Looking back on my creative output over the last year, I’d have to conclude that I have had a relatively successful 2018 – I have delivered on my promise of staging two Perfume as Practice shows a year, immersed myself in the possibilities of candle making in contemporary art, and have reached new audiences both nationally and internationally. So I guess I can’t complain!
This year, I endeavoured to stage both Perfume as Practice shows outside Sheffield. This was an effort to extend my audience reach and introduce new sets of people to the artistic possibilities of perfumery. To that end, I have been successful, as my shows were staged at BasementArtsProject, Leeds, and Bureau Centre for the Arts, Blackburn. (In fact, you can still see my work at BasementArtsProject until the end of January!)
I wanted to see a tangible development in Perfume as Practice – both in terms of the quality of the perfumes made and audience expectation. This was achieved by placing Perfume as Practice in contexts and spaces previously untapped: My exhibition in Blackburn placed perfumery within the context of religion while my exhibition in Leeds was a joint show, placing Perfume as Practice alongside the work of artist Emilia Telese.
One of the failures of my 2017 was that I involved myself in too many group exhibitions, thus compromising the quality of my output. This has been rectified this year as I have carefully selected opportunities relevant to the development of my practice.
I also embarked on a new project; Scents of Our Time. This took the guise of a residency at Access Space and a solo show at Mugen Tea House. In hindsight, the process of using candle making to describe news stories is very immersive, and probably works best as a residency. I think the jury is still out on how an audience responds to it, but there is certainly a lot of potential in the idea and I will seek new opportunities to develop the idea in the new year.
I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in making my 2018 such a success and, actually, a very enjoyable year. I think I feel completely at ease with Perfume as Practice as an idea, and now just seek to hone it, push it in new directions and reach new audiences.
2019 promises to be rather exciting – it will see me stage my first solo show in London, embark on new Perfume as Practice shows in Wolverhampton and Bristol, and continue to stage events and workshops that provide an insight into my unique approach to perfume making and ways of utilising scent in art. Looking forward to it!
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!