, with an Opening Evening on the 8th September, 5.30pm – 8pm.
The deadline for this open call has now closed.
An Open Call to submit work for an exhibition of Alternative Portraits.
Artists Michael Borkowsky and Sharon Mossbeck present Alternative Portraits, an open call exhibition of non-traditional portraiture to be run at Access Space, Sheffield, from 8th September – 4th October 2017.
We are looking for artists to submit work to us under the theme of Alternative Portraits. We are particularly interested in the use of new technologies, such as 3D printing and laser cutting, but this is not a requirement. We are looking for work which pushes the boundaries of traditional portraiture, or explores what portraiture can be. Please interpret the theme of the Alternative Portraits as you see fit.
The exhibition will be at Access Space, Sheffield from 8th September – 4th October. The exhibition opening hours will be Wednesday – Friday 11am – 6pm, and there will be a private view on 8th September from 5.30– 8pm. Everyone welcome.
The deadline for submissions will be Friday 4th August. Applicants will then be notified on Friday 11th August as to whether their application has been successful.
Guidelines for Submitting work
Please follow these guidelines for submitting work. We will only consider applications which follow these guidelines:
- Artists may only submit one piece of work. (if a work is made up of separate components – e.g a painting made up of 3 canvasses – then we will still deem it to be one piece of work)
- The piece of work submitted must measure no more than 1 meter across any given width
- Regretfully, Audio/Visual or performance works cannot be accommodated
- Please only submit work which is already complete
- If your work is framed, please ensure that it is string-backed
- If work has any unusual requirements (e.g. it is particularly heavy or needs hanging in a particular way) please tell of how you would like this to be done
- We cannot accept applications received after the deadline (4th August)
How to Submit Work
To submit work, please email up to 3 images of the work you want to show to firstname.lastname@example.org along with the following:
- Your name
- Your email address
- Your home town/ city
- Title of work
- Materials used
- Dimensions of the piece
- Price (if you wish to offer the work for sale)
- A statement of no more than 100 words (this may be included in the exhibition alongside your work)
- Date when the work was completed
Hand in Dates
Please note that the venue for handing your work to us is different to the exhibition venue.
If your submission is successful, you will have between 11th August and 2nd September to get your work to us. You may do this by doing one of the following:
- Posting your work to Exchange Place Studios, Exchange St, Sheffield S2 5SZ
- Delivering your work in person to reception at Exchange Place Studios, which is open weekdays from 11am – 4pm.
- We will be present in Exchange Place Studios from 11-4pm on Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd September if you’d rather hand your work to the organisers in person
When you deliver your work to us, please ensure that it is as specified in the original submission, complete and presented as you wish it to be exhibited and, if framed, ready to hang. We cannot be held responsible for work that gets lost or damaged in the post.
Please note that the venue for collecting your work from us is different to the exhibition venue.
After the exhibition you can collect your work in person from Exchange Place Studios on either the 6th or 7th October, between 11am and 4pm.
You may also make arrangements for us to post your work back to you. If you wish to do this, we will require the correct postage and packaging costs to be paid to us in advance, and you must allow the expected delivery to be between 7th October – 7th November 2017. You may wish to consider handing us a stamped addressed envelope when initially handing work to us to ensure a quicker return delivery.
Your work may be up for sale. Access Space don’t take any commission but as a charity ask that, should you wish to donate some of your proceeds from sales to them you may do so, but you’re under no obligation.
Myself and Sharon Mossbeck are preparing an Open Call to artists on the theme of Alternative Portraits.
Alternative Portraits will be an exhibition of non-traditional portraiture. It could be figurative or non-figurative. We are looking for work which pushes the boundaries of traditional portraiture, or explores what portraiture can be. We are particularly interested in the use of new technology, including 3D printing and laser cutting, although all formats will be given the same consideration.
Artists may submit one piece of work each. We will consider any 2D or 3D works. We regret that we cannot consider audio visual or performance works.
The call for work will be going out in the coming months, and the exhibition itself will be in Sheffield during Summer 2017. Keep an eye out for more information, or email email@example.com to be added to the mailing list.