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Last week I talked about common initial reactions to my work, this week I thought I’d bring to light another preconception I have to contend with – which is that scent in art is gimmicky.

While I think that can certainly be true. I don’t think my work is. And here’s why: I am remaining true to a craft.

Perfumery is difficult, and requires extensive knowledge of scent, fragrance families, how the nose receives smells and how to delicately balance oils in order to achieve a high quality fragrance. Indeed becoming a Master Perfumer requires around 20 years of honing the craft. This is what allows my own work to achieve a certain weight and depth, as being sensitive to the craft of perfumery enables me to utilise a tangible skill that can be learned, refined and – crucially – imparted. This in turn allows the exchange knowledge, thoughts and experiences which an audience can engage with.

Not that I intend to emulate Master Perfumers, as I believe placing perfumery into a contemporary art platform allows for a degree of experimentation, innovation, freedom and failure that you seemly don’t get with conventional perfumery and it’s need to turn profit. But I do want to subvert common preconceptions of perfume, and you can’t subvert something effectively without first immersing yourself in it.



Upon contemplating my work, and the processes behind my work, initial reactions from an audience almost always tend towards how scent evokes memory. Over the years I have accepted this as an inevitability, and it’s not as though I begrudge such responses, but I do strive against utilising it in my work.

Why? Well for a few reasons. Firstly, if I aim to confound and challenge perceptions of scent and what scent can be, then I need to remove myself from preconceived concepts. Besides which scent and memory have been exploited in creative practice many times, and I see no reason to contribute to such themes myself.

Secondly, while it’s hard to argue the neurological links between scent and memory, it certainly isn’t unique as all the senses have connections with memory. Given this, it’s reasonable to theorise that scent has links to our relationship with the world that exist away from memory.

And it’s these other possible relationships between scent and ourselves that I seek to discover, refine and utilise. Contributing to a wider discussion about scent relative to our lives and contributing to our collective knowledge of scent in a way which adds to our understanding of it is when I position myself and my creative practice.