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  1. #1

    Default Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Perfume making is not usually recognized as an art form... Art historians do not list the history of perfume making in their books, or the most traditional houses and schools, or the most revolutionary fragrances. Perfumes are considered a good, something that is manufactured and sold for consumption, like food or drinks.

    But can perfume making be considered an art form? Do perfumes express ideas and feelings? Are fragrances complex and full of meaning? Is perfume making an activity that demands lots of creativity, knowledge, and a refined sense of beauty?

    If the answer to most of these questions is Yes, I should conclude that perfume making is indeed an art form, and should be considered as such by academics and by people in general. Perfume making should then be included in the curricullum of art schools and become a topic in every major book about art, such as Janson's "History of Art"!



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    Last edited by LuciusVorenus; 23rd January 2008 at 07:11 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    You can paint a picture with smell the same you can with words.

    It takes alot less time to see the picture with smell.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Artisanry is a better categorization for the basis and origin of perfumery, but artisanry can always be raised to a fine art by skillful practitioners. The traditions and formulations of perfumery are now so elaborate and require such a degree of skill to master artfully that I have no doubt it is among the fine arts in our day.
    Last edited by JaimeB; 22nd January 2008 at 05:32 AM.
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  4. #4

    Post Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Of the highest order! Instead of it going on canvas, it goes into a bottle.
    Don't panic. Just stay calm, and reload....

  5. #5

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I agree with Jaime B that historically and culturally it belongs to artisanry rather than art. It was never something created either for its own sake as an autonomous statement OR serving as an object through which a society consciously reflects, negotiates or criticizes itself and its values.
    You could make a point though, that since the 1960s "art" has become entirely commodififed and reproducible and thus has itself become indistinguishable from other objects, except for the social rituals surrounding it (galleries, auctions, exhibitions), while some niche and independent perfumers have been pushing towards art by creating unwearable olfactory statements. So perhaps the lines have been blurring since Odeur 53.
    99.9% of all produced and consumed perfume however, is simply an industrially manufactured fashion accessoire, no more, no less.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    In my opinion:

    "Art" is a commodification of the artisan's (craftsperson's) skill so that it can be traded for money and used as objects which signify status. Since "postmodernism" art has become an ironic representation of the commodification of a lack of craft and skill which is appropriate only to the zeitgeist and intrinstically valueless.

    In two thousand years time who is going to dig up a preserved sheep and marvel over it? A skillfully crafted carving will always be recognised.

    Perfume is a craft of real value.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    There will always be the great art/craft debate. I come from a family of artists and musicians. Of course great art also has great craftsmanship, (or at least a great concept). Art is sometimes created to be experienced (as in performance or instillation pieces), or sometimes to be simply viewed (paintings...no touch!). However some traditionally "crafted" items, such as weavings or pottery are not created to be functional, that is, to be touched or used; they exist to be viewed and appreciated.

    I agree that perfumary is an artform. It is not mearly "functional", it is an expression. Perfume can be the perfumer's illustration, or the wearers interpretaion of a time, place, emotion, or abstract concept. To me, that is wearable art.
    ~Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possesed this scent, his life would have no meaning.~
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

  8. #8

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Yes perfume creation is an artform - an artform of the sense of smell. Like music perfume works with only two dimensions and therefore is a little difficult for people to study it with logic (intellect is a tool of the 4th dimension as it encompasses the 3rd). Smell is very subjective and we need to develop objective reference points to study fragrance with. Music can at least be digitized or reproduced in chart form or electronic form - this greatly facilitates the recognition of its artform status. The understanding of music as sound notes gives it context so the intellect can study it. It can be reliably reproduced. Smell is still very subjective and needs evolution of its structure to have reproduceable standards. I know Luca Turin was working on this idea as well as other chemists in the field, but so far it's still a "hidden art". The key to recognition of perfumery as an arform will be the ability to have a reliable intellectual construct of how smell works. That's happening, but slowly.

    Scent creation should be elevated to official fine art status, in my opinion. Wouldn't it be great to be able to visit a museum that kept all of the greatest scents that have been created for all to enjoy and experience! Basenotes is doing its part to help awaken awareness of perfume as an art.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlepuff View Post
    Wouldn't it be great to be able to visit a museum that kept all of the greatest scents that have been created for all to enjoy and experience! Basenotes is doing its part to help awaken awareness of perfume as an art.
    Fantastic, Buzzlepuff! I would LOVE perfume museums with curators that you could really talk to about the scent history, take tours of the different scent family rooms...Oh! they should have one in every city!
    ~Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possesed this scent, his life would have no meaning.~
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

  10. #10

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Perfume is a consumable good. You buy a bottle, use it daily, and eventually the bottle is gone. Same with food. Yes, it is a stimulant of the senses just like music is, but perfume is not generally created for its own sake. It has functional end.

    IMO the status of art is not within its form, but in its context and intention. When you buy a bottle of Clive Christian in astore, no matter how expensive it is, you are not buying art.
    Last edited by irish; 19th April 2009 at 11:46 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I disagree. Perfumes are not like daily food. Perfumes are collected and exhibited, and above all, bring sensorial experiences to the person who wears them. Perfumes can be used to tell a message (I am sophisticated, I am delicate, I am macho, I am looking for sex). Perfumes can recreate atmospheres and bring back memories. Perfumes can express the love that you feel for another person. Therefore perfumes have a higher meaning and are not exclusively a hedonic product.

    The Greek pottery from the 5th century BC are considered Art, however when they were made, they were used not only as decoration, but also to carry things. They had a functional end. Are you trying to convince me that greek pottery is not art?

    Lucius


    Quote Originally Posted by irish View Post
    Perfume is a consumable good. You buy a bottle use it daily and eventually the bottle is gone. Same with food. YEs it is a stimulant of the senses just like music is, but perfume is not generally created for its own sake. It has functional end.

    IMO the status of art is not within its form, but in its context and intention. When you buy a bottle of Clive Christian in astore, no matter how expensive it is, you are not buying art.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Yes perfume is art - art is best defined by the effort, skill, experience and imagination of its creator.
    Non est ars quae ad effectum casu venit. - That which achieves its effect by accident is not art. (Seneca)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I don't believe in the concept of art as an absolute i.e. we draw the line at such and such a place, and everything on one side is art. Art is, from what I can tell, fairly inseparable from our notions of entertainment; smelling nice is entertaining, and involves a creative element, so I have no hesitation in calling perfumery art.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 23rd January 2008 at 06:29 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    As Andy Warhol said, Art is a man's name.
    You can declare perfume art. nothing wrong with that.
    I'll settle for a few selected perfumes striving to transcend their functionality as a commercial quasi-cosmetic product, created by a nose with an artistic vision that doesn't care in the least whether his/her creation will be bought or worn. But for virtually all perfumers, companies and consumers perfume is exactly what Irish defined it to be.

    Cabage patch dolls are also collected - art?
    sensorial experience, memories - is Proust's Madeleine art?
    the messages you list are about as functional as it gets:- I'm looking for sex - that's art ?

    Of course we're moving within bourgeois definitions if art here, as they have only existed since the late 18th century. Nobody considered Bach or Rembrandt art until they were celebrated as geniuses in the 19th century.

    Perfume is beautiful - that suffices for me. And has hirch_duckfinder noted, perhaps calling something art these days can be considered an insult of sorts

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post
    I disagree. Perfumes are not like daily food. Perfumes are collected and exhibited, and above all, bring sensorial experiences to the person who wears them. Perfumes can be used to tell a message (I am sophisticated, I am delicate, I am macho, I am looking for sex). Perfumes can recreate atmospheres and bring back memories. Perfumes can express the love that you feel for another person. Therefore perfumes have a higher meaning and are not exclusively a hedonic product.

    The Greek pottery from the 5th century BC are considered Art, however when they were made, they were used not only as decoration, but also to carry things. They had a functional end. Are you trying to convince me that greek pottery is not art?

    Lucius
    Last edited by the_good_life; 23rd January 2008 at 06:45 PM.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    If you take away sensorial experiences and messages from art, what is left? Nothing. These are two of the things that help to define art. Perfumes do possess these two things. And the messages expressed by them are not always basic and simple as in my examples. Perfumes can express spirituality and higher-level emotions and ideals.

    First class parfumerie can surely be considered art. I have no doubt about that.

    Lucius

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    Last edited by LuciusVorenus; 23rd January 2008 at 07:10 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    As Andy Warhol said, Art is a man's name.
    You can declare perfume art. nothing wrong with that.
    I'll settle for a few selected perfumes striving to transcend their functionality as a commercial quasi-cosmetic product, created by a nose with an artistic vision that doesn't care in the least whether his/her creation will be bought or worn. But for virtually all perfumers, companies and consumers perfume is exactly what Irish defined it to be.

    Cabage patch dolls are also collected - art?
    sensorial experience, memories - is Proust's Madeleine art?
    the messages you list are about as functional as it gets:- I'm looking for sex - that's art ?

    Of course we're moving within bourgeois definitions if art here, as they have only existed since the late 18th century. Nobody considered Bach or Rembrandt art until they were celebrated as geniuses in the 19th century.

    Perfume is beautiful - that suffices for me. And has hirch_duckfinder noted, perhaps calling something art these days can be considered an insult of sorts
    Great great stuff, TGL. It's always a pleasure to think these things through again, and from a variety of points. It'll be a week before I bump into a thought I'll learn from like this one, or perhaps it'll just be until I read your next post.
    Thanks,
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Good, but not great.

    Lucius

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Perfume-making is art in its purest form. One can always remember a painting, and where they saw it, same with sculpture.
    But a fragrance takes you back to the moment you first experienced it, that is the truest art. This is not even mentioning the ability to take raw ingredients, that smell hideous in some instances, and create a scent so beautiful and moving. In music, an 'off' note sounds terrible, but the note still has beauty. In fragrance if a note is 'off', the whole piece is a disaster...there is no beauty in the off note.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

  19. #19

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post
    Good, but not great.

    Lucius

    .
    Meaning?
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Meaning that I still think my view is correct! I remain censorious and unconvinced of his ideas.

    In a friendly way, of course.

    Love,
    Lucius

    .
    Last edited by LuciusVorenus; 23rd January 2008 at 07:20 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post

    Of course we're moving within bourgeois definitions if art here, as they have only existed since the late 18th century. Nobody considered Bach or Rembrandt art until they were celebrated as geniuses in the 19th century.
    Exactly - art is a very strange, contemporary notion.

    Lookinglass said: There will always be the great art/craft debate.

    I disagree. This debate is only very recent.
    Last edited by hirch_duckfinder; 23rd January 2008 at 07:23 PM.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

    reviews

  22. #22

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post
    Meaning that I still think my view is correct! I remain censorious and unconvinced of his ideas.

    In a friendly way, of course.

    Love,
    Lucius

    .
    Allow me to point out then that this is an Internet discussion, and that a thread is a gathering of ideas. Each post is a contribution of how a fellow member veiws the question. As such we have a rich range of ideas from which we can see things from different perspectives as we consider our own. A thread is not a gathering of ideas toward a conclusion, toward a right answer, toward any persuasion. Think your view is correct! You've said your view several times and readers of the board will be able to consider it thanks to your posts. Readers will also be challenged by other thoughts present here, and whether one is challenged and provoked by an idea and says so does not at all mean agreement with it.

    I find the better thoughts on the board are the ones without an end. Without certainty. Without final closing. Without the object of "persuade me."
    --Chris
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Of course I know all that.

    But I think it is my right to give some feedback about how I reacted to the things that were posted in response to my own ideas. It may stimulate the other part to improve his reasoning, or give me a better view of what he/she thinks.

    That's what intellectuals and scientists do. They aim to find the truth. They try to find patterns in the world by exposing their ideas, testing them and interacting with others who will further test these ideas. We are not scientists here, but I don't believe our threads are empty discussions or merely lists of what each person thinks. There is interaction here.... exposal and testing of ideas.

    I am sorry if that sounds too confrontational. But I really don't mean anything personal against anyone. I just want to find out which idea is closer to the truth.

    Love,
    Lucius
    Last edited by LuciusVorenus; 23rd January 2008 at 07:41 PM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Let the record show that LuciusVorenus's response is "good, but not great" then.


    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post
    Of course I know all that.

    But I think it is my right to give some feedback about how I reacted to the things that were posted in response to my own ideas. It may stimulate the other part to improve his reasoning, or give me a better view of what he/she thinks.

    That's what intellectuals and scientists do. They aim to find the truth. They try to find patterns in the world by exposing their ideas, testing them and interacting with others who will further test these ideas. We are not scientists here, but I don't believe our threads are empty discussions or merely lists of what each person thinks. There is interaction here.... exposal and testing of ideas.

    I am sorry if that sounds too confrontational. But I really don't mean anything personal against anyone. I just want to find out which idea is closer to the truth.

    Love,
    Lucius
    Last edited by DustB; 23rd January 2008 at 07:46 PM. Reason: Quoted material added
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I will settle with good!

    Love,
    Lucius

  26. #26

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I see big perfume houses as the "Thomas Kinkade"s of perfumery.
    That is, mass produced, still kind of pretty, but harder to appreciate due to the scale on which its all made.

    I do consider the creation an art form, I just heard a podcast about a book...http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...238465&sc=emaf

    Sounds like art to me.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Discussions like this is why I appreciate Dada art.
    Whether it is art or not, I value the great work of people that know how to create a good of quality. I really could not care less if the niche perfume I use, or if the haute cuisine (or even if it is called haute or not) I sometimes eat is a form of art. The title in itself does not enhance their delicious properties. If the chef or the perfumer wants to believe it is, then so be it.
    I just do not need a title making my perfume more expensive.
    Last edited by irish; 19th April 2009 at 11:48 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post

    That's what intellectuals and scientists do. They aim to find the truth. [...] I just want to find out which idea is closer to the truth.

    Love,
    Lucius
    But you are surely aware that no serious intellectual or scientist still subscribes to the notion of truth with a capital T - the idea that there is such a thing as an objective perspective. "Truth" is at best an intersubjective consensus by a (professional) community that has agreed on certain norms and procedures to judge issues.

    The art historians' community thus agrees that Rembrandt is a more relevant artist than Joe Blow from Columbus Ohio, and no one would seriously dispute this. The community of noses and/or perfume lovers agrees that Patou pour homme is a greater perfume than Diesel Fuel for Life (based on standards such as quality of ingredients and blending or originality. The community of accountants might judge the latter to be the "better" perfume in terms of commercial success).

    But whether perfume is an art form is not a question where consensus is possible, as there isn't even one on how to define art. Discussions like this are thus inevitably open ended, though they might help you to arrive at your own, personal truth.
    Last edited by the_good_life; 24th January 2008 at 11:39 AM.
    My Wardrobe
    II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Yes, I said that you aim is for the truth, but what you get is only closer to it. I know we are not discussing pure mathematics here. We are discussing subjective issues and ways to classify things. It is very rare to find perfect consensus about such matters. But you can always try to improve it. This need to improve things is one of the best things in the human spirit, IMHO!

    Lucius


    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    But you are surely aware that no serious intellectual or scientist still subscribes to the notion of truth with a capital T - the idea that there is such a thing as an objective perspective. "Truth" is at best an intersubjective consensus by a (professional) community that has agreed on certain norms and procedures to judge issues.

    The art historians' community thus agrees that Rembrandt is a more relevant artist than Joe Blow from Columbus Ohio, and no one would seriously dispute this. The community of noses and/or perfume lovers agrees that Patou pour homme is a greater perfume than Diesel Fuel for Life (based on standards such as quality of ingredients and blending or originality. The community of accountants might judge the latter to be the "better" perfume in terms of commercial success).

    But whether perfume is an art form is not a question where consensus is possible, as there isn't even one on how to define art. Discussions like this are thus inevitably open ended, though they might help you to arrive at your own, personal truth.
    Last edited by LuciusVorenus; 24th January 2008 at 12:16 PM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by irish View Post
    Perfume is a consumable good. You buy a bottle use it daily and eventually the bottle is gone. Same with food.
    I noticed that I could live without wearing a scent, but I can not live without smelling beautiful perfumes. The more I am interested in scents, the less it is functional (perfumes - cosmetic) to me.

    Noses usually don't wear perfumes. I think it's not only functional thing - to eliminate unnecessary scents.
    Perfumers feel that they are creators and they enjoy perfumes "outside".

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    As Andy Warhol said, Art is a man's name.
    Perfume is beautiful - that suffices for me. And has hirch_duckfinder noted, perhaps calling something art these days can be considered an insult of sorts
    What is art and what is not - the question of agreement, the question of power.
    In postmodernity using deconstructive method you can prove that everything is an art and everything isn't.
    I think it is. But I don't know whether it is really so. I don't even know aren't we all dreaming instead of living.
    The only citerion to me is beauty - I choose more beautiful instead of beautiful and call it an art.
    Last edited by DreamerII; 24th January 2008 at 07:46 PM.
    "PLAIN LIVING, HIGH THINKING" O.W., De Profundis
    Real beauty: 1) Frederic Malle 1-20 2) Chanel Egoiste 3) YSL Opium pour Homme edp 4) TF Noir de Noir

    Noses: 1) Jacques Cavallier 2) Maurice Roucel

  31. #31

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    I think fragrance making comes down to chemistry, but who says science can't be beautiful? The human body is wonderful example. We break it down through science, yet we are the artists who use it as a form of expression. Much like fragrance.
    Sometime I wish the aliens would abduct me and crown me as their leader.
    George Noory

  32. #32

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    oooh, well played!

  33. #33

    Default Re: Is Perfume-Making an Art form?

    Quote Originally Posted by LuciusVorenus View Post
    Yes, I said that you aim is for the truth, but what you get is only closer to it. I know we are not discussing pure mathematics here. We are discussing subjective issues and ways to classify things. It is very rare to find perfect consensus about such matters. But you can always try to improve it. This need to improve things is one of the best things in the human spirit, IMHO!
    Lucius
    Are our favorite perfumers Artistes, Artisans, or both? I am quite comfortable with the idea that everything to do with perfume has more than one aspect. It requires knowledge and skills, talent and intuition to make the right products. But perfume does not just serve a purpose. The value of our holy grails goes far beyond that. A good perfume stirs good and deep emotions, and is precious to our hearts. More than 1% of all perfumes I know and care for are in the ranks of, say, a Schubert song, or a Callas CD. Not simply enjoyable but always a fascinating trip into other spheres.
    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlepuff View Post
    ...Scent creation should be elevated to official fine art status, in my opinion. Wouldn't it be great to be able to visit a museum that kept all of the greatest scents that have been created for all to enjoy and experience! Basenotes is doing its part to help awaken awareness of perfume as an art.


    31.1. ps: LuciusVorenus, where are you ?
    Last edited by narcus; 31st January 2008 at 08:42 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

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