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:
I hope you can join me!
Perfume as Practice – my current artist’s residency at Orchard Square, Sheffield – affords me one month housed in what is nominally a retail unit in the heart of Sheffield city centre. Positioned in between Starbucks and Waterstones, my residency aims to confound expectations of another product with highly commercial connotations – perfume. My residency provides other artists with a free consultancy service, and the perfumes will be designed as an intimate and direct response to the thoughts, desires and personalities revealed by the artists willing to participate in the process. The perfumes will then be displayed as portraits that capture the essence of artists living and working in Sheffield’s collective communities.
I want my audience to be directed to alternative ways of considering perfume and what perfume can accommodate within a contemporary art context. But I also want to challenge preconceived notions of how artists occupy public spaces.
But while this is all well and good, I need some kind of audience. So what of it? Well, footfall is a little low but the effectiveness of word-of-mouth is not to be underestimated; around half of my visitors have attended due to hearing about it from their friends. Constant pushing of the project on social media has also attracted attention and as such I have set myself a target of being able to create 30 perfume portraits within the space before the residency ends.
This is a reasonable target and one that will eclipse the ‘most amount of perfume I’ve exhibited at one exhibition’ record set by my first ever Perfume as Practice solo show at Bank Street Arts last year. But it’s a target that I strive towards as it will provide confirmation of a well-attended residency. Whether it’s a well-regarded residency or not will rely on continued efforts by myself to make it the best it can be.
The residency has also presented another somewhat unexpected challenge – that of remaining fully engaged and proactive throughout the duration: As every day of October will involve either working in my residency or working in other employment, I seek to take measures to prevent mental and physical fatigue. I have, for example, changed my diet a little in order to distribute an even amount of energy throughout the day. I’ve also tried (with varying degrees of success) to cut out junk foods. This sort of physical challenge is a somewhat unexpected quirk, but frankly I’m enjoying living a healthier lifestyle and find that it informs my mental aptitude when creating perfumes with immediacy and in situ.
So, onwards and upwards! I still have over two weeks occupying Orchard Square. So please pop in if you can. And if you’re an artist, take advantage of my services and have a perfume portrait made for you. For free!
October sees me occupy a craft unit in Orchard Square, Sheffield as part of a Perfume as Practice artist’s residency. I will be creating bespoke perfumes in the space itself, in an effort to celebrate the art of perfumery and explore the possibilities of scent.
Perfume as Practice will see me craft many diverse and individual perfumes, each a portrait of another artist. I will create these perfume portraits through a one-on-one consultancy with any willing artist that comes through the door. The consultancy will involve a series of questions and tests to determine the personalities and creative desires of artists, the responses and results of which will be immediately analysed and interpreted in order to create meaningful fragrances that capture the essence of who each artist is.
Whether you’re an artist or not, Perfume as Practice will provide fantastic opportunity to find out more about artistic approaches to perfume making, discover the craft of creating fragrances and become acquainted with any perfumes I have made during the residency at any given time. Just like any other means of portraiture, each perfume will be unique, complex and highly personal, yet will allow an audience to interpret them in their own way. By utilising the craft of perfumery, Perfume as Practice also highlights alternative ways of thinking about portraiture, scent and art in general!
Opening Times and Events
Perfume as Practice runs from 30th September – 28th October 2017 on the first floor of Orchard Square (nestled between the first floors of Waterstones and Starbucks). It will be open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 12-4pm, and Sunday 12-2pm.
There will also be a closing event on Thursday 26th October, from 5-7pm. This event will see me provide an artist talk, explaining the ideas and processes behind Perfume as Practice. During this event all of the perfumes created through the residency will be on display. This will allow an audience to acquaint themselves, through scent, with the collective thoughts, desires and personalities of artists from Sheffield and beyond. Participating artist can also use this opportunity to take their perfume portraits home.
Perfume Making Workshops.
Perfume as Practice will run 2 Perfume Making Workshops. These workshops give participants a fantastic opportunity to find out more about my approach to perfumery, create a perfume of their own and explore the possibilities of fragrance. These workshops will take place on Saturday 7th October, 2-4pm and Saturday 21st October, 2-4pm.
Workshops cost £5 per person, all materials are provided. Spaces are limited so to book you must email Michael on email@example.com to register your interest.
hope to see you there!
Last night saw the opening of Alternative Portraits – a group exhibition at Access Space, Sheffield devised by myself and Sharon Mossbeck.
The aim of Alternative Portraits was to investigate innovative depictions of portraits as well as provide a platform for artists who approach portraiture in a fresh and challenging way.
16 artists from across the UK are represented, each with their own response to the theme of ‘Alternative Portraits.’. My own contribution saw me design a perfume self portrait. This was achieved through my established process of posing the question ‘Why do you make art? then, through a method of interpretation and investigation, choosing fragrance oils and visual embellishments relevant to the response received. This process is usually reserved for other artists – it was the first time I responded to the question myself – though it was actually rather cathartic; revealing something honest about my creative output and how I wish to be perceived.
The exhibition seemed well received, with the audience citing the high quality of each work and the cohesive yet varied nature of the collection as a whole. The wide array of disciplines and approaches on display means there was something simultaneously familiar and challenging for everyone. This resulted in a rather rich experience and this is underpinned by some fantastic feedback, which we are very grateful for.
You can catch Alternative Portraits at Access Space, Sheffield, from Wednesday – Friday, 11-6, every week up until 4th October.
In the midst of preparing, installing and maintaining Speculative Studio Spaces I have also been able to do something I rarely do – Go out and actually look at a bit of art.
It’s a rarity for a couple of reasons. For one, the idea of actually going out and seeing work is often jostling for position on a never ending to-do list, and alas, is usually something I can omit. Not least because I don’t tend to draw inspiration from an exhibition. Rather, it tends to emerge from philosophy, psychology, poetry, video games, or is informed by research into industries my practice covers, such as food and fragrance.
Not that I’m making excuses. Visiting exhibitions is very valuable for the artist, as it reinforces thought processes, allows you to assess the accessibility of your own practice and allows you to gain an understanding of your place within the art world relative to others. Not to mention the social benefits. I do wish I went to more stuff and will seek to in the future.
But one thing I have seen over the last two weeks, is an exhibition spanning various spaces in Sheffield, named Going Public.
Going Public seeks to raise awareness of art collections and make them more accessible, as well as provide insight into how and why collections are founded and maintained. 4 collections are represented over 5 venues. and so far I have seen all venues bar one.
The Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Collection found at Sheffield Cathedral impressed, and got me thinking about art in relation to the space it occupies. It got me thinking of producing scent sculptures, which would only really be defined – and totally dependent – on space. In terms of providing me with thought in relation to my on practice, Sheffield Cathedral’s exhibits delivered.
The DSL collection – that includes major pieces by contemporary Chinese artists – found at SIA Gallery and Site gallery also intrigued. Though I feel perhaps a little too far removed from their original context. The exhibition at SIA in particular feels a little isolating and impenetrable. Though again there is a level of accessibility that should be applauded.
Hovever, it’s the The Cattelain Collection at Millenuim Gallery that stands out the most. I loved it, actually! From a considered treatment of light to a grand textile piece, each work displays an affinity between artist and material; something to consider for me when investigating and experimenting with perfumery. Curated with a quiet harmony and with a playful level of interaction, I’d heartily recommend this to anyone.
In fact, I’d recommend the whole of Going Public. While some collections sit more pertinently in their spaces then others, each collection offers something different, while retaining the principles of collections and public accessibility.
Going Public is on around Sheffield until 12th December.
After the inevitable massive push that comes with the instillation and promotion of an exhibition, the beginning of October has seen a period of reflection: An assessment of the patterns that are emerging by virtue of my own intuition with every speculative studio space I have installed. I have concluded that these patterns, whilst inevitable, could have a negative impact of future speculative studio space exhibitions if not quelled. It is the authenticity of a speculative studio space that shapes its success, after all.
So with this, and with an upcoming open studio event looming in my mind, I see it fit to externalise these thoughts and provide insight into my Speculative Studio Spaces project to an audience. The aim is to provide an informative guide to the nature of my project, including notions of how creative choices can be relinquished from the artist, and how this process can encourage instructive thinking about identity, ownership and authorship.
So, I present to you a Speculative Studio Spaces Talk and Guide this coming Thursday at Access Space! I will be on-hand to talk through the concept, process and instillation of a Speculative Studio Space, the implications of a Speculative Studio Space and future Speculative Studio Space projects. I will also be on-hand to answer any questions.
You can find more details on this facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/147744285576108/
I hope to see you there as it should be a fun and interesting evening. Plus there will be a bar, which is always nice! Plus, with Perfume as Practice – a project developing alongside Speculative Studio Space, taking precedence from now until spring 2016, it is safe to say that this will be the last Speculative Studio Spaces event for a little while.