Who: Jamie Bradley, artist and actor. Jamie, who we photographed here in front of work from his recent Zetter Hotel exhibition, is both a successful actor and artist. His next show is Mince, held in an old butcher’s shop and organised by Shelf London, which runs from the 4th -13th November 2016. More details here.
Today I’m wearing 4711 cologne, by Maurer & Wirtz which I’ve known for a long time but I only bought it recently. It’s familiar to me because I saw it in lots of bathrooms as a child. The bottle is beautiful but it’s this perfect mix of chintziness with a slightly medical feel and I like that it’s very light.
The smell of 4711 feels very male to me and yet the packaging is ornate and feels like something you might find in an old lady’s bathroom. In fact my granny wears it, which is a funny thing to say…I want to wear my granny’s scent! There’s definitely nostalgia there.
What I love about a familiar scent is that it disappears, I can’t smell it any more, it just becomes the thing that other people talk about and smell, not you.
I feel like my taste in scent has changed, I went through a stage of loving really intoxicating heady complex scents. I lived in Paris and got really into Monoprix own brand male scents, which were like rip-offs of Dior and Kouros, hyper male smells which I went through a stage of loving. I liked the trashiness of that.
I tried to wear them in an ironic way. It’s like a club I can’t join, that was the appeal. It also relates to my work, which mixes hyper masculinity with fantasy and a criticism of that. There’s an odd attraction in that for me, referencing stereotypical butch-ness – which is fun to play with. It’s linked to a sense of masculinity – what my fantasy is of the type of masculinity I would like to have and what I actually have.
Artists Studios are so full of smells, painting is very aromatic.
Theatres and film sets are smelly places too, but when I’m acting, I don’t wear scent. It anchors you to the everyday. It’s this visceral thing you wear to feel like yourself, which isn’t always helpful. I feel freer and not side tracked if I’m not wearing scent.
The smell of a place is a useful thing to use, the smell of a room or a building can transport you if they smell a certain way. It’s useful for actors to have secrets when they are working, so it’s one of those things you have as a secret that you don’t discuss, but it can bring a different flavour to your work.
More and more I feel a return to simplicity. That’s what I like about the 4711 cologne. It’s about losing clutter, I’m quite chaotic and drawn to busyness, so to have something that’s really simple feels really beautiful.