Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nosy Interview: Saskia Wilson-Brown

Saskia in NGC 2170: Celestial Still Life, © Ignacio Diaz Bobillo

Saskia is the fearless founder of the awesomely innovative Institute for Art and Olfaction. If you're in the Los Angeles area, you should definitely check out their events and stop in for an open session. No matter where you are, I recommend nosing around (how could I resist?) the IAO website and liking their Facebook page (they post great links!), and not just because I'm proud to be have their support for my nosy research in Rwanda. You can find and follow Saskia (and the IAO) on Twitter, too. 

What do you smell like?  
Right now it's Sunday night, and I think I smell like a day well lived: Sun baked skin, myriad bits of displaced leaves and grass, steer manure (unfortunately hard to remove), a smidge of 'Jeux de Peau' by Serge Lutens, and, inevitably, coffee and cigarettes. Every perfume I buy has to compete with a base of cigarette smoke. It's a unique challenge, but I like to tell myself it makes my life a little more Brigitte Bardot. 

So let's just say I smell like Brigitte Bardot (minus the steer manure: I sincerely doubt she gardened).


What do you like to smell? 
Other than the obvious pleasant smells like flowers and frying onions and such, some smells I've always loved are: Los Angeles after it rains (steaming cement, basically: strangely earthy), sandalwood, grapefruits, tacos, an art studio (oil paints make me nostalgic), chlorine, an empty ski run in freezing weather (solitude!), cigarette smoke after an especially long meeting, jet fuel, the nape of my husband's neck... 

What I always enjoy spending nose-time on is an unfolding idea. I've never had a hyper-developed nose like so many folks who are into scent. For me it's been an extremely strange process of learning how to identify and put words onto what I'm smelling. But the concepts behind the scents are what really get me. When someone is using scent as an art medium, and can use elements in a symbolic way-- when a perfume becomes an illustration of a concept or a story. So I guess I love the smell of a good story.

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