playing with perfume | speculating on studio spaces | commenting with candles

Posts tagged “making

Scents of Our Time at Access Space

For the first 3 weeks of July I undertook a residency at Access Space, Sheffield entitled ‘Scents of Our Time’ which saw me utilise candle making to respond to the news events of the day.

37588637_2142307779144237_2358219804675932160_n

The residency seeks to gauge whether an audience can engage with the concept of utilising candle making as a means of social and political commentary; subverting preconceptions of what candle making can be and placing it on a contemporary art platform.

I didn’t really know what to expect, both in terms of my approach to responding to the news through scent design or with regard to audience engagement, but I did feel rather buoyed by the opportunity, as it was the first public outing of Scents of Our Time.

Weeks 1 and 2 focused primarily on the production of candles as well as the production of visual material:

37590447_2142307655810916_3078660483650158592_n

Designed in a manner that apes news graphics, this painting continues a precedent set with my Perfume as Practice body of work. Namely, under current projects the paintings that I complete act simply as visual description of proceedings.

I found that the candle making process – slow, considered and cathartic – provides an alternative method of digesting the news, which often arrives rapidly and successively, affording no time to meaningful contemplation. This is something I will take into my third week.

The 3rd and final week saw a shift of focus from working to exhibiting, as candle production was reduced in favour of curation ready for a closing event. The resultant exhibition saw the presentation of 18 candles, each a separate response to the news, along with visual embellishments and, in an attempt at transparency in my processes,  information regarding how each candle was made.

The aim of Scents of Our Time at Access Space was to reveal the capacity candle making has for social comment, agency and creative action while providing transparency into the creative process, allowing for insight and knowledge exchange. I believe that these aims were mostly achieved, but in unexpected ways.

For one, I didn’t account for the visual intricacies of each candle to be contemplated by an audience. Perfume as Practice – my other project that utilises scent – tends to rely on supporting visual material to create a cohesive set of work as otherwise it’s proven hard for an audience to engage with it beyond face value. Scents of Our Time didn’t actually need any other supporting material as each candle contained enough visual information to be regarded within context: If I am, for example, responding to the (relative) triumph of the England National Football Team, a candle adorned with grass-green and white wax already provides an audience with a visual representation. This use of colour is absent from perfume as Practice and as such, perhaps I had gotten overly used to designing extra visual ques even when I don’t need them.

Unfortunately, a combination of The World Cup and the hot weather (both of which were responded to in my candles) meant audience attendance was down on what might have been expected. However, what audience there was appeared fully engaged with the project, citing it’s innovation and subversive approach to candle making. This is a fantastic starting point and I think the project lends itself to being a residency, as it forces me to respond with urgency and energy to the news of the day. And it will be fun seeing where this leads.

37592600_2142307899144225_9153401268641726464_n

Advertisements

Scents of Our Time – Closing Evening

I’ve been an artist in residence at Access Space for two weeks now, responding to news topics of the day through the unusual art form of candle making. Find out more about my thoughts and processes this coming Wednesday at Access Space from 5.30pm! full details here:

SOOT closing poster.PNG

I hope you can join me!


Pondering Platforms Project

Earlier this month I exhibited at Platforms Project, Athens as part of a group exhibition that looked at the contemplation of our solar system. I, alongside artists Sharon Mossbeck and Alison Whitmore, took 3 planets and interpreted them through our own modes of enquiry with reference to Ancient Greece.

Sharon’s work comprised painting and cross-stitch, Alison’s comprised sculptural and works and I presented 3 perfumes, each representing the Greek gods of Zeus, Kronos and Ouranos.

Platforms Project – which is an art fair – was well attended. It reached 16,000 people and our exhibition was well received. I even managed to sell a thing or two, which is great. There are, however, a few caveats with regard to my own work that should be addressed if I am to learn anything and develop from the experience. You see, after much consideration of how to translate three Greek Gods into a scented experience, I decided ultimately to play it straight – simply designing 3 perfumes that acted as portraits of each God. I assumed that this would result in a clear connection between object and concept and would transcend language barriers.

Ironically, by playing it so straight I exposed just how obtuse the notion of a perfume portrait actually is. While the audience did seem to rather like the scents and visual embellishment on display at a base level, the link between the perfumes and the Greek Gods wasn’t as clear as I thought it would be. It required further explanation, which wasn’t always easy to do due to a combination of a complex concept and the language barrier. (although this is partly my fault – I really ought to learn Greek if I’m going there every year.)

Interestingly, a volunteer who also helped out with Platforms Project last year said that she remembered the scented experience I designed last year and that, while she liked what I did this year, she loved what I did last year, which was essentially a narrative based on the notion of The Grand Tour, which incorporated scent:

So perhaps scented sculptural work designed to tell a story, rather than a straight perfume portrait, would actually be more successful in engaging a wider audience? Or maybe the Greek Gods and the complexities of their narratives would benefit from a different approach to a straight perfume portrait? Perhaps a more careful consideration of why I’m choosing specific scented designs is required, based on the concepts I’m trying to reveal.

Either way, it was once again a pleasure to exhibit at Platforms Project and naturally it was another great chance to visit a beautiful city. But maybe next time I’ll leave the perfume at home.


Zeus 50ml EDT

Zeus

Head – Elemi, Lime, Cotton

Heart – Black Pepper, Ginger

Body – Patchouli, Cumin Seed

Full of unwavering energy; the initial blast of lime, compounded dry the earthy readiness of patchouli and the potency of cumin seed describes the electric effects of thunder and lightning. This is offset by the woody accord of Elemi, referencing Zeus’ hidden childhood suspended from a tree. Black Pepper and Ginger forms a heart shared with Kronos and Ouranos; referencing family connections. Cotton, alludes to Zeus’s overseeing of the sky.

This fragrance is on display during Platforms Project 2018 at Athens School of Fine Arts.

 

 


Kronos 50ml EDT

Kronos

Head – Dill Seed, Lemongrass, Basil

Heart – Black Pepper, Ginger

Body – Patchouli, Myrrh

Description – Titan of the harvest; Dill seed, lemongrass and patchouli describe a plentiful abundance of produce. Basil references the confidence needed to instigate the battle with Ouranos. 5 drops of myrrh reference the 5 children he ate, while it’s heavy, lingering quality also alludes to the personification of time. Black Pepper and Ginger forms a heart shared with Ouranos; referencing family connections.

 

This fragrance is on display during Platforms Project 2018 at Athens School of Fine Arts.

 


Ouranos 50ml EDT

Ouranous

Head – Petitgrain, Rosemary,  Cotton

Heart – Black Pepper, Ginger

Body – Sandalwood, Driftwood

Description – Petitgrain, black pepper and ginger referencing a godly masculinity and confidence due to their sharp, penetrating aroma which exudes assurance and assertion. Cotton, with it’s clean, fresh and light accord, references Ouranos’ overseeing of the sky. Rosemary, with its connections to the sea, references the narrative of Ouranos’ being castrated and having his testicles cast into the sea This is reinforced by driftwood. Sandalwood has deep connections to earth, referencing the importance of Gaia.

This fragrance is on display during Platforms Project 2018 at Athens School of Fine Arts.

 


Perfume Portrait #82 – John Alfred

 John Alfred 50ml EDT

Head – Petitgrain

Heart – Fennel, ginger

Body – Sandalwood, myrrh

20180404_155554

Description – A fiery and masculine free spirit, this fragrance utilises the sense of mental aptitude found in woods and spices to point towards ways to innovative, create and have a little fun at the same time.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #81 – Emily Feirn

Emily Feirn 50ml EDT

Head – Bergamot

Heart – Lavendar, black pepper

Body – Ylang Ylang

20180404_155744

Description – Nominally floral with notes that reference tranquillity, joy and, relaxation. This calmness is offset by black pepper, which captures a spirited sense of individuality.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #80 – Louise Waller

Louise Waller 50ml EDT

Head – Niaouli, grapefruit

Heart – Spike lavender

Body – Ylang Ylang, hyssop

20180404_155642

Description – An implied floral fragrance that is content, brimming with peace yet not afraid to show a playful, experimental side: The addition of grapefruit, clove and hyssop bridge notes disrupt the process of making a floral composition as an ode to the value of trial and error.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.


Perfume Portrait #79 – Becca Merrell

Becca Merrell 50ml EDT

Head – Sea breeze

Heart – Driftwood

Body – Cedarwood

20180404_155433

Description – A sublime concoction of fragrance oils that evoke scenes of natural beauty, delivered through reproductions of scents of the coast, this scent reminds you of the human capacity to replicate beauty while cedarwood essential oil base gives you the confidence to do just that.

This perfume is one of fifteen housed at Bureau, Blackburn from 12th – 26th April as part of my solo exhibition, Perfume as Practice.