1 Comment

Well I had it all planned out didn’t I? I declared but a few weeks ago that I’d use this blogging space to assess and appraise each of the three planets I’m going to devise a scented experience for in order to devise a strategy going forward. Only problem is in the middle of last week I decided exactly what I was going to do, and what I’m going to do doesn’t need the assessment of each planet. What it needs is consideration of how these planets are related from the context of Greek Mythology.

You see, the planets of my choosing are Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter. When Greek Mythology is applied to these planets, they become Ouranos, Kronos and Zeus. They become Gods. Moreover, Ouranos is Kronos’s father, and Kronos is Zeus’s father. Therefore a direct family line can be traced between all 3. albiet a Godly one.

So what to deduce from this, as a fine art perfumer? Well a there’s certainly something to explore within the concept of the family, especially the capacity families have for history, memory, nostalgia and how such notions link to scent. Often, the first perfume someone experiences is owned by a family member, and this perfume becomes revered due to the trappings of nostalgia.

Informed by this, My work will comprise 3 perfume portraits that represent each God. Each portrait will constitute nominally the same composition, but altered slightly in line with the narrative of each God and their relationship to each other. For example, Uranus will house a musky quality, referencing sex and masculinity; but that will disappear in Saturn’s composition, referencing how Saturn castrated Uranus within Greek mythology. This will highlight the capacity fragrance has for narrative.

The work will also constitute a tension between the domesticity of perfume and the vastness of the cosmos. This will be referenced in the visual aesthetics of each perfume.

In fact, the eagle-eyed amongst you would have noticed that I have included no visual imagery within my blogs recently. This is because I wanted to firm up the conceptual side of things before I committed to any visual design. Now the concept is in mind I will return next week with livery ideas.

Until next time then!


Perfumed Planets #2 – The Smell of the Sky

Uranus – or Ouranos as the Ancient Greeks would have it – is a primal personification of the sky. The sky is an intangible, ethereal entity that possesses a certain mystery; it is a platform we use to place our contemplative, reflective thoughts, which enables us to associate with it from a philosophical standpoint.

So, how does the fine art perfumer contemplate the sky? Can a scented equivalent for the sky be constructed, and does it translate into a viable scented experience for an audience? Well, the mystical quality the sky bears parallels with fragrance; both possess an intangibility but, if we place them together, perhaps we can establish a firmer understanding of both.

But quite how this manifest itself remains to be seen. intuitively I thought about constructing scented equivalents of the colour blue. I thought about using fresh, clean fragrance notes that, when experienced, would conjure up the image of blue. A sound enough starting point but not one I’m particularly excited by.

But over the last week, something struck me – In Greek Mythology, Ouranos is the father of Kronos, and Kronos is the father of my third planet, Jupiter (or Zeus). Therefore, perhaps I need to devise a scented experience that encapsulates all 3 Gods in a manner akin to how family connotations, nostalgia and the intrinsic link between scent and memory plays its part in why people buy perfume.

Therefore, I pose to myself new questions. Namely, could a scented experience be constructed that appraises the relationships between these Gods while retaining the domestic preconceptions we associate with perfume? And simultaneously, would placing the domestic tenancies of perfume within the context of Greek Mythology reveal the capacity fragrance has for narrative, symbolism and art?

Perhaps, but right now things are a little cloudy…


Perfumed Planets #1 – Saturn and Sillage

As my work for my upcoming solo show in Blackburn is ticking along nicely I thought it appropriate to dedicate the next three weeks arriving at some important creative decisions concerning my upcoming exhibition in Athens, entitled ‘Wonderer’. I will use this blog to place my initial thoughts towards in the hope that, over time, such thoughts will crystallise and develop into something viable.

Essentially, Wonderer will see me design three scented experiences based on three planets – Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn. In the spirit of establishing cross-cultural connections between the UK and Greece, I will approach considerations of these planets from a mythological standpoint. As such, Saturn becomes Kronos, Uranus becomes Oranus and Jupiter becomes Zeus.

I begin, for reasons that can only be described as arbitrary, with Kronos. A cursory glance at the mythical history of Kronos point towards a titan that ruled during a golden age, depicted with a scythe – representational of family turmoil – while also being associated with harvest.

So what can we gleam from that from the point of view of a fine art perfumer wishing to utilise Kronos to construct a scented narrative? Instantly, a harvest evokes a multitude of food-based wonders, from fruits and citrus to spices and herbs. All of which could influence the design of a scented experience. But of course, Kronos also alludes to time, and therefore a fragrance could be constructed that takes advantage of the lingering nature of some oils. Dill weed, for example, has a certain weight about it that stays fixed in the air for some time. Could I therefore call on the physical properties of scent to devise a heavy, lingering experience that alludes to Kronos’s connection with time?

Only time will tell…


This week I have been fluctuating between deciding on final fragrance designs for my upcoming exhibition at Bureau and charting a course of action for my olfactive endeavours in 2019. Perhaps being constantly concerned with past, present and future is a bane all artists have to contend with? or maybe, as 2018 incessantly marches onto its third month, I am becoming nervous to the fact that, in a mere 10 months’ time, I’ll be without any confirmed exhibitions.

As such, I pose to myself the question ‘where do you want to exhibit, and why?’ While it’s true that perfume works well in a conventional exhibition space, placing it in less conventional spaces re-contextualises and alters an audiences experience with it.

A recent trip to BasementArtsProject (where I will be exhibiting in a two-man show in October) reaffirmed the fact that placing perfume within certain spaces has a bearing on how we perceive it: It acts similar to my thematic exhibitions, whereby placing perfume within a theme reveals new ways of connecting to fragrance. A Basement is an ideal environment to enlist alchemist and pseudo-scientific narratives as a means of playing with the stereotype of a mad scientist. Suddenly, the experimental nature of fragrance concoction is revealed and will aim to highlight the further possibilities of scent both to myself and an audience.

So, where else? …A botanical garden? That will certainly allow me to directly reference the herbal, medicinal properties found within perfume ingredients. …A Stately Home? I suppose that will allow my work to reference the historical and domestic nature of perfumery. …A pub toilet? That would work as a means of playing with Eau De Toilette and it’s ‘toilet water’ aesthetics. The possibilities are endless!