Heather Fiona Martin 50ml EDT
Head – Green Apple, Mandarin
Heart – Moss, Fir needle
Body – Sandalwood, Patchouli
Description – Inspired by symbiotic relationships, and narratives found in nature, this concoction of earths and woods is at once balanced and chaotic.
Martin’s Here be Dragons explores the depths of the deep seas and the life within remain unexplored; microscopic creatures at once beautiful and threatening. Here somehow similar but completely different pathogens causing disease both harmless and fatal.
Martin’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Lady M 50ml EDT
Head – Grapefruit, Ravensara
Heart – Black Pepper
Body – Seaweed, Amber
Description – Based on mythical sea creatures that act entirely on compulsion, this intense fragrance provokes artistic action.
Mellow Yellow is a captivating fusion of saffron, jasmine and vanilla and was drawn from Lady M’s observations made in South Turkey. Unlike smellscapes; which are more of an olfactory phenomenology; Lady M’s work sees her odours and produce olfactory art in a gallery environment.
Lady M’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Grant Lambie 50ml EDT
Head – Sweet Orange
Heart – Corriander, Cinnamon
Body – Frankincense, Benzoin
Description – A depiction of Catherine of Bologna, the Patron Saint of Artists: Here body notes depict religious sanctity, mid notes reference her capacity as a baker, and a top note that alludes to her sweet smelling grave.
Lambie’s collage Circling is from a series of works which looks at ways the 2D map can be reconfigured to make different forms of reading. Here the ‘A’ roads have been isolated and collaged to made a continuous road, a never ending Roundabout. The new map then has become devoid of any useful information, which leaves the viewer asking what information was there to start with.
Lambie’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Clare Smith 50ml EDT
Head – Sweet Orange
Heart – Clove
Body – Benzoin, White musk, Honey
Description – An ode to the pomander; which contained herbs essential for recovery. Honey symbolises a gold ribbon traditionally used for wearing pomanders as necklaces.
Smith’s Flying over Beijing (Coming in to Land) is a drawing depicting a smog covered Beijing from the air.
Smith’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
Jeff Hunter 50ml EDT
Head – Cut grass, Lime
Heart – Pine needle, carrot seed
Body – Driftwood, Algae
Description – Representing an impulsive journey across lands to the sea, with sharp intakes of citrus and spice to keep you mentally focussed on the task in hand. This fragrance represents the headstrong necessity found when instigating creative activities.
Hunter’s Journey (Leaving the Station) is a small work on black card with white pencil. A train leaves the station as a passenger contemplates the journey ahead.
Hunter’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
JanCarlo Caling 50ml EDT
Head – Petitgrain, Lemon
Heart – Cypress, Ginger
Body – Sandalwood
Description – A celebration of masculinity, this nominally woody fragrance is complimented by bursts of ginger and lemon; symbols of happiness.
Caling’s The End of a Journey is an acrylic painting on paper. The colours used also project joy, which is what Caling wants the viewers to feel when they are looking at my painting. The work also takes inspiration from the term “self love” and how loving yourself can sometimes be a really gruelling journey. The boat symbolises the rocky relationship the man had with his body and this is the part where he gets off the boat suggesting that they have finally learned to love themselves.
Caling’s work and corresponding perfume portrait were exhibited at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol, in October 2019.
This October saw me stage my ninth Perfume as Practice exhibition, which was held at Centrespace Gallery, Bristol and featured 18 perfumes, each a portrait of another artist and created using my well-established process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ then responding to the answer received through scent design; capturing the essence of the artist.
As well as the core principle of subverting our expectations of perfumery by placing it in a contemporary art context, each Perfume as Practice exhibition strives to develop the project as a whole. Previously this has included incorporating visual elements, working towards specific themes and even placing the project alongside the work of another artist: All of which aimed to devise and assess different ways visitors may encounter perfume in a contemporary art space.
So, what was it about this incarnation that developed the project? Well, this was the first time that the perfume portraits were exhibited alongside visual work created by the artists themselves. So the audience encountered 18 perfume portraits and 18 corresponding works of art, and as such they were able to associate the perfumes with the artists involved in a direct and meaningful way.
This added a new and welcome dimension to Perfume as Practice, as visitors took visible delight in connecting each perfume to each visual piece and ascertaining how I arrived at each perfume portrait. This actually made my perfume making process all the more transparent, as I was able to physically show audiences the work of each artist, and each artist elicited a presence within the exhibition. It was also interesting to witness audiences utilising both scent and vision to fully experience the exhibition; intuitively connecting one sense to another through engagement with art.
Was it the most accomplished Perfume as Practice incarnation? Quite possibly. Though that’s thanks in no small part to the artists themselves, who were as follows:
Heather Fiona Martin
It was also fantastic to exhibit at Centrespace, which is a wonderful gallery (you should check it out, seriously!) I would like to thank Arts Council England for their support too.
So now to secure a few gallery spaces for Perfume as Practice in 2020…
My current Perfume as Practice solo exhibition is open at Asylum Gallery, Wolverhampton, until 29th June. As you may know, I theme my Perfume as Practice exhibitions around specific themes. Doing so allows me to respond to spaces and place perfumery in different contexts, reveling the capacity scent has to accommodate contemporary art concepts. It also allows me to play with a fragrance industry convention of unveiling a themed or seasonal collection.
The theme for my Wolverhampton show is ‘Protest’, which has been a tricky subject to frame Perfume as Practice around. Initial thoughts revolved around historical uses of scent to as a means of controlling groups of people. However, this would place scent in a somewhat negative light, and if Perfume as Practice is about one thing, it’s about highlighting how perfume can unify and bolster creative communities when considered as an artform. With this in mind – and considering how protests bring people together in an act of unity – I decided to take the opportunity of utilising ‘protest’ to place perfumery in a positive light; revealing it’s capacity for community spirit, peace, empowerment and agency.
I’ve also used the exhibition as an opportunity to re-brand my image a little. You see, Perfume as Practice has always attempted to demystify the perfume making process; allowing it to be regarded not merely as a luxury commodity, but as a tool of expression that can give others a voice. Perfume is power, and I want to shout about it; as a Perfumer of the People.