October will see me utilise this blog for documenting, describing and assessing my Orchard Square artist’s residency. We’re just over a week in and I feel as though I have began to assert my creative integrity within the space.
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.
And what of an audience? 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.
October will see me utilise this blog for documenting, describing and assessing my Orchard Square artist’s residency.
The residency 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 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.
The residency began on Saturday, and as such the first few days have involved getting acquainted with the space. 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. So in terms of displaying work, I want to move away from designing a conventional exhibition and strive to achieve something more interwoven with the consultancy process. Exactly how this will emerge is yet to be seen, but I still have over three weeks to refine the space. Onwards and upwards!
My upcoming solo exhibition at Surface Gallery, Nottingham, will see me exhibit 20 perfumes. Each perfume will be a portrait of another artist, achieved through an established process that begins by asking artists the question ‘why do you make art?’ Then, through a method of intuition and investigation, I choose relevant and meaningful oils based on the answer received in order to create a fragrance that captures the essence of who you are.
What I need first and foremost though is 20 artists willing to provide a response to the question ‘why do you make art?’ So if you’re an artist (in any sense of the word) and are interested in the idea of encapsulating your persona in fragrance, then I’d love to hear from you with a response to the question ‘Why do you make art?’
The call out works on a first-come-first-served basis. But if I do already have 20 artists by the time you submit your response don’t worry – I’ll use it for one of my solo shows coming up in 2018.
Looking forward to reading your responses and getting to work creating wonderful fragrances!
Perfume as Practice will run at Surface Gallery from 3rd – 18th November 2017.
Last week I had a holiday along the North Yorkshire Coast, taking in Whitby, Staithes and Robin Hood’s Bay. I didn’t get any work done but, as is the way with these things, I did draw in a little inspiration from my surroundings and experiences.
Chiefly, I re-considered the processes and functions that drive artists to work on the coast. I had an idea a few months ago to limit my perfume portraits to artists that work on the coast in order to reveal the collective and personal thoughts and inspirations shared between artists and their communities. This may be something I wish to revisit next summer as the environmental, economic and social differences that exist between the coast and inland is tangible, and as such artists occupy them differently.
Also of note is the notion of the Hand of Glory and the powers attributed therein. A Hand of Glory for those who don’t know is a pickled hand of a man who has been hanged which has subsequently been combined with a candle made from his fat. A Hand of Glory is also primed with various beliefs and legends, including the ability to unlock any door and the power to render people motionless.
As gruesome as it all sounds I believe it can be utilised in my own practice – particularly within candle making. Primarily, the historical and mythical contexts Hands of Glory are placed in can be re-imagined and re-evaluated within a fine art platform. It certainly presents another way considering the possibilities of candle making and the capacity candles have for storytelling.
Food for thought, then, certainly. But my holiday also afforded me the energy required to complete the reminder of this year’s creative endeavours. So let’s have it!
My perfumed self portrait is complete and currently nestled between 15 other works in an exhibition curated and devised by myself and artist Sharon Mossbeck entitled Alternative Portraits
The aim of Alternative Portraits is to both investigate and celebrate innovative depictions of portraits, as well as provide a platform for artists who approach portraiture in a fresh and challenging way.
My perfumed self portrait captures the essence of my artist persona, and again highlights the capacity scent has for portraiture and, by extension, contemporary art. This alternative way assessing and responding to scent hopefully informs our knowledge of what scent can be, but either way it certainly befits the exhibition it is currently in: Alternative Portraits represents artists from around the UK and is open at Access Space, Sheffield, until 4th October.