he ethereal landscape of the West is the inspiration behind Fray Ardens. All the scentmemories and concepts are Marfa-derived and inspired by people’s daily routines and travels through the city. Although the scents were imagined in the dust and desert, they are meant for city and soil as well. People who choose to take the journey that is, Fray Ardens, are meant to feel grounded in the desert, which includes an opened energetic capacity and an altered sense of space and time. The brand believes exploration begets more exploration. They hope someone sprays a scent, goes on an unexpected walk and notices, meets, or sees something/someone with which they’d not typically interact. Fray is not just a brand, but a character as well. Through the brand, Ash can blend all her passions into, not only fragrance and botany but film, art direction, design, and visual art. Not to mention her love of music and sonic landscapes. The combination of all these elements creates a fragrance experience unlike any other. To my mind, developing a fragrance and sharing it with others must be extremely personal; while thrilling at the same time. It gave me great pleasure to converse with Ash Compton to learn how she embraces her creative spirit to create scents that evoke so many positive emotions. I hope sincerely you enjoy our conversation and come away enlightened, informed, and inspired! William Jackson: I’d like to know, who is Ash Compton? Ash Compton: A grounded polymath! A conceptualizer; someone who rarely sits still yet values reverie above all else. William: What makes you feel alive; happy? Ash: I incorporate dreamwork as my personal and artistic practice; it was part of my psychological training and education. This work infused into the perfume work itself, drawing / painting, taking walks, and wider travel collectively ground and excite me. William: What makes you feel fulfilled? Ash: What makes me fulfilled also makes me feel alive and happy. I don’t settle for ho-hum, so the two are well-integrated and one-in-the-same.
FLUENTIAL JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2019
William: Reflecting on my conversations with other perfumers, I’ve come to understand mentors play an integral role in developing a young perfumers’ knowledge and abilities. Would you please share insight into your development process? Ash:I’m self-taught. I’ve been forever a project-based learner, so what interests and moves me is where I pour all energy. That said, I respect and value the work and writings of Luca Turin, value so much what Fabrice Pernot has brought to the industry and am very inspired by the works and rituals of visual artists, predominantly women surrealists and abstract artists such as Lenora Carrington, Remedios Varos, and HIlma af Klint. Perfume is simply a medium, much like paint or music is. So, I pay very close attention to the ways in which I interact with this medium and what keeps me
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