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  1. #1

    Default Fragrance as art?

    I've been thinking, as I'm beginning my journey into fragrances, that they can sometimes be thought of as artist expressions by their creators. I know they're intended to create profit, but I can imagine someone needing true creativity and inspiration to come up with something genuine and unique. Sometime's I'll smell a fragrance, or consider how it changes over time, and feel as if this is a form of communication, using the medium of scents, by a perfumer trying to express a thought or an idea, or a feeling, or even a place in time. We all have pictures that come to mind when we smell certain fragrances. Considering that smell is the most intimate sense, bypassing the thinking part of the brain and going directly to the subconscious, it would stand, I believe, that scents can be the most intimate form of art as well. What do you think?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Some definitely is -- Slumberhouse for example, or O'Driu are literal, artisanal experiences that take you on an aesthetic trip. The majority of mainstream / mall scents these days merely take you on a trip to the ATM machine.

    But yes, fragrances are certainly art -- but you're best served focusing on the ones who treat it as such as opposed to focus-grouped mass-marketed stuff designed by a bunch of corporate execs and produced in factories.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    This is a huge question.

    Historically, the answer has generally been 'no' (at least in Western philosophy) - the ephemeral nature of scent and the reliance on vocabulary associated with other sensory modalities in describing smell being two oft repeated arguments (vide Kant, for example).

    Defining an olfactory aesthetic is tough, but do-able in my opinion.
    At any rate, the question 'is it art?' is hackneyed and not terribly useful here.
    The only question that really matters is 'is it any good?'.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Absolutely. I've always seen all scents as art. Juice, bottle, packaging; all with emotional, physical and visual influences on me.
    Currently wearing: Zen for Men by Shiseido

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    yeah, one can set up a grand fragrance library if he knows what he's doing.
    Like books, contents and covers.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Yes, fragrance is art, because it pleases the senses, and it can carry meanings/messages. I think perfumes can be compared to art:

    From Wikipedia:
    The second and more recent sense of the word art is as an abbreviation for creative art or fine art and emerged in the early 17th century.[12] Fine art means that a skill is being used to express the artist's creativity, or to engage the audience's aesthetic sensibilities, or to draw the audience towards consideration of the finer things.

    I think that perfumerie fits that description very well.

  7. #7
    Dependent CX827's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Hong Kong

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    What the artist (perfumer) meant to portray,
    what the artist (perfumer) actually did portray and
    how we react, as individuals, to both the intended and actual messages.

    saw this and think that it sums up pretty well. each individual could have her/her own definition of what art is and there's no right or wrong answer i believe.

  8. #8
    Basenotes Institution sjg3839's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    I agree. Art for the nose.

  9. #9
    hednic's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Búzios Brasil

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    A form of art - sure.

  10. #10
    evogel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    I definitely agree that perfumery is an art form. Perfumers can create works of art, garbage or anything inbetween but it is an art.

    Why is it different than music, painting, etc.? Everyone considers that art and most of it is garbage isn't it? :-)

  11. #11
    Basenotes Plus
    farang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    European in Bangkok

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Yes, it is a form of art. Top notes, middle notes and base notes...

    Other art forms can be broken down into elements as well, such as music (harmony, melody, rhythm, etc) and painting (composition, colours, form, etc). If we address the fragrances - some are obviously good and some are mediocre.
    * Most drawn to complex florals, chypres and orientals. Collect the best, forget the rest *
    Currently wearing: Gold Man by Amouage

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Also for the appearance design of the water, the colour, bottle, form and texture.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    Art without a doubt.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    If you call or label something as 'art' it immediately becomes art.

  15. #15
    Basenotes Institution dougczar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Fragrance as art?

    No, not really. If makes you feel more enlightened or sophisticated to call it art, then that is fine - it is really just arguing semantics. There is no right or wrong answer.

    However, with fragrance, it is more than just an analysis of what you perceive. A fragrance cannot be analyzed the same way as a painting can. With the Mona Lisa, we can all agree that there is a woman there. We then just talk about the feelings it evokes, the brushstrokes, etc. With fragrance, we can't even agree on what is there. Various people are overly sensitive to certain notes, others are insensitive to others notes - look at the arguments about Molecule 01 and Heeley Sel Marin. It goes beyond discussing the quality or composition - because we don't even agree about what is there to begin with. The Mona Lisa discussions probably never go like this: "There isn't a woman there -- I see a young boy... no, no - there is clearly a very old woman..." etc..

    Why do we not call our new sneakers or our Levi's jeans "art"? Because it is fashion. Do we call that McDonalds burger "art"? No, but the people flipping them may feel more sophisticated by calling themselves artists. Creating a fragrance IMO is more likened to a chef - you are not making the whole thing entirely from scratch, you are simply combining ingredients using different ratios - I think it is similar to baking a cake. Just with added self-aggrandizement.

    It doesn't matter what you call it, it doesn't change what it is. Is a golfer an athlete? How about a race car driver? Essentially, its just a way people have to group things.

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000