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Posts tagged “reflection

A Period of Quiet Development

Almost three weeks has past since Perfume as Practice – my exhibition at Bank Street Arts – closed. It’s been a reasonably quiet period, comprising chiefly of plotting further navigations into the world of perfumery. Something persistent from the exhibition that I keep mentally revisiting is the idea that, although Perfume as Practice was successful and very well received, I still feel as though I could improve it.


It’s just as well, seeing as it was the first time I outwardly projected my approach to perfumery. I know full well that the quality of the perfume, while ok, still lacked a degree of authenticity needed to propel the exhibition from an arts space to a speculative perfumery space. This is something I wanted to do as to engage a wider audience.

I wanted the exhibition to reveal itself as a fine art endeavour, while initially appearing as a perfume shop. I wanted to do this as to reassess the virtues of a shop space, how we experience and identify with consumer products and how we can disrupt this process. In reality, I think my audience simply entered the space knowing it was an art exhibition about perfume. Perhaps a different approach to marketing was required, along with better quality bottles. I suppose it doesn’t matter too much, though it is important to understand the failings of an exhibition if you are to progress.

And what of the idea of creating perfume portraits? Well, I feel slightly conflicted about it. You see, I tend to strive for new ideas without attempting to define and develop them. It almost feels counter-intuitive to persist with the idea of perfume portraits, as my mind is filled with other ideas I wish to explore.

Though persist I certainly will. I do feel rather buoyed about just how well the exhibition was received. The idea of making portraits from perfume is very accessible yet innovative, and this is still the case. Therefore it seems correct to continue creating perfume portraits and attempting to extend our knowledge of what scent, perfume and portraiture can be.


Perhaps – heaven forbid – I am displaying a little maturity with Perfume as Practice. 5 years ago, I would have flitted between ideas without attempting to refine, define or meaningfully develop. A more disciplined head is telling me that developing the idea of perfume portraits will engage a wide audience whilst still striving for innovative and exciting ways of making art.

Perfume Portrait #17 – Damien Fisher

Damien Fisher 50ml EDTDamien Fisher 50ml EDT


A reflective fragrance that champions personal contemplation and support as we attempt to realise our own sense of truth. A perfect scent for those moments where the simple act of stopping and thinking becomes pertinent.


The simple arrangement of scents allow the individual to place their own experiences upon this scent. The slight medicinal qualities of peppermint hint at medicinal support, may chang and patchouli promote a sense of strength and stability. Grapefruit promotes personal cleansing for those moments where you need to remove all distractions.

This fragrance was created by interpreting and investigating a response to the question ‘Why do you make art?’ If you are an artist (in the broadest sense of the word) I would love to her your response to the question too, as it will enable me to create a perfume portrait that captures the essence of your creative persona.

This perfume will be on display at Bank Street Arts, Sheffield, from 2-18th March 2016. There will be a Private View on the 2nd March from 6-8pm. More details here

Artists’ Paint Colour #4 – Cups Stacked on Top of Each Other

Taking ideas from artists and turning them into paint. Each paint is already primed with implications and preconceptions based on the artists’ ideas: This allows you to choose between using the paint as a raw medium, or exploiting the connotations found within the paint. The choice is yours.  

Colour #4 – Cups Stacked on Top of Each Other

With unique texture and a bold, unashamed hue, ‘Cups Stacked On Top Of Each Other’ can always be relied upon. Whether depicting social interactions or moments of quiet reflection, this brutally rich paint seeks to make a statement.   

ARTISTS – If you have an idea for a painting that, for one reason or another, never reached fruition, email and I will allow your idea to be realised through the process of paint making.

Mid-Year Report – Fourteen for 2014

Happy Independence Day to my American friends. According to my oh-so technical research North America makes up for 18% of visitors to my website, and that number is increasing. So thank you to all of you.

Right, arse kissing out of the way, my attention turns to the pressing matter of ‘what the hell have I been doing these last 6 months’. Well, lots of stuff, that’s what. But what ever became of the 14 projections I initiated at the start of the year, detailing what I wanted to achieve over the coming 12 months?

Well, as this Independence Day falls neatly between two artistic endeavours – with a co-curated exhibition about video game landscapes completed a week ago and a collaboration investigating Leviathan due next week – I believe now is an opportune moment to take a step back and reflect upon how the year is going. I present to you the fourteen aims I wrote at the beginning of the year, along with an account of how I’m doing with each of them. Let’s begin:

1. Produce a quality body of work. The first third of the year saw me extend my body of work and produce quality pieces. Though the piece I completed for the Jamestown exhibition took my paint making to a logical conclusion. A period of evaluation, reflection and re-assessment as since occurred, but an upcoming exhibition in Liverpool provides me with a suitable creative catalyst.

2. Sell my paints. I’ve sold one! That’s seven quid in the back pocket. My aforementioned period of reflection highlights a desire to place paint-making on the back burner for now.

3. Go to more exhibitions. Well, it’s the summer, and the Liverpool Biennial has just started, so I predict a fair few exhibitions will be attended over the coming months.

4. Go to more restaurants. Best get started on this one.

5. Carry out my upcoming exhibitions with success. Well I’ve certainly learned a lot with this one. Solo exhibitions are difficult to manage and promote, as you find yourself working in isolation. My group exhibition in Jamestown was received well, yet my personal contribution saw my practice become a little too predictable for comfort. Yet I needed to exhibit what I exhibited to arrive at that conclusion. Overall I’m happy.

6. Look for opportunities. Something I’ve discovered at the beginning of the year is the ability to make my own opportunities, rather than seek them out. This culminated coherently with ‘Far Lands’ – An exhibition only possible due to my initial contact with an artist whom I was intrigued by.

7. Become better at networking. This is something currently in bloom. I find it much easier to converse away from online networking than I did a year previous. There has been no substitute for hands-on experience.

8. Do more workshops. Best get started on this one too.

9. Make a book. Well, I’ve done a zine based on mouldy cheese. That’s a start I suppose.

10. Link my practice to a strand of the local community. I’m in talks with a few schools at the moment. We’ll see what comes of that.

11. Improve my website. Well, I have two now, in an attempt to distinguish food-based endeavours from video game endeavours. I will see how I get on with this, though it may be that I’ll just have one and attempt to make both disciplines gel.

12. Hire a venue for a call for submission. Done! With a very special thank you to Access Space for being able to hold my open-call regarding video games in October.

13. Find relevant part-time work. Still looking.

14. Make money. Last year I made £90 in total. This year so far I’ve made £32. Well, nobody said it would be easy.

As a conclusion of sorts, I’d say that I’m currently in a transitional state. Wanting to remove myself to an extent from food – as a concept – and place myself in a position whereby I can produce a body of work informed by video games that is, in turn, informed by the knowledge gained from my paint-making endeavours.

The principles of paint making will still exist within my practice – that of deconstruction, challenging what can be regarded as art, and extracting something and placing it in a different context in order for it to transcend any limitations. Indeed, my work may still manifest itself as paint, or medium, or tools, as I seek further investigation into how art can be de-constructed and presented. But for now a large part of my above list is redundant, as it has not accounted for any video game developments.

Such a transitional state leaves me unsure of exactly how my practice will emerge. But a multitude of upcoming exhibition opportunities and an exciting new studio move puts me in a great position to investigate, develop and play. It’s already safe to declare 2014 a success.

The Ease of Online Criticism

I have burst onto the Sheffield art scene in irresistible fashion and have penetrated collective consciousness the same way a frozen shard of piss is able to penetrate a rotten lump of lettuce. Now that I’m fully immersed in my own practice I am able to destroy the boundaries of what Still Life can be with an informed approach and captivating methodology. And those who say otherwise are just embittered and washed up old relics who are nostalgic for the art of forty years ago because that’s the last time they were relevant.

Of course, this is a crass and grossly exaggerated account of my endeavours – it is grounded in a little truth, but fundamentally unfounded and overblown. It is done for effect; with the view that it will initially engage the reader and allow them to further regard my practice. It’s a tool that I utilise in order to register and sustain the interest of an established audience. Indeed, when I attach a little irreverence to the posts I write, I find my audience is able to grow. Though of course, the more people are aware of your practice, the more subject you are to criticism.

The use of social networking makes it easier to be seen by an audience - and easy to find those that will not like what you do.

Social networking makes it easier to be seen by an audience – and easier to find those that will dislike your work.

Now, criticism is indeed very useful as it enables the artist to retain the focus of their approach, to develop professionally and to gain an informed critical analysis of their conceptual dealings. However, increasingly what I’ve found when faced with criticism is that the critique in question is irrelevant to your practice, and is in fact a product of the vanity and ego of the critic involved. Usually, self-promotion is the key instigator as to why people feel the need to provide you with critique. All they offer is insight into their own work which bares no relevance to yours.

It is very easy to criticise without actually offering any advice, insight or intelligent thought. This is especially true online, where any old sod is able to bash away at a computer and spill out a dribble of barely comprehensible words.

Anyway, over the last few weeks I’ve been documenting attempts people have made of criticising my practice. You might well be able to relate to my experiences, or at least, made aware of the type of alleged criticisms out there. Here are my findings:

  • A lot of people are bitter.
  • A lot of people are elitist snobs.
  • A lot of people have a firm idea of what ‘art’ should be, and won’t accept new directions.
  • A lot of people will simply look at your work without reading any context or conceptual grounding, yet will offer critique based entirely on face-value.
  • Those critical of your work attempt to reinforce their statements with their own approach to practice, which offers nothing except insight into their own work.
  • Those who disregard the point of your work and begin to ask questions of grandeur and subjectivity do so because, within the realm of subjectivity, they are able to always be right.
  • If you offer one piece of work for criticism, it is instantly regarded as the absolute pinnacle of your practice, and therefore evaluated as such.
  • Someone who’s critical of your approach is so because it challenges the validity of their approach.
  • It’s easy to feign intelligence by asking questions loaded with subjectivity and contradicting any answers given – but it offers nothing other than vanity and ego.
  • If your work is seen to be challenging and innovative, there will be those to feel the need to criticise you in order to defend the stoic, antiquated and irrelevant nature of their established and painfully comfortable approach.
  • There will be those who offer quotations from artists who died 50 years ago as suitable critique. Serving to highlight their disengagement with the present world.

So, if you ever find any of the above points a constant in the criticism you face, it’s probably best to just dismiss it as attention seeking, or to ignore it, or just find it amusing. And for anyone out there who finds themselves partaking in such criticism – it is time to resign yourselves to obscurity: And what I’m secretly hoping for is for those people to have only read the first paragraph of this post, before bombarding me with a crass, unfounded and overblown analysis of my endeavours.

The Constant Desire For Progression

I love to criticise and bitch. It fills part of my moral conscious probably technically reserved for, I don’t know, being able to tolerate children. Problems with this, however, arise when reflecting upon my own practice: I am never fully satisfied with my work because I always seek to criticise my rate of conceptual progression. Upon completing a piece of work, the first thoughts that enter my mind are ‘well, ok, I’ve done that, what can I do now to further the idea? What’s next?’

I now find myself unsatisfied with simply making paints, and one direction I have been attracted to is the idea of converting the paint I have made back into food. This will add a substantial sense of narrative to my work, and highlight that, although food is able to transcend its original purpose, it also remains true to itself: It exists in a state of being between something old and something new.

'Jam, Then Paint, Then Jam Again'

‘Paint, Then Jam, Then Paint Again’ 

I see this as a fairly natural progression from the processes and connotations involved in making paint out of food, and there is something curiously indefinite about the whole process:  I could spend the rest of my days concerning myself with converting food into paint, then back into food, then back into paint, then into food again until my blood vessels surrender and explode. But because I know that I can do this, there is no point, as professional development would become compromised and new, more engaging directions would not flourish.

So, what’s next?