J.Hannah Co. Beginnings and Pure Fume

People always ask, “How did you get into perfume?"
Like any pursuit, it's challenging to pinpoint the exact beginning. It’s more likely that seeds are planted over a long period of time. Maybe it began as a girl smelling my grandmother’s perfumes, or skipping down her mint-lined sidewalk. As a teenager I stumbled into a job spritzing perfume on passersby at the mall, which paid handsomely but left me in a bored high-heeled agony. I had an inspiring time post college working in a high-end bath product boutique in Chicago, and later still I  made my own soaps. I would linger in the local natural food store and dreamily smell essential oils.
Things really took a turn when I returned to graduate school and earned a degree in interdisciplinary art focusing on media and performance. I created interactive performance installations, that I admit were some of my favorite work.

Showroom No.6, by Jessica Hannah. Photo by Sarah Jane Rhee, 2008.

Showroom No.6, by Jessica Hannah. Photo by Sarah Jane Rhee, 2008.

In all my time creating I continue to find experiential artwork that engages the senses to be my favorite. So in an effort to create a platform for such work I teamed up with the talented Ania Greiner co-curating Food & Performance. This showcase of performance art involving edibles brought out some outstanding creative minds. I was fortunate to work with cutting edge and damn fine artists during this period.

Milk Nest, by Janet Schmid, Photo by Cynthia L Post, 2011.

Milk Nest, by Janet Schmid, Photo by Cynthia L Post, 2011.

Through it all I was taking perfume classes, reading olfactory books on aroma, making horrible perfumes, learning from my mistakes, falling in love with gorgeous natural fragrances, and exploring the olfactory arts. I was dedicated to improving my skills and it has taken many years to be where I am today. My work is a gift and I love sharing it through workshops and bottles of aroma.

So it's been awhile since I created an artwork outside of my perfumes. All this blending is informing my art making process and leaving me questioning. What would my installation look like? How would I share an aroma outside of a bottle? Is it possible to investigate the perfumer's process through installation?  In all of this working and questioning I am fascinated with the fecal animal essences, which have been around for ages. So, when the opportunity arose for me to install art in a gallery bathroom, I jumped at the chance, because perhaps, just perhaps, the evolution of the scent will include your input. Join me this Saturday March 28th in Chicago's Slow gallery, in the Loo to sniff Pure Fume, my olfactory installation.

Pure Fume, by Jessica Hannah, 2015.

Pure Fume, by Jessica Hannah, 2015.