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It’s that time of year again! No, not the January blues; I am in fact talking about my twice-yearly undertaking of deciding on visual liveries for a new range of perfumes. My upcoming solo exhibition at Lumen Crypt Gallery will feature a range of perfumes housed under the theme of astronomy. As such I deem it pertinent to centre visual embellishments and liveries directly on the theme:

Currently, I am designing the visual embellishments of my upcoming show under two caveats – firstly, I don’t know the exact size, shape or nuances of the exhibition space (a fact that will be rectified in February) so I’m currently rather tentatively and rather broadly exploring the theme of astronomy in order to ascertain connections between it and perfumery. This generally centres on the mutually intangible quality of both space and fragrance, and the tension between the inherently domestic context of fragrance and the somewhat more expansive environment of astronomy.

Secondly, I strive to uncover ways of looking at astrology in a way that differs, or develops, my previous foray into the theme, which occurred during my solo show at Surface Gallery in November 2017:

My Surface Gallery show utilised constellations as a means of depicting connections between each perfume. Useful shorthand, for sure, but do I want to utilise the same aesthetic again, to the same end? Or should I strive to look deeper into the workings of astronomy in order to uncover something with more profanity?

I will decide on visual designs soon, but I don’t have all that long to dwell, as the opening of my show will be on 4th April 2019 at Lumen Crypt Gallery, London.


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Looking back on my creative output over the last year, I’d have to conclude that I have had a relatively successful 2018 – I have delivered on my promise of staging two Perfume as Practice shows a year, immersed myself in the possibilities of candle making in contemporary art, and have reached new audiences both nationally and internationally. So I guess I can’t complain!

This year, I endeavoured to stage both Perfume as Practice shows outside Sheffield. This was an effort to extend my audience reach and introduce new sets of people to the artistic possibilities of perfumery. To that end, I have been successful, as my shows were staged at BasementArtsProject, Leeds, and Bureau Centre for the Arts, Blackburn. (In fact, you can still see my work at BasementArtsProject until the end of January!)

I wanted to see a tangible development in Perfume as Practice – both in terms of the quality of the perfumes made and audience expectation. This was achieved by placing Perfume as Practice in contexts and spaces previously untapped: My exhibition in Blackburn placed perfumery within the context of religion while my exhibition in Leeds was a joint show, placing Perfume as Practice alongside the work of artist Emilia Telese.

One of the failures of my 2017 was that I involved myself in too many group exhibitions, thus compromising the quality of my output. This has been rectified this year as I have carefully selected opportunities relevant to the development of my practice.

I also embarked on a new project; Scents of Our Time. This took the guise of a residency at Access Space and a solo show at Mugen Tea House. In hindsight, the process of using candle making to describe news stories is very immersive, and probably works best as a residency. I think the jury is still out on how an audience responds to it, but there is certainly a lot of potential in the idea and I will seek new opportunities to develop the idea in the new year.

I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone involved in making my 2018 such a success and, actually, a very enjoyable year. I think I feel completely at ease with Perfume as Practice as an idea, and now just seek to hone it, push it in new directions and reach new audiences.

2019 promises to be rather exciting – it will see me stage my first solo show in London, embark on new Perfume as Practice shows in Wolverhampton and Bristol, and continue to stage events and workshops that provide an insight into my unique approach to perfume making and ways of utilising scent in art. Looking forward to it!


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Recently I took part in Yorkshire Artspace’s Open Studio event, which as ever attracted hundreds of visitors to my very studio. During the event I exhibited my usual array of scented delights and workshop promotional material.

I tend to use open studios to trial new bodies of work and new approaches to utilising scent within contemporary art practice in order to gauge an audience’s reaction. This year was no different as I displayed a range of necklaces with scented elements:

The overarching aim was to reveal the capacity scent has for storytelling; each necklace is based on a certain narrative, which has been interpreted through scent design and visual embellishment. These narratives range from Shakespearean quotes to Greek mythology.

Subconsciously, the necklaces have no-doubt been inspired by a collaborative trio of work designed by myself and Emilia Telese for our joint exhibition at BasementArtsProject, Leeds.

One of these pieces is a pomander that describes a certain utility for perfume historically. It also notes that, at one point in time, the notion of utilising a portable container to carry fragrance around in was a somewhat innovative concept.

I don’t know whether these scented necklaces will reach the point whereby they are formally exhibited, or whether they are even a body of work I will continue to make. But as a fine art perfumer seeking to uncover new ways of representing scent within art, they at least mark a distinct body of work.


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The last 3 weeks have seen me fully engrossed in Desire and Alchemy: an exhibition at BasementArtsProject, Leeds that houses my latest set of perfumes. It is the sixth occasion a range of my perfume portraits has been themed and staged within a contemporary art gallery. However, in an effort instigate professional development; both in terms of how an audience regards my work and how collaboration can inform practice, this exhibition marks the first time Perfume as Practice has been placed alongside the work of another artist.

Desire and Alchemy is an exhibition by two artists – myself and Emilia Telese. We actually met on this very platform and, through extended conversation over the last year; we endeavoured to stage an exhibition that developed our body of work in new directions while contributing to the overall discourse regarding scent as a means of communication within contemporary art.

My own work – entitled Perfume as Practice AW18 – is an installation that comprises 13 perfumes, two sculptural works with scented elements and a painting that pertains to the theme of alchemy. Indeed, the entire installation takes influence from alchemist practices in an effort to respond to the space:

Telese’s work – entitled Scents of Self – utilises Scratch and Sniff technology to explore image, pattern and body. Her work invites the viewer to touch the artwork in order to reveal scents hidden within:

The exhibition also comprises a joint piece of work that places perfumery within historical contexts. The piece aims to reveal enlightening and unexpected utilities for perfume that may confound expectations of what perfume can be:

Overall, the exhibition feels very accomplished. I think the reason for this is, chiefly, is because from the outset Emilia and I were aware of the perils of devising scented experiences in art; they often come across as gimmicky, or auxiliary. I feel as though we both attempted to combat this by being disciplined and stringent in sticking to a craft; be it performance, scratch and sniff technology or perfume design. This enabled an audience to appreciate how our work was made, and the fact that our creative processes directly include perfume as a material allows the exhibition to reveal how scent can be contemplated as an art form in alignment with painting and sculpture.

BasementArtsProject has held two events during Desire and Alchemy; an Opening Evening and a Lunchtime conversation. These events offered the opportunity for Emilia and I to talk about our work to an audience. As Perfume as Practice is an ongoing body of work, with each exhibition informing the other, I always deem it useful to explain the project in its entirety before explaining the nuances and developments of the specific exhibition. Sometimes I wonder about the value of doing this, or whether it’s an overabundance of information, but generally audiences seem responsive enough. Hopefully each Perfume as Practice exhibition elicits an unexpected gallery experience, which in turn provokes more curiosity in the project as a whole.

To conclude, Desire and Alchemy has been a very rewarding experience and I hope Emilia and I will work together again. The exhibition runs by appointment until 19th November. So you still have time to catch it. See BasementArtsProject.com for details.


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Since early September I have been working on an upcoming Perfume as Practice range of fragrances ready for exhibiting at BasementArtsProject, Leeds. It will take a departure from my usual approach and process to Perfume as Practice exhibitions. Firstly, rather than a display of portraits, my perfumes will each describe the reasons why artists make art – revealing the capacity perfume has for socially engaged creative action.

Secondly, the exhibition – entitled Desire and Alchemy – will mark the first time Perfume as Practice has been placed alongside another artist – Emilia Telese.

Emilia and I both have an established interest in utilising scent within our artistic practice, with the aim of revealing how scent can be a powerful and meaningful mode of communication.

My work – Entitled Perfume as Practice AW18 – will house 15 perfumes, and will take influence from alchemist practices in order to achieve desired fragrances, with the viewer invited to experience and interact with each perfume.

Telese’s work – entitled Scents of Self – will utilise Scratch and Sniff technology to explore image, pattern and body. Her work will invite the viewer to touch the artwork in order to reveal scents hidden within.

The Opening Evening will be on Friday 19th October from 7.30-9.30pm. The evening is free, and both artists on hand to discuss their work. Refreshments will also be available.

If you can make it, it would be great to see you!


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