During October 2017 I created 7 artists’ perfume portraits during my residency at Orchard Square, Sheffield. The process departed somewhat from what I have established in previous exhibitions; This time the artists themselves were actually present and directly engaged in the discourse surrounding their creative intentions, processes and behaviours.
This shift in my process intended to reveal the possibilities surrounding interpreting cognitive behaviours and patterns, and whether utilising such possibilities resulted in more coherent perfumery. I think the results are inconclusive as the number of perfumes created this way isn’t comprehensive enough, but I had fun all the same!
With many thanks to the artists who afforded their time for me to make their perfume portrait:
Claire Lee; Sharon Mossbeck; Brian Daines; Lyn Carrauthers; Miranda Trojanowska; Ryoko Akama; Joanine Carmelino.
Somewhere within the administrative and organisational standpoints of conceiving and curating The Court of Love, I managed to create my own work, Zodiac Man:
Zodiac Man is a speculative range of fragrances that each represent signs of the zodiac. It references and exposes the historical connections fragrance has with medicine. Indeed, in a bid to re-establish such connections, each bottle is priced at £8.40 – the current price of an NHS prescription.
A narrative exists within this piece, that suggests the body’s equilibrium – and therefore personal health and wellbeing – can be retained by acquainting yourself with the scent your lover’s star sign. If you don’t have a lover, the scent of Ophiuchus – an historically recognised 13th Star Sign – acts as a facsimile.
However, prolonged acquaintance with the piece may reveal several falsehoods. Chief among them is the fact that Ophiuchus is actually a placebo – it doesn’t contain any of the fragrance oils stated and is in fact just a bottle of scentless sweet almond oil. This may assume that the components of love cannot be meaningfully replicated, and that such a placebo must be prescribed for the psychological benefit of those without love in their lives in order to assume health and wellbeing.
Of course, such a standpoint will differ depending on one’s initial preconception of love and the notion of astrology. After all, the value of each fragrance is not decided by its components, but by the significance we place on it. And in the context of this exhibition, Zodiac Man may reveal an audience’s perception of love, how the implications of love apply to experiences, how relationships are connected to health and how the craft of perfumery has capacity for narrative.
And so, the status of Christmas has officially shifted from being ‘a while away yet’ to ‘upon us’ with the usual blistering speed. As such, it’s time for people to participate in the hellish endeavour of present buying.
Among the hubbub, why not consider purchasing some of my festive offerings? For I am selling the scent of Christmas from Sheffield at a reasonable price!
For £3, (plus p&p) you can get your hands on a Christmas Tincture – an oil based scent full of the joys of Yuletide! Notes include cinnamon, clove, frankincense and orange, all contained within a charmingly decorated bottle:
For something with a little more bite, why not plump for my Christmas room fragrance? For £25 (plus p&p) you can experience 100ml worth of festive delights in a striking gold and white bottle. Notes once again include cinnamon, clove, frankincense and orange, but this time you can spray it around the home – creating magical Christmas scents with every spray! –
If you’re interested in either of these products, then send me a message and I’ll see what I can do! (although it’s UK only, I’m afraid) …Thank you! 🙂
Late March – the 25th to be exact – provided me with my first opportunity to place ‘Perfume as Practice’ within a public realm. This was more beneficial than I had initially anticipated: As I still felt as though I am navigating my way through perfumery in order to hit on something relevant to fine art practice, I expected my project to not quite be ready for public contemplation. In fact the opposite was true – being able to talk to people about my project actually enabled a clearer direction to emerge.
It is decided that my perfume will act as portraiture. A portraiture of artists, in fact. You see, I am interested in the parallels that exist between artists using their art as a mask – a version of their truth that they are willing to transmit into the public domain – and how perfume can be used as a mask. However, instead of embracing these parallels I wish to disrupt them. I will use perfume as a means of unmasking the artist, creating a raw and sincere portrait that removes any embellishment an artist places upon themselves. The aim is to at once re-imagine and question the possibilities of scent and perfumery – allowing them the capacity for portraiture in a way what defies their original functionality – whilst simultaneously reflecting on how artists construct their identity, and how forms of portraiture can eek out true identity.
So how will I go about doing this? Why, by asking artists a simple question – ‘What defines you as an artist?’ The answers I receive from this question will contain clues which I will decipher, then render – in a somewhat alchemic manner – into a portrait made from perfume: A direct assessment of the artists’ identity contained within a bottle of essential oils and aroma compounds. These perfumes will then go on to be displayed within an exhibition at Bank Street Arts in February next year. If you are an artist and you wish to be involved, simply answer the question ‘What defines you as an artist?’ and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks 🙂