In 2016 I established a firm base in Sheffield from which to exhibit and develop my creative practice. A success, all things considered. However, this year I intend to widen my audience and develop my practice away from Sheffield with the intent on establishing myself as a UK artist. You see, while being relatively known locally is nice and indeed important as it provides a solid foundation from which to build, by ultimate aim is to become an established UK based artist – with a UK wide audience.
It’s hard to believe that this time last year I had no experience in exhibiting my perfume portraits. However, over the course of 2016 Perfume as Practice found its way into 3 solo exhibitions, a few talks, a few group exhibitions and even a few commissions. The sheer presence of the project enabled me to initiate relationships with other arts institutions and as such, my aim of housing 2 solo Perfume as Practice exhibitions a year, under the guise of Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections will almost certainly be achievable this year with an expected show at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, in September.
Inadvertently, I established myself as something of a facilitator of artistic activities in 2016, as evidenced by UNITY – a group exhibition devised and curated by myself and Sharon Mossback, and FUSE – a group exhibition at The Holt, Sheffield. This is something that I see myself building on this year, especially with the imminent arrival of The Court of Love and corresponding poetry open call.
Speculative Studio Spaces – a.k.a that other thing I do that isn’t perfume – had some presence in 2016, with a solo show at BasementArtsProject, Leeds. This project seems a little underdeveloped in comparison to Perfume as Practice and as such, I aim to create a firm body of work which will take the guise of a small stage play: If I can get the play written and performed at some point this year than I’ll be happy.
And what of that old chestnut Pixel Poetry? This project saw resurgence in the latter half of last year. With a few more poems based on video games created and performed. I’m pretty happy to have this one continue to bubble under the surface. It’s sort of established itself as a hobby more than anything – a relaxed alternative to the pressures of my other projects, which are bloody hard work at times.
So this year I want to build on the successes of last year, develop more coherent perfumes, create a stage play and have fun with a little poetry, all the while establishing relationships with arts organisations outside Sheffield. Better get on with it then!
Further reflections on Perfume as Practice have lead to the following conclusions:
- If you think you have a good idea, think of a better one.
- Only about 2 ideas per year are really good enough to instigate sustained creative activity.
- Strive for innovation.
- That is all, initially.
Mark Heyster 50ml EDT
Travel perfume – but not as you know it! Here, the process of making is aligned to a journey of the mind and as such, reminds you of the value of process. The perfect fragrance for those times where empirical enquiry and the act of creating take precedent over the end product.
Here, notes display the mental agility needed to consider the value of process whilst also suggesting the virtues of a journey. Geranium and palmarosa display emotional fortitude while eucalyptus and lemongrass act as the practical equipment needed for navigation. Lavender champions both mental and physical clarity while musk displays a more literal and exotic sense of travel.
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 4th March from 6-8pm. More details here
Two things seem to have initiated a shift in how art is perceived by an audience and the expectation of what art can be and how art needs to function: The abhorrence of Gilbert and George’s current exhibition ‘Banners’ at White Cube and the fact that Assemble have won the Turner Prize.
For Gilbert and George, whose work once instigated a degree of debate and thought, their out is now reduced to the most banal of messages; likened to inane scribblings in a school toilet. As such, it’s very difficult to respond meaningfully or pertinently to the exhibition, as your relationship with the body of work can only be palpable to the quality of it’s content – If it’s layered, multi-faceted and demands various levels of engagement, then great, but as the art of Gilbert and George now functions at face value, then only a face value response is required. But then, perhaps this is just a logical conclusion to the pre-conceived ideal that art’s ability to communicate relies on the instigation of thought processes.
In light of Assemble brilliantly winning the Turner Prize, perhaps a shift in expectation has been initiated. Perhaps art has a practical capacity that directly improves and enriches day-to-day life, and that is thoughtful to the needs of communities and strives for wider outreach programmes. Perhaps it is steeped within the basic fabric of society, rather than on the outside attempting to challenge or disrupt. Is Assemble art? Perhaps, perhaps not. But it’s about a million times more intriguing that Gilbert and George’s new offering.
In light of this, I reflect on my current project ‘Perfume as Practice’. I have always said that my work is always about finding alternative functions and solutions for everyday objects and pre-conceived notions, thus enriching and enhancing our understanding of the physical world. But more that that, I would hope my art de-constructs the context around objects; removing the fragrance industry from perfumery, for example, allows perfume to be honest, personal, and bespoke – offering a platform for creative activity. Essentially, I wish to take products and use art to bring them to a direct real and communicable level, which I hope is a real and direct way of approaching creative practice.
Over the last week or so I have been concerned with the identity of painting. Specifically, I have been thinking about how the practice of painting can be deemed irrelevant if the paint itself contains enough conceptual prowess. This post really acts as a steam of initial thoughts towards a more refined idea of how paint and painting can be perceived. Well, there goes…
Painting no longer has to exist on a surface. Indeed, when applied to a surface, paint becomes condemned – Fated to be judged with the attachment of subject matter and blinkered by the boundaries of a canvas. Allowing paint to exist untouched achieves a coherent sense of liberation and purity, which can be applied metaphorically to political and social instances or regarded as just that – pure, untouched and alive with potential. Painting, then, no longer has to exist with an identity, as the raw medium of paint is able to obtain identity without even being applied to a surface.
That is not to say painting is without relevance. Painting is a language able to describe the invisible and allow an audience to engage, to connect and to regard the physical world qualitatively. However, if painting is approached conceptually, than that concept doesn’t have to exist within painting. It can, however, exist within paint. These images detail a concept that exists within paint but not painting. That is, a deliberate lack of identity for the sake of raw possibility.
Moreover, the very practice of painting is now disposable – It is interchangeable with other cultural, social and political endeavours. It exists between meals; is halted when your favourite program is on TV; dismissed in favour or dicking about on the internet; or not even considered due to the sheer breath of cultural activities available.
I myself am interested in the consumable nature of the paints I make – and how they can exist isolated from contemporary art environments – in shops and supermarkets, ready to be purchased and consumed. Indeed, I have considered popping along to my local corner shop and simply leaving a jar of paint or two on a shelf – a piece of conceptual innovation in amongst the chopped tomatoes and pickled onions. A jar of paint as an object is small, fragile and inconspicuous, but that it represents is loaded with possibility and transcendence.
…There! All done! It’s good to actually begin to solidify these ideas just by writing them down. Some of this stuff I’ll probably deem untrue or irrelevant over the next few weeks/days/seconds. Still, that’s part of the fun of it all!