Technical and Philosophical Notes on the Perfumery Creative Process


Since my arrival in Brazil at age 20, I realized that creativity is just the ability to make, or otherwise bring into existence, something new, be it new solutions to a problem, a new method or device, or a new artistic object or form. This realization was an inducement to action, an essential and continuing tension between environmental constancies and the interruption of equilibrium in the interest of new possibilities of experience. I observed this in all the great musicians and poets of that time, especially Vinicius de Moraes— tensions between such dualities as intellect and intuition, the conscious and the unconscious, the conventional and the unconventional, and complexity and simplicity.

Balancing the Artistic and Scientific Impulses in Perfumery

As both perfumer and chemist, I was aware that while the processes of creative thinking in artistic and scientific pursuits have much in common, there are also distinctive differences. The artist places more importance on feeling and individual expression, often going to extremes to divorce himself from environmental constraints. The scientist relies more on disciplined, logical thinking to lead him in new directions. Artistic endeavor is dominantly expressive (although clearly oriented toward a goal), while scientific inventiveness is dominantly disciplined (although flexibly receptive to feelings and to imaginative experiences). I am obsessed with people that combine both impulses: noble artistic creativity and feelings (closely related to inherent wisdom) and scientific creativity (related more to “rational knowledge” than inherent wisdom).

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