Scent Profile: Brian Oldham
Scent Profile is a weekly creative study in conversation between Sigil Founder, Patrick Kelly, and a groundbreaking artist, auteur, CEO, or disruptor. Learn about these pioneers’ creative practices, inspirations, and most fervent associations to scent.
Meet Brian Oldham:
Brian is a queer interdisciplinary artist, currently based in Los Angeles.
When I met them, I was struck by their gentle demeanor. Yet, they command attention. It’s the kind of quiet, assured power that is seldom encountered. I’m honored to call Brian a friend and could not be more excited to share our conversation with you—in which we discuss inclusion in beauty, wellbeing, and fall traditions.
The work Brian does is important. Take note.
Please read on…
What are your preferred gender pronouns?
Tell us about yourself.
I’m an interdisciplinary artist specializing in photo and self-portraiture. Most of my work is fueled by my experiences, so some common threads in my work are queerness, identity, and gender. I’m also inspired by the natural world, the human form, and how those are so connected.
Say more about where you find inspiration.
I find inspiration in the ways that I feel connected to the natural world, intangibly. In my work, that manifests in visual metaphor—as comparisons between human forms or functions, and their similarities in non-human environments. Seeing myself outside myself, in the grass or the stars or the mud—it feels like belonging.
One of the pillars of Sigil is inclusion and representation. What advice do you have for brands to help them make a move toward greater gender diversity?
I hope other brands follow in Sigil's footsteps. We know how important representation is now, and there's been a lot more gender diversity in branding across the board, which is great. But there is a fine line between representation and exploitation, and a lot of companies fall to tokenizing.
Sigil is different because the inclusion begins at the ground floor—with the products. It's cute if you put a trans woman in your perfume ad, but not so much if you're still just marketing floral scents to women.
Gendered consumption is such a weird monster. Making things that are specifically for everyone and anyone is the best move to make.
What does scent mean to you?
Scent is really powerful, especially in triggering memories, for me. It’s funny how specific scents can just totally transport you.
Tell us about your favorite Sigil perfume.
What is your current daily wellbeing practice?
I have a giant vase that I fill with water and try to drink 4 times a day. Does that count? Is a vase a legitimate measurement option? I don’t have any good sized glasses. Haha. That’s really the only thing I do every single day. Routine is kind of non-existent for me.
What is your favorite fall tradition?
Carving pumpkins and then baking the seeds.
When are you most at peace?
Sitting out in nature somewhere. It's easy for me to forget that and get caught up in my daily routine, and have all of my attention on screens or concrete for weeks on end.