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British Family Perfumers Since 1730

Q&A With Photo-Illustrator, Darren Hopes

September 13, 2016


For our most recent fragrance launch, The Fragrance Journals, we commissioned Darren Hopes, an internationally renowned photo-illustrator to design the packaging of these three unique eau de parfums. We wanted to get to know him a little better and so asked him a few inquisitive questions...

Fragrance Journals Group Shot_RGB_Low Res

What made you want to become an artist?

Purely the need to create, just an overriding urge. It may have found an outlet through music, writing or art all of which I had early interests in and dabbled with (still do sometimes) but art was perhaps the one I spent most time on, certainly in an academic sense. These three interests were like little branches and art was the one that grew the most. I studied photography and graduated with a 1st but I always approached the medium more like a painter, deconstructing, collaging and painting into my photographs. Since then I have worked as an illustrator and artist for about 20 years.


How would you describe your art?

In a physical sense it is Mixed Media. I employ a wide range of mediums, pencil, ink, photography, oils, acrylic, and digital painting, not necessarily all in every piece it depends on the subject. I tend to employ oils only in my personal work and photography tends to be an element more often used in my illustration.

I once read the following description of my illustration in an online review, how very apt it seems when thinking about the images I created for Floris ‘A treatment of light made matter in which surreal scenes are plunged into warm sensual amber that preserves them and offers them to us as fragile objects to contemplate, bearing unfinished stories that each detail invites us to imagine, sugary soft things that melt under the eye and exhale sensuous perfumes carrying the senses away.


What was your inspiration behind The Fragrance Journals packaging?

On reading the brief I thought the outline for the idea behind the scents was just beautiful! Memories and the passing of time have always fascinated me elements of this can be found in my personal work.

As I mentioned before I employ quite a few different mediums and sometimes collaged photography which I thought would be ideal as an aspect to these illustrations, photography seems so intrinsically linked to memory. Of course these are pieced together photographs, painted into to create our own imaginings of a memory of a past time.

The hazy, part clear part faded approach I employ was just ideal so I took to the creation of these little narrative pieces very happily. I wanted to have parts of the images reasonably detailed but other elements washed out and suggested. When you have that rare occurrence when a smell you have not experienced for a while brings back a memory it is quite powerful, initially seeming very vivid but the more you try to focus that memory the more it seems to fade, I wanted to capture a little of that feeling visually.


What is your strongest scent memory?

Yes, funnily enough it is art related. I had not used oil paint for many years perhaps not ever in my mature art career so when I decided to introduce the medium to my personal work and start experimenting with the paint the smell was not something I had experienced for sometime. It was an instant and strange flash of a memory from my very young childhood, a memory I did not even know I had retained but the smell was like a key unlocking my mind. A very clear and colourful recollection of a bright summer day I think around three or four years old sat on my parents patio playing with what must have been some form of oil paint surrounded by paper. On telling it now it is more like the hazy ill-defined type of memory but at the time it was an incredibly sharp, vivid feeling, very visual too.

Around that time I can also recall having a go at making perfume myself, again I must have been about four. In my parents garden with a little jam jar filled with water placed on their stone birdbath to which I added an assortment of flowers, mostly dandelions and daisies … the result was a bit of a grey sludge if I remember correctly. Probably best left to the professionals eh?


If you could invite 4 individuals for dinner, who would they be and why?

That's a tough question. Talking of memories there are a plethora of old friends I have lost contact with whom I would happily share a meal. Others who I only know via social media that I am sure I would click with. In the spirit of taking good advice I will avoid any of my creative heroes and there are many musicians and artists past and present I would love to meet. So just because of the diversity of experience, knowledge and in at least one off kilter imagination I would suspect that a meal shared with David Attenborough, Philip K Dick, Stewart Lee and Oliver Sacks would be informative, fascinating,  moving, amusing and beguiling in equal measure … certainly one to remember.


To discover more of Darren's work, click the link here http://www.athomeinspace.com/ 

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