For over 250 years and spanning seven generations, The House of Creed has been passed down from father to son. With Father’s Day this month, and to honor this deep-rooted heritage, we asked accomplished artist Casey Baugh to create portraits of the Creed family lineage of Master Perfumers. We sat down with Casey in his Brooklyn studio to learn more about his process, what being a father means to him, and his favorite House of Creed fragrances.
What drew you to partner with the House of Creed?
"It was both the quality of their perfumes but also the deep history of the brand. I felt honored to be a part of such a long lineage of artisans and craftsmen."
How did you approach creating the portraits of the House of Creed’s legacy of perfumers?
"This was a particularly challenging yet enjoyable task. Particularly with the older portraits, where the references of the family were several hundred years old. I had to study the family’s facial characteristics and the points that made each Creed perfumer unique. A lot of my feeling of who they were went into each piece."
It says on your site that your work is described as “narrative impressionistic realism”. What drew you to this style of work?
"I enjoy realism in most art as I can relate to the subject matter in a real way. But adding an impressionist quality to the work can alter the reality, and more importantly, amplify the beauty of oil paint itself. And as for the narrative part… well I think we all enjoy a good story behind art."
How do you connect with your subject when creating a portrait? Can you tell us a little bit about your process when creating a portrait?
"Connecting is key when creating a portrait. I think my objective is to understand the subject on the most emotional level so as to capture their essence. This goes beyond just the surface of the face. It’s their attitude that I’m after, their emotion. Where they’ve been and what they care about. All of this requires getting to know my subjects as best I can."
How do you tell stories through your work?
"Art is a way of communication. And by charging a painting with bold color or interesting texture, the viewer's eye can begin
the story. But the real fun is to not complete a story in the painting so that the viewer’s imagination can take over and make it their own."
What does the word “heritage” mean to you?
"It is a ‘passing of the torch’ so to speak. With wisdom, knowledge and passion. A culmination of decades of a singular goal that is passed down from father to son or daughter."
Has becoming a father changed your art or the way you work on your art?
"Absolutely. It gives me a greater reason to work. It adds a new dimension and responsibility to the process because I feel that not only is she looking up to me as an example of sorts, but the world that she and her generation is coming into will be affected by my work and that is a sobering thought."
How has your artistry evolved over the course of your life?
"It has evolved as I have I suppose. It has expanded into more than just paint and charcoal. Music, film and photography are now other ways I enjoy communicating."
What is your favorite House of Creed fragrance?
"I’m actually very much enjoying the latest fragrance, Aventus Cologne."
How would you describe your studio through smell?
"Deep earthy aromas from the linseed oils in the paint and medium. Hints of pine trees from the pure gum spirits of turpentine. Fresh linen canvases and smokey notes from my cedar wood incense."
Do you think scent is tied to memory? If so, do you think scent can influence art the way memory can?
"Yes, scent sparks memory, of course. And because of this, it affects my painting process. Standing in a deep green forest while breathing in the wooded aromas excites my mind and is something I try to capture in the painting."
What is your earliest scent memory?
"My earliest memory of scent is of a certain soap. A soap that was used by my mother to bath me as an infant. I discovered it as an adult and has flash backs to being a baby. It was an intense experience."
How will you be spending Father’s Day?
"Probably painting and enjoying music with my daughter."