Blending Scents and Memories: An Interview with Glen Farley

Blending Scents and Memories: An Interview with Glen Farley

In the serene landscapes of Oslo, Norway, a former IT professional turned kinetic artist is redefining the boundaries of artistic expression.

This January, Glen Farley will unveil a groundbreaking art piece that evokes memories through scent. “Childhood: A Kinetic Olfactory Sculpture,” will be on display January 20th through March 10th at the Art in Motion 2024 exhibit in Fredrikstad at the Østfold art center in Norway. 

Glen’s innovative piece, partly inspired by the pandemic's impact on our sense of smell, brilliantly showcases the artist's creativity and… (ahem)...the exceptional quality of Vetiver Aromatics' scents. If we do say so ourselves. 

I first learned about Glen's kinetic olfactory art when he reached out via Vetiver's customer service, wondering if we had a distributor in Norway (alas, Vetiver is but a cozy little operation with global reach, minus the fancy international outlets).

But when Glen told me about his kinetic olfactory sculpture, my artist's heart skipped a beat. 


Scents! In motion!

I knew I needed to learn more. So Glen and I had a chat—virtually.

(Oh, Zoom, you lifesaver and dream crusher, keeping my wanderlust in check! If only the company coffers were brimming enough for a business jaunt to Norway. Alas, we artists and entrepreneurs must sometimes settle for digital encounters.) 


Glen’s journey began amidst the unsettling times of COVID-19, when the loss of smell emerged as a harrowing symptom–particularly harrowing for those of us in the perfume industry!

This led to a profound realization: the sense of smell, intertwined with the deepest layers of memory, plays a crucial role in our experience of life.

Newly inspired, Glen embarked on creating a piece that not only moves visually but also stirs the senses olfactorily.


The Art of Scent Selection

“One of my early childhood memories is lying in the summer, lying in my bed, going to sleep. And I could hear, in those days, all the dads out cutting their lawns.

And often there would be two or three lawnmowers going at the same time. And that smell of fresh cut grass would actually come into the house. I could remember the sounds of lawnmowers and the smell of the cut grass.” -Glen Farley

One thing was certain: choosing the right scents was crucial. Glen sought aromas that were authentic, instantly recognizable, and capable of evoking personal memories.

This quest led him to Vetiver Aromatics. After much experimentation, two of Vetiver’s fragrances stood out: Chocolate and Fresh Cut Grass.

These scents, integral to the artist's childhood memories, offered a sensory bridge to the past, perfectly aligning with the theme of his artwork.

Childhood: A Kinetic Olfactory Sculpture

Childhood is reminiscent of 1940s furniture, marrying nostalgia with modern technology. Its design includes a television screen displaying family photos and a radio console-like structure, incorporating a unique foot pedal activation system—a thoughtful adaptation for COVID-19 safety measures.

The technical heart of the sculpture lies in its innovative scent diffusion system, powered by small computers called Arduinos and an air pump that gently wafts its scents through the air.

Once activated, the piece releases a delicate mist of fragrance, creating an immersive experience. This multi-sensory approach captivates the viewer's visual senses by tapping into their olfactory memories, inviting them to journey through time.

Glen even thoughtfully adjusted the scent nozzles to cater to the height of children, ensuring that everyone can fully experience the art.

This exhibition is a celebration of sensory experiences and memories. 

Glen has found his true calling in the realm of kinetic art. His work stands as a beacon of inspiration, showing that it's never too late to pursue one's passions.

As the exhibition nears, “Childhood” invites us to explore our own memories and the scents that trigger them. 

Vetiver Aromatics is proud to have contributed to this artistic journey.

Inspired by Glen's innovative blend of scent and memory in kinetic art? Why not embark on your own aromatic journey?

With Vetiver Aromatics, you can experiment and create your own personal scent story. 

Remember the comforting aroma of your grandmother's kitchen, or the invigorating scent of rain on a summer day?

Recreate these memories or forge new ones with our diverse range of high-quality fragrances

Whether you're an artist seeking to add a new dimension to your work or simply a lover of fragrances wanting to capture a slice of the past, Vetiver Aromatics is your gateway to the evocative world of scents. 

Experience the magic of scent in your own creations or daily life with Vetiver Aromatics. Visit our online store to explore our range of high-quality scents. 

For more information about Glen Farley and his upcoming exhibition, please visit his website.

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