Can’t help it — “scratch-and-sniff” — the phrase, the concept — has always sounded vulgar to me. I really don’t care who first had the idea for scratch-and-sniff or how special the technology is that makes it work. Playing scratch-and-sniff with a perfume or cleaning product sample inside a magazine has never tempted me.
But even I have had to take notice of the first use of scratch-and-sniff on the cover of a magazine. Something about this really appeals to me.
The magazine in question is Sactown, which focusses on Sacramento, CA, and is the four-year-old brainchild of spouses Rob Turner and Elyssa Lee. The May 2010 issue was to have an illustration of a mandarin orange on the cover. Naturally, someone got the idea to make that orange smell like an orange.
Joseph Plambeck, writing in The New York Times on June 7, 2010, described the questions that this idea provoked — for example, “Would the smell rub off on the back covers of other magazines?” — and the answers that resulted in what seems to be (according to the trade group Magazine Publishers of America) the first-ever such use of scratch-and-sniff.
As Mr. Turner said in the Times — after noting that the May issue was expected to be the best-selling in Sactown’s young life — “I don’t know that we’re changing the world. But we’re getting a good reaction out of people.”
“Good reaction” — sounds like plain old fun. Now that’s an idea.
“So many people would rather talk about an idea than look at the picture.”
From an Amanda Gordon article in the April 2010 issue of ARTnews on New York MOMA’s Cartier-Bresson retrospective (quoting curator Peter Galessi).
“Charles L. Mee, a playwright, was wandering through the Guggenheim Museum’s Robert Rauschenberg retrospective 12 years ago when he had an idea: to write a play that would parallel the way the artist created his collage-style works.”
From “Why a Goat, Why Not a Chicken” in the April 2010 issue of ARTnews.
“I have my camera with me at all times and I take close-up pictures of nature and textures and transform them into fabric.”
From a Jim Shi Q&A with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg in the July 3/4, 2010 issue of the Financial Times.
Eight years ago, Inky Ford had a couple of ideas. A law professor at the University of Montana, she took a teaching gig for the month of July at Golden Gate University in San Francisco. She rented a place in Sausalito so she could commute by ferry across the bay to work. And since she’s a total outsdoors-woman, she also decided to get herself a month’s membership at the Open Water Rowing Center, just a short bike ride from her rental.
Well, that summer in 2002 was when I had an idea, too. I decided to learn how to row a single scull, and therefore I met Inky. We rowed together a few times when her teaching schedule allowed and, when she showed up again in Sausalito that next July, we renewed our acquaintance and rowed again. Then her teaching gig turned into an annual event. So we now see each other — and row together when we can — in July, and thus have become friends.
The first face-to-face conversation each summer picks up immediately and naturally from the last such conversation, as if the intervening months were just a brief pause. Or as if we were young girls again, renewing our summer-camp friendship.
“‘If a teacher said you shouldn’t use black paint, that you should mix red, yellow and blue instead, he would use black and show you that it was the most beautiful color in the world,’ said Ernest Dieringer, an artist who met Mr. Natkin at the school.”
From the obituary of abstract painter Robert Natkin in The New York Times on April 29, 2010.
“In the final analysis … black is the most essential color.”
From “Jung and Yang” in the October 31/November 1, 2009 issue of the Financial Times (quoting Odilon Redon).
“I once wrote that black is the colour of painting’s origin. I don’t think it’s possible to refute this … When I realised that light can emanate from the colour which has the biggest absence of light, I was both perturbed and profoundly moved. From that moment my eye changed and I’ve worked in this way ever since.”
From “Prince of Darkness,” an interview with French painter Pierre Soulages, “known for his all-black canvases,” in the October 10/11, 2009 issue of the Financial Times.
“The home atmosphere, tense and claustrophobic, turned out to be a rich source of material for Ms. Bainbridge. ’I write to make sense of my childhood experience,’ she (said).”
From the July 3, 2010 obituary of “mordant novelist” Beryl Bainbridge — who “drew heavily on her experiences growing up in a shabby-genteel household in Liverpool during and after World War II” — in The New York Times.
I am one of almost 10,000 people currently working on the same idea — filling individual 5×8-inch sketchbooks with … whatever … sketchbooks that will be part of an exhibit traveling next year to 6 American cities, including my own San Francisco. (A nice excuse for a party.) The sketchbooks will then go to live in the Brooklyn (NY) Art Library.
The idea belongs to The Art House Co-op, which operates a number of imaginative art-community-building projects from its Brooklyn base. I signed up via the website and chose a topic from among 25 on offer. I soon received my 80-page sketchbook in the mail. My topic is “The View from Up Here,” which I took because it made me think of landscapes, and I want more practice at drawing and painting what I actually see around me. I am in the process of going to as many elevated natural spaces in and around San Francisco as I can, producing pen/ink/watercolor sketches of “the view” and writing short essays about the spaces themselves. The result I envision is an idiosyncratic sketchbook/travelogue. Who knows how others will interpret the same topic?
And who knows how many more thousands will join in? If you’re interested, you can sign up until October 31. Sketchbooks are due back January 15, 2011 and the tour begins in March.