Artisan Gallery Interview: IlluminatedPerfume

Interview by Jen of Polestar
I’d like to introduce you to Roxana of IlluminatedPerfume.

G R in Heaven
You are a very positive person, how do you focus on the good in your life and craft?

At some point, I think it was in art school, I realized that what you surround yourself with feeds you and becomes part of you. So, I decided to surround myself with successful people. After doing the Artist Way I took that a step further and slowly began to eliminate the things that depleted my focus and energy. Some of those were people, the main one was media. It's amazing how fear based the media is. To keep moving forward, despite when doors close, I focus back on what I love and am here to do. 

Where do you sell your lovely perfumes, aside from Etsy? 

At this very moment in time I have my largest selection on Etsy and some of the liquids on my website: Illuminate-dperfume. The website has been going through a transformation which eventually will include the entire range and make it easier for me to upload.
I have been approached by several retail boutiques and stores but have not yet found the right fit. I'm very selective as to aesthetics, customer service, etc.
I also sell at a few shows, Comic Con  in San Diego has been really good for my perfumes, who would have guessed!?! I think it's because people who appreciate artists go there and they get the "art" in my perfume work.

I know you traveled to Ecuador (Is that right?) last year. How do your travels change and benefit your work as a perfumer?

Yes, last summer we traveled to Ecuador where my husband launched his workshops Artist As Brand . I have had the fortune to travel since I was three when my family moved from Argentina to the US. Traveling really opens your mind, it's crucial I believe for those with an art spirit to travel often. I find getting away from the studio infuses my creativity like nothing else. The smell-scape of each place is really interesting. 

You also gather an amazing array of artists who express themselves so beautifully on your blog. How big a role does your blog play in your business as an artist, and how does it inspire you as an artist?

The blog was set up in June 2007 by my graphic designer when she created the website. It wasn't my idea nor did I anticipate how much I would love it. The blog has been very helpful in creating community and showcasing what I do. Since perfume needs to be "experienced", unlike the other arts which are much more visual, the blog serves to give a deeper impression of the fragrances.
As an artist my blog is in a way like a sketchbook, which is why I titled it a "journal." I will create specific images and take photos with the blog in mind. It motivates me and helps to keep me on track.

Now I'd like to ask YOU the question you ask those who you feature on your blog! 
What is the one thing you find most inspiring to feed your creative spirit?

Nature is number one, no doubt. I also get really inspired when I travel, hang out with really fantastic artists like our friends at Comic Con. Great stories, whether in the format of a film or a book, is good nourishment for my muse as well. 

What is your favorite scent from the natural world? 

1. I adore "fresh" air that is void of any aroma.
2. Hawaii, particularly Plumeria and Pikake. 3. The smell of the chaparral here in the Santa Monica Mountains, I love sage and woody, earthy scents from nature mixed with air.

If you were Queen of a village what would you wish for your kingdom? 

My Queendom is a sustainable utopia with a community of conscious, creative people who appreciate nature, harmony and beauty. 

How did you find yourself creating natural perfume?

My journey to natural perfume came through a little vial of Juniper essential oil during a sweat lodge with a group of women. The vapors in the little bottle opened up new avenues in my creativity as an Artist beginning with Aromatherapy. I became completely enchanted with the modality of medicine from nature that smells good! I wanted everyone to experience this in their lives. I gave up teaching art at Universities and Art Schools to teach aromatherapy as I studied natural perfume. Then, while at a Visionary Art workshop in Austria, I became conscious of the connection between 14th & 15th century painters, alchemists and perfumers. This inspired me to fuse my passions into the creation of Roxana Illuminated Perfume. The word Illuminated specifically referencing illuminated manuscripts.

As a work at home mom with a daughter what tips can you give other work at home moms? 

When Eve was first born and I was still working as a full time freelance illustrator I got real creative on how to juggle! The best tip I have is to be organized and align yourself with other mothers. I met a group of mothers who had birthed their babies naturally at the same birth center. We would trade off on watching each others babies and would support each other in raising our children holistically.

Where is the one place you would most like to travel to? 

Just one?! I suppose a tropical island would be really good at the moment. Also at the top of the list is NYC and Europe: London & Paris please.

Your husband speaks of the Mind, Body and Spirit in art; mind being the concept, the idea. How do you begin conceiving ideas for your perfume?

Most often the ideas ring the doorbell of my mind, whether I am sleeping, working on other projects or driving. At other times I create a perfume out of desperation, like Q, which was created specifically to bring awareness to the California native oak and save a small grove.
I am really blessed to have the opportunity to work with these incredible aromatics from nature, many times it is the beauty of an aromatic material that will inspire a fragrance.

On that same topic, body being the materials, what are your favorite materials and why? Are their any symbolic references?

Choosing one is real tough, I love them all so much. I am attracted to different aromas at different times. The most constant tend to be: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Orris and Labdanum. The first three of these are extremely expensive, regrettably.
In general I use raw materials for both aesthetic and symbolic value. The use of symbolic elements is very important to me to tell a story but it is secondary to the beauty of the fragrance.

And finally, Spirit is the heart, the motivational aspect, the passion that moves you to create. What drives you to create? How does that spirit imbue and manifest in your work? 

Beauty is what drives me, I am completely obsessed with harmony and beauty. In my perfume company this manifests itself in all aspects, not just the juice. There is attention to detail in the crochet pouches, the boxes, the literature, the packaging, the imagery, everything. I must admit this is a bit of a burden, for most of the things I want to do I can't due to lack of funds. Inch by inch I continue to refine it, just like the alchemists with their pursuit of gold.

Thank you dear Jen, I am really grateful to have this opportunity to share a bit about myself and my passion for beauty and nature.
Be sure to visit Roxana’s links:
Etsy shop


Scent Hive said...

Fabulous interview! I am right there with you in Hawaii Roxana. There's nothing in the world like the scent of plumeria and pikake.

WolfeWoman said...

What an uplifting read! The more that i get to know Roxana the more I learn! I also did the Artist's Way and loved it!

Sigmosaics said...

this has been a wonderful experience (like an astral lift) .. beautifully written and so inspiring. Roxana thank you so much for taking us through your journey, I absolutely loved reading about you :D
cheers Jen!

betsy bensen said...

Wonderul interview! (as I inhale one of Roxana's scents on my wrist right now!)

kathiroussel said...

roxana-- it's always such a pleasure to read your words and learn more about the interesting turns your life has taken and what brought you to the place you are now. i love the fact that you've followed your heart and mind toward the study of something you feel in harmony with and a true passion for-- lovely and inspiring as always!

great interview jen-- thanks!


Greg Spalenka said...

This is one of your best interviews ever! I am so proud of my honey.



paula said...

it is a fabulous interview, wonderful information...love your favorite nature scents, love reading about your process. thank you for sharing!

Victoria Webb said...

Always love hearing about the process an artisan takes to achieve their end result. Roxana's is close to my heart because I love scents and believe in their healing powers.

In the small world department, I recall her husband Greg Spalenka's wonderful illustrations, during my decades in commercial design.

Another great interview, Jen and Roxana!

Annette F Tait said...

thank you for the interview - great to know more about Roxanna and her art!

anakim said...

Thanks Roxanna and Jenn for a fascinating post.