Scent and memory: the ‘Pop a Fragrance’ winner! August 15, 2017

Pop My Mind, your favourite place to admire amazing artwork and post your most inspired pieces, has recently extended an opportunity asking its community to ‘Pop a fragrance’.

It has been said by various psychologists that the sense of smell is more closely linked to memory and emotions than the other senses. This makes it a very effective tool for inspiring the most personal art pieces.

We have picked a winner but first, I’ll go through some of our favourite runners up.

The sense of nostalgia in this image is very clear. The artist said about this piece that ‘the thing that hit me was the smell of my Nan’s house and the smell of the old fabric and flowers.’ Childhood smells can often bring back the most powerful memories. It’s likely that most people’s grandparents had net curtains like these. I know mine did. (Were they all shopping in the same place?) Everyone’s grandparents home smells different, unique to them. That’s what makes this image so personal, whoever sees this photograph will be remembering different smells, but it’s the same kind of nostalgia; the simplicity of childhood.


This image by Martin Swan is very different in tone than the previous image but it still demonstrates how sense of smell can bring back powerful memories. Martin’s signature use of symbolism creates a simple but powerful image with one haunting line. ‘What does a battlefield smell like?’


Luke Mayo‘s poem titled Nature’s Sneeze is a very descriptive piece that combines the comforting feeling of familiar smells and the price we pay to enjoy them. I don’t know if you’ve ever suffered from hayfever but I can tell you from personal experience, this poem perfectly describes the that moment of realisation; the smells you were once enjoying are the cause of your downfall. You can read the full poem right here.


So here we are. The winner of the Pop a Fragrance challenge. Are you excited?


This image was chosen as the winning piece because it is so immersive. I strongly recommend that you follow the link and view this picture in full screen to really appreciate this image. The artist asks ‘how does rain smell and taste at night?’

The raindrops are the dominant aspect of this image so its almost as if you really are outside, looking through the rain at a distant familiar scene. Not only this but the smell in the air before and during a rainstorm is so distinctive that this image makes it very easy to conjure the scent in your memory. I find myself staring at this picture wishing I was there, smelling that familiar scent for real. Even if it is outside. During a rainstorm. At night.

If any of these pieces are making you feel inspired, feel free to join us and submit a creative response to any of these pieces. See what your artistic work can inspire in others.

Written by Tamzyn Jackson