Consenses Interview with Sally Taylor:
What made you want to participate in this project? At first, I wasn’t sure about the project because I’m such a control freak. The thought that I wouldn’t be involved in how the next artist would interpret my fragrance made me a bit nervous. I was also anxious about the art work I was to receive and work from. When I thought about the energy of a chain reaction, I recognized that this exchange of creative force happens all the time – even when we think I am in control. When I surrendered to this idea, I knew that it would be a creative challenge as well as an emotional evolution. I thought this would be a great way for me to expand as an artist and person.
What was your first reaction to the image? (thoughts, emotions, memories, tastes, sounds etc?) Oh god. I really resisted it. I wasn’t sure about the meaning. A million questions ran through my mind. Who is the artist? What were they thinking when they created this? What if I don’t capture the meaning? It’s confusing and not my aesthetic. What does this artwork smell like – is it earthy or is it galactic? Should it be complex or simple? Should I enhance one part of the image or the whole thing? When I just sat with the art work and put all these questions outside of me, I could begin to appreciate the artwork for what it was. When I relaxed into the energy of the artwork, I began to have a series of visions, inspirations and emotions. I found myself then going into the artwork and then going within myself. That’s when I realized, I was part of the chain reaction.
What was this image about in your mind? What was the story? When I relaxed into the artwork, I could see the many layers – both in terms of the artwork but more so spiritually and emotionally. I saw the various elements of my own life. Some parts I resisted and some parts I found humor in. I could see duality of the tiny microcosm juxtaposed with the macrocosm of the Universe at large. I could see then that this image and my part in it was just a sliver.
What did you name your scent and why? I decided to call it Gateway. I hope my fragrance gives the viewer space to sink into the artwork with deeper resonance. I created the fragrance based on the energy of the artwork and the experience of going up and down a helix – much like the chakra system. When I completed the fragrance, I found that it enhanced my experience with the artwork on a deep cosmic but primal level – I felt the essence of humanity and the omnipotence of Spirit.
What part of the image informed you’re interpretation the most (colors, shapes, spacing etc)? I thought the horizon between the bottom of the artwork and the top of the artwork was the most poignant – hence the name Gateway.
What part of your scent came to you first? I was fortunate to work with materials from a fellow perfumer, Christi Meshell, another perfumer whose work is being exhibited. It’s not everyday that one gets invited to sit at another perfumer’s organ. Much like a chef visiting and cooking in someone else’s kitchen, it certainly stretched me as an artist. I don’t usually work with all naturals but for this project, I did. I focused on the bottom of the artwork first – the bass notes. Then I moved up the scale and worked on the middle notes (the horizon in the artwork), then the top notes (the galaxy in the artwork). It seemed to also mesh with the chakras – going from the base of the spine, up the center of the body and then out the top of the head. It was a meditative experience for me.
What was your process? How did you take your original reaction to the image and turn it into this fragrance? Creating this Gateway fragrance was like a spiritual transformation. When I think about working through my original resistance and creating something truly beautiful, I felt it was a true chain reaction – an alchemical metamorphosis. In this way, I hope the person who experiences the fragrance and artwork will have their own awakening. Even if they recognize their aversion – that’s something too. So often, we try to hide our distaste but often times, the thing we resist is the thing that has the most healing power.
How do you normally create? How was this experience different? Usually, I create something that is from within. Though when I create for a client, they usually have a specific idea in mind. This was a piece without commercial restrictions and that felt liberating. Though it was a bit difficult to try to imagine how the user will experience it, I felt relieve to be free of that responsibility.
What techniques/tools did you use to help you express you’re interpretation? I was really happy to work Christi’s materials. It freed me up to create something new because I was working with materials I don’t normally work with. I could also speak to her about my emotional journey and that was really fantastic because usually I work in a void by myself. I also thought the visual stimulus was a unique experience. Usually, my artwork and branding for a new fragrance comes after I create the fragrance. In this case, the visual was created first. Are there certain choices you made which mean something specific to you that the observer might not know? The structure of the fragrance has much to do with the chakra system rather than a traditional perfume structure. I also created the fragrance to be an environmental fragrance rather than a personal fragrance. When people experience this fragrance, it will be around them rather than on their skin. It is much more subtle rather than in your face. You kind of have to lean into the fragrance just like releasing into the artwork. It’s very much about loosing oneself to find oneself.
Extra credit: Did you enjoy this project? More you want to say about your experience? I did enjoy the project after all. When I have to stretch myself, I grow as a spirit. When that happens, there’s a crack in consciousness – a gateway. You can’t go back – it’s magical.