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Posts tagged “creativity

Perfume Portrait #59 – Joe Millie Norman

Joe Mille Norman 50ml EDT 20171103_202828

Head – Tangerine, Basil

Heart – Ginger, Geranium

Body – Ylang Ylang, Myrrh

Description – Addressing the differing challenges creative compulsion and endeavour brings, this fragrance emerges light then reveals a rich sense of complexity.

This perfume was housed at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, from 3rd – 18th November.

Perfume Portrait #45 – Emilia Telese

Emilia Telese 50ml EDT20171103_202758

Head – Elemi, Ravensara, Mandarin

Heart – Pine Needle, Ginger

Body – Rosewood, frankincense

Description – An all-encompassing, complex fragrance that references all aspects of creative endeavour. For those that live and breathe creativity.

This fragrance was housed at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, from 3rd – 18th November 2017.

Perfume Portrait #5 – Colette Lilley

Colette Lilley 50ml EDTP1020077


If the existential questions of life and existence are the illness, perhaps this fragrance is the cure! The Colette Lilley considers the medicinal properties of art and prescribes a healthy dose of self realisation and assessment. Just what the doctor ordered!


Reading like a medicine bottle, this fragrance contains herbal and medicinal oils but with a floral punch: The initial menthol and minty notes give way to lavenders and Ylang Ylang. Healing and relaxing, this fragrance offers clarity, allowing you to cope with any situation and discover who you are.


This fragrance was created by interpreting and investigating a response to the question ‘Why do you make art?’ If you are an artist (in the broadest sense of the word) I would love to her your response to the question too, as it will enable me to create a perfume portrait that captures the essence of your creative persona. These perfumes will be on display at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, early next year. 


Creative Practice in Light of Recent Events

Over recent weeks I have been concious – as I’m sure we all have – over the idea that the UK could initiate air strikes against Isis in Syria. Last night it was announced that the Government’s plan to initiate air-strikes was to go ahead and was put into action this morning.

Waking up to news you have fundamental problems with, yet is linked to your own country, feels difficult and fuels anxiety and uncertainty; though of course this pales in comparison to the thoughts of Syrian civilians.

UK Parliament held a yes/no vote on whether the bombing should be initiated. This already posed a problem as surely this conflict demands far more consideration than a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. Indeed, there are those who take my personal stance that military action by the UK in Syria against Isis could be effective, provided that it is a supporting role on the ground working with Syria to carefully and meticulously eradicate the threat of terror from the country and beyond. However, the idea of air-strikes feels – at best – heavy handed and at worst could lead to the unnecessary killing of civilians, further fuelling terrorist propaganda.

It’s been difficult to disengage with these world events and inevitably it has led me to consider the position of my practice. It’s easy to feel dismissive within this context, but then art provides an alternative, has to capacity to instigate social and moral change with passion and positivity, and can unite isolated or marginalised sets of people. Not to mention the solace, hope and escapism it provides.

I believe it is important to re-acquaint yourself with the value of creative practice and creative thinking from time to time. Even within my practice, there are contextual subtleties of anti-consumerism and pro-identity which provide a voice, a means of reflection and a means of communication. My work also seeks to find alternative ways of considering pre-defined concepts. This, if functioning as a metaphor, is able to transcend perfumery and adopt moral, social and even political standpoints.

Art is more about who you are than what you do. It is my outlet and means of communicating. There would be a sense of loss and emptiness without it as it provides a platform for thought, discussion, communication and, above all, inclusion. I will forever promote creation over destruction and as such, in my own way, will continue to attempt to contribute and connect with all areas of the community.

Perfume Portrait #4 – Edie OP

Edie OP EDT 50mlP1020015


Experience the innate joy in an expanding and infinite landscape! This fragrance reminds you that anything is possible and that allowing an organic love for life to breathe and develop will in turn breed creativity.


Joyfully happy, this fragrance attempts an intense positive hit, but at the same time is steeped in reality. The sweet scent of Orange, Lemon and Cinnamon bark attempts this instant positive hit, while May Chang ensures such positive energy lingers rather than evaporates.


This fragrance was created by interpreting and investigating a response to the question ‘Why do you make art?’ If you are an artist (in the broadest sense of the word) I would love to her your response to the question too, as it will enable me to create a perfume portrait that captures the essence of your creative persona. These perfumes will be on display at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, early next year. 


5 Tips for a Successful Open Studio

And so, after around 150 visitors through my door, 2 pieces of work sold, 6 cups of tea and a slice of carrot cake I believe it fit to deem this years’ Yorkshire Artspace Open Studios a success.

Last year my work felt a little impenetrable to the public gaze: Attempting to explain why I make paint out of food, and how I consider that paint to be a complete and potent work of art was tricky at the best of times. This year, equipped with a spiel about perfume and with an abundance of oils, scents and fragrances on display ready to be sniffed, there was a palpable sense of the audience directly and instantly engaging with my work, processes and thoughts.

Measuring audience engagement is a useful tool for discerning the success of a body of work. After all, you could be occupied by the most conceptually rich and innovative project imaginable, but if an audience can’t access it, you might as well deem it a vanity project. This last year has seen me take care in creating work at offers a trade off between innovation and accessibility, and how my work was received at Open Studios this year in comparison to last is a reflection of that.


This table displayed all my perfume-making activities at Yorkshire Artspace’s Open Studios.

Open Studios tends to be a bit of an unknown quantity, usually dependant on external factors such as time of year, weather, how it is promoted and what other events are happening nearby. But as I have now participated in 4 different Open Studios I feel I have learnt a thing or two along the way. Here’s 5 tips, based on my experiences:

1. Know your audience

In my experience, you can divide an Open Studios audience up into two distinct categories; members of the public looking for something to buy and other artists have a snoop around other people’s studios. An awareness of this this year enabled me to tailor how I talk about my work, allowing it to become accessible, intriguing and fun for an audience. If they wished to scratch away at the surface, they would uncover more about how I use perfume as a platform for portraiture and how I am attempting to find alternative uses for per-established concepts. But there’s nothing wrong with someone just wanting to have a sniff at a Christmas fragrance before trundling off.

2. Attempt a trade-off between working space and exhibition space. 

Catering for all needs whilst remaining true to the functionality of a working studio is key. For one, a wider audience will remember you if you offer both finished pieces of work and the opportunity to see the materials and equipment you have, and being remembered is essential to securing opportunities and developing connections. I’m more than happy to be remembered by some as ‘that guy that makes perfumes’ and by others as ‘that guy with loads and loads of little bottles in his studio’.

3. Be aware that people might want to buy something

If, like me, your current practice is difficult – or even impossible – to sell, you may find that you have some more commercially viable work deep within the darkest corner of your studio somewhere. If you do, then I don’t think there’s any harm in displaying them and offering them for sale. I tend to keep an audience’s focus on my current project, but I do also refer them to a wall I isolate as a shop space, packed full of old paintings offered at a reasonable price. It’s always nice to get a bit of cash in the back pocket, after all. And it’s always rewarding to see someone loving your work – no matter how old it is.

4. Visitors will always find a point of interest

This follows on somewhat from my previous point. You can set up your studio any which way you like, but chances are someone will pop in and attempt to look at something you didn’t even consider close to worthy of display. This is fine, just go with it. Don’t forget that the more open and accessible you are, the easier it will be for an audience to be captivated by at least one facet of your creative endeavours.

5. Relax and Enjoy!

On the whole, people tend to be very pleasant and positive towards your work. You’ll probably get the odd quip or awkward comment but nothing that you should take to heart. Indeed such comments might even be useful and constructive. Not everyone is going to fully understand, or appreciate, or really connect with what you do, and that’s fine, because there will certainly be those that do.

…So there you have it. Hope this was informative in some way! And don’t forget, this is based my my personal experience. What are your experiences of Open Studio events?


Perfume Portrait #3 – Joanne McClellan


Joanne McClellan EDT 50ml


Hold on to your hats, it’s Pandora’s Box! Although, sensitive to the idea of tradition and our ancestors, this rendition of Pandora’s box is true to the historical virtues of an undecorated and weathered urn. With a palpably crafted feel that considers the nature of human existence, this fragrance gifts us the opportunity to question the morals and implications of mythology in relation to ourselves.


This fragrance considers creative processes themselves; placing several concepts within a vessel, filtering them via the act of spraying then communicating them through scent. Frankincense and Lavender are prone to pre-conception and are steeped in history, Cherry and Red Thyme bristle with colour and offer conceptual leverage.


This fragrance was created by interpreting and investigating a response to the question ‘Why do you make art?’ If you are an artist (in the broadest sense of the word) I would love to her your response to the question too, as it will enable me to create a perfume portrait that captures the essence of your creative persona. These perfumes will be on display at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, early next year. 

20×20 Vision

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!