This rather innocuous image represents the initial development of something I have thus far unexplored; selling perfume commercially.
This perfume sample – outsourced to fragrance suppliers Carvansons to my specifications – will be sold at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from May 2020, to coincide with their upcoming Pre-Raphaelite exhibition.
While this unisex fragrance is designed with an element of mass appeal, it still contains a certain conceptual weight, as it acts as an olfactory depiction of the Pre-Raphaelites and their nostalgic interpretation of medieval life. The fragrance is filled will abundant fruits and florals, representing a bountiful and quintessentially English existence. The perfume finishes with exotic spices and musks, which reference human endeavour and conquest.
Look out for my perfume if you’re in Bristol this summer!
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…
On Saturday 27th July I’m running a perfume making workshop from 11am – 1pm at Exchange Place Studios, Sheffield, as part of Fronteer‘s Botanicals exhibition. For £20 the workshop provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about the art of perfumery and make a perfume of your own ready to take home. I’d love to see you there! More info and tickets here:
June 2019 marked the 9th incarnation of Perfume as Practice, which was staged at Asylum Gallery, Wolverhampton. The exhibition comprised of 12 perfume portraits and 5 paintings, themed under the idea of protest. The exhibition also represented a milestone for the project as a whole, as it housed the 100th perfume portrait I have created since the project’s conception in late 2015.
The 100th perfume portrait was of artist Hannah Taylor. Here it is presented next to the very first perfume portrait I created, of artist Lee Green:
I take Lee’s perfume around with me; showcasing it at workshops as an example of my perfume making process. Hannah’s perfume has been left with her at Asylum Gallery as she is the co-director of the space. The painted livery adorned on Lee’s perfume has gone through numerous repairs as it has chipped, cracked and flaked off. It could probably use a new lick of paint at the moment actually.
Lee’s perfume utilised herbal and oriental notes in an effort to create a gender neutral fragrance, pertaining to the idea of how art can debunk gender stereotypes. Hannah’s perfume used clean, fresh notes to mask deep, bodily undertones, and considered how both fragrance and art can be used as a vehicle to mask and unmask identity.
Curiously then, both perfumes are rather conceptual and attempt to exploit our preconceptions of perfume in order to house portraiture.
Anyway, onto the next 100!
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.
On Friday 24th May I am hosting two perfume making workshops at Manchester cradft and design centre. One at 11am – 1pm and one at 2 – 4pm.
These 2 hour workshops begin with me introducing my unique, artistic approach perfumery and giving a working demonstration of how to make an Eau De Toilette. I will guide you through all aspects of perfume design including an explanation of fragrance types, an introduction to fragrance notes and how to blend oils to achieve the perfect fragrance. Then, under my support and guidance, you will have a chance to make a 50ml perfume of your own by choosing from an extensive selection of essential oils and fragrance oils. You will also get the chance to decorate the bottle and you will be able to take the perfume home on the day.
These workshops are suitable for men and women and are a great introduction into the art of perfumery, a great way of learning a new skill and a brilliant opportunity to create something truly unique. The price of each workshop is£20, inclusive of all materials.
If you would like to find more information about the 11am – 1pm session click here
If you would like to find more information about the 2 – 4pm session click here
I hope to see you this Friday!
Earlier this month I had the privilege of staging Perfume as Practice SS19 at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London. The opportunity afforded me the chance to exhibit a solo show in London for the first time; bringing my unique approach to perfumery to a new audience.
I went into the exhibition with no real connections with the art scene in London, aside from a handful of artists I knew or worked with previously. As such, I didn’t have any expectations of how well my work would be received, or how many people would be in attendance over the 4 days. To that end, my exhibition can be deemed a relative success; it attracted the attention of over 75 people, I sold work, the exhibition was well received and, crucially, I established new connections with people and organisations – both in and out of the art world – that may well drive future development and collaboration.
The exhibition comprised a unique blend of perfume, portraiture and astronomy, with each perfume portrait adorned with a constellation. The aim was to reveal connections between artists; highlighting the thoughts, desires and motivations that drive creative action and bolstering the creative community by highlighting commonalities. I don’t know how well such notions translated into an audience experience, as most feedback centred around the unique nature of the exhibition and the delicacy of my scent design. This in itself did prove rather revealing, however, as it confirmed that my perfume making is becoming more competent.
Such is the nature of Lumen Crypt Gallery, using the walls is actually rather limited. This presented a challenge when designing visual work, as it had to be placed in the space with minimum intrusion. This actually made me work to a more disciplined brief and I think the work was better for it: I created a set of banners and assemblages that adhered to the theme of astronomy while enhancing the audiences’s experiences of the perfumes, resulting in a cohesive exhibition.
Exhibiting in London provided an opportunity to establish new connections while presenting my work to a new audience. To that end I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. But alas, I cannot dwell for too long as my next solo exhibition – at Wolverhampton’s Asylum Gallery in June – will present a whole new opportunity. Onwards and Upwards!
Head – Tangerine, Peppermint
Heart – Lavendar, Rosemary
Body – Ylang Ylang
Description – Inherently joyous, this fragrance embodies all that is positive about the world. Herbal and citrus notes radiate a happiness that can instantly be imparted, and this gives way to florals, which exude a more contemplative – but equally pleasurable – inner peace.
This fragrance will be exhibited alongside 9 other perfume portraits at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, from 4th – 7th April 2019.