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.
Head – Cotton, Cut Grass
Heart – Geranium, Dandelion
Body – Ylang Ylang, Patchouli
Description – A description of a calming, expansive landscape, this balanced fragrance elicits the capacity scent has for communication while connecting you to nature.
This perfume will be exhibited alongside 9 other perfume portraits at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, from 4 – 7th April 2019
Head – Sage, Petitgrain
Heart – Black pepper
Body – Frankincense, Rosewood
Description – a fragrance that simultaneously acts as a medicinal cure-all when embarking on a journey as well as a description of that journey: Top notes reference a certain locality, which gives way to increasingly exotic ingredients.
This perfume will be exhibited alongside 9 other perfume portraits at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London, from 4 – 7th April 2019.
I have been invited to submit small scale works for Here and Now – an exhibition at ASC Studios, London- later this month. The exhibition has given me further opportunity to acquaint myself with cartography and, particularly, the capacity cartography has for symbolism and hidden language:
I present to the exhibition two postcards, each depicting and exaggerating our collective relationships with travel, experiences and sense of place. These postcards harness the notion of a phantom map (i.e a map that depicts a fictitious geographical space) and as such, use the language of drawing to highlight the enrichment gained from travel.
Here and Now will be showing at ASC Studios, London, from 18th – 25th July. The Opening Evening is on the 18th July from 6-8pm. All welcome!
FUSE is an upcoming exhibition at The Holt, Sheffield that seeks to bring 10 artists from 3 different cities together under the theme of FUSE.
We aim to not only bring you diverse and intriguing approaches to the theme of FUSE, which each artist may interpret however they wish, but we also seek to bridge 3 different sets of artists and 3 very different cities – Liverpool, London and Sheffield. The action of providing a space for these artists to exhibit intends to encourage conversation, instigate relationships and develop working careers.
However, FUSE needs YOUR help! We are currently crowdfunding for the exhibition, enabling us to cover venue and travel costs.
If you donate, you’ll be rewarded not only with the knowledge that you’ve supported artists, but also with some fantastic perks and rewards – including original artworks and invitations to events. Here’s just some of the rewards on offer:
If any of this interests you, please to consider donating to the campaign as it will be very much appreciated. Please also feel free to share the campign with people you know as it will be great to expand our reach. here’s another link to the campaign:
If a week is a long time in politics, then how long is it for an artist? Well, to answer that awkward and clumsy self-imposed question, allow me to take you through my last 7 days.
It has been a week where I feel a very tangible sense of progression as I navigate my own unique way through the art spanning the industries of fine art and perfumery – all the while keeping my crowdfunding campaign ticking over. The 14th of May saw me complete a piece of work for LightNight at Tate Liverpool, to be exhibited the very next day for 4 hours. There is something quite joyous and immediate about such a swift exhibition – which took the form of a treasure hunt – I rather enjoyed the urgency of it all. There is a sense of intensity; of something temporarily grasping onto a space for dear life, only to disappear in an instant. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, the piece I exhibited formed an extension of ‘Perfume as Practice’ – the residency I am currently running at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, which looks at how perfumery can be used as portraiture. I asked fellow artist David Andrews what defines him as an artist. His response was analysed, investigated and interpreted until a perfume was concocted, revealing the true essence of who he is:
LightNight was brilliant. A great success, and good fun. A weekend of reflection ensued, which also involved a mammoth promotional surge with regards my crowdfunding – it’s going well, I just need £200 now – but it has been a massive effort. Its very hard to forget about it, and it’s always tempting to see if any more money has come in. That said, it’s very rewarding and a great gauge when considering how well received your project is. I’d do it again without doubt.
On Tuesday, I went to London accompanied by fellow artist Sharon Mossbeck. I have wanted to visit Barbican Centre’s latest offering – Magnificent Obsessions – since it’s opening in February. It didn’t disappoint. Indeed, it offered intrigue and inspiration for an upcoming collaboration with Mossbeck, which is based on a re-imagination of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. Magnificent Obsessions offered an innovative way of thinking about artists and the perceived identity of artists. It shifts the dynamic that of the obsessive – an individual whose creative practice extends beyond the exhibition space. Food for thought when creating my Speculative Studio Spaces.
From Barbican Centre, we trot off to Illuminum Fragrances. I set up a meeting with them, as we have like-minded ideas about scent, perfume and what perfume can be. How they present their fragrances is beautiful – scent becomes almost visual, and takes centre stage. What is actually visual becomes minimum – an appendage to the scent, complimenting it and enhancing the experience of it. In terms of a display, it provided me with a great deal of inspiration regarding how my exhibition at Bank Street Arts could look. More than that though, I really loved just being there, in the room. There was a strange sense of familiarity about it. Compounded no doubt by how friendly and approachable everyone there is. I was even gifted an awesome bottle of perfume. How great is that?!
I would love to instigate some kind of collaboration with Illuminum, and will spend the weekend having a think about what we could create together.
And so I find myself here, within the realms of contemplation, as I consider exactly what’s next. I know June will be a bloody busy month; with my crowdfunding coming to an end, two exhibitions – including one I am organising myself – and preparation for a third exhibition at the beginning of July. It’s gonna be a big ‘un! Bring it on, I say!
Last week I had a little nosey around London Village. It was a bit of a Birthday treat and it also gave me an opportunity to see some art and indulge in the stimulation that a big city offers – or at least is supposed to offer. Anyway this is what I found out:
- Inspiration is everywhere. – As demonstrated whilst buggering about in the food court in Harrods, where an overwhelming and multisensory experience ensued. The air tasted of decadence as the scent particles of each offering fought to tantalise the nostrils. This was probably as close to experiencing synesthesia as a non-synestete can get without taking LSD. Scent appeared before me, and my experience of the place is remembered not through vision, but through smell. I will certainly exploit this experience in subsequent works of art.
- Patrick Caulfield is a bit good. – I saw the Caulfield exhibition at Tate Britain. I love how he is able to capture the essence and atmosphere of something using simple mechanics. A size of a canvas is able organically to capture grandeur. Colour evokes emotions intrinsic to an atmosphere. And simple form places the paintings within a physical and readily relatable realm. There is a simplicity about Caulfield’s work that speaks volumes.
- It’s a lot greener than I remembered. – Yes, walking under a bridge you are smacked in the nose with a heavy burst of pollution and tramps tears, but when you emerge from under the bridge, a burst of greenery hits you – Such a juxtaposition of atmosphere can be embraced and utilised.
- There are lots of little hidden bits. – During my two days in London there wasn’t even a hint of the idea of using the Tube. Above ground and removed from the fear of having another man’s armpit in your face, you see more. Small pathways; buildings wedged between buildings; unbelievably small tea shops; roads of residential properties between two different coffee outlets; uncelebrated memorials and poorly conceived bus-stops. All of which is intrinsic to the vitality and beauty of the place
- The Great Fire of London was cool. – It just was. As were Dinosaurs, as it happens.
Aside from my Harrods experience, I don’t really know quite what I can extrapolate from all this and apply to my practice. But there’s a real feeling that visiting London has equipped me with tangible experiences that can doubtlessly be applied to my work. When do I get to go again?