Art and Scent: “American Golden Boy”

“American Golden Boy I, II, and III” are 3 watercolor paintings by Daniel Barkley. The first one has lived in my home for a few years now, and I think about it often in juxtaposition to whatever is on my mind lately—not as a medium for anything conclusive or even clearly articulated, but just as a provocation to generate thought, however nebulous.

Of course, what’s been on my mind lately is fragrance. Something beautiful we wear on our skin, which arguably takes our shape or shapes the space we occupy. A substance crafted to create illusions.

I’m thinking of these paintings again in juxtaposition to a couple of thought-provoking things I encountered recently: first, Chris Rusak’s Studio Series #8, which arrived in my mailbox and included an excellent zine with @odedeparfum’s essay “(Trans)Gendering Fragrance: Seeing It, Having It, and Having Fun with It” and a sample of Chris’ new perfume Beast Mode, and secondly, @charcoot‘s call-outs on the #fragbro toxic masculinity that is specific to perfume culture. (You should check out all of these things; order Chris Rusak’s Studio Series sets on chrisrusak.com, and read “The Bro Rant” on @charcoot’s highlights.)

If you pair these paintings with thoughts of scent and perfume, what new thoughts come up for you?