AJ Girard is known for many things - curator, cultural strategist, community educator and lover of art books and sneakers. We visited @_ajgirard ‘s personal sanctuary filled wall to wall with art and art books, family artifacts - a living alter to the experiences and places he’s had. AJ has carved out many paths in the community and beyond - recently finding himself curating at @lunaluna - continue reading as we chat about all things fragrance, art, and how he stays grounded through it all.
RUKSKE: Think of your favorite artist or artwork - what would it smell like?
AJ: Santal, or even sage. I've always loved things that have a deepness to them, art, as well as smells. I love aromas that make me feel grounded. There's something about the way those two scents feel safe to me, and nod toward older ways of existence, before the internet and back to a time when there was more intimacy between humans and their home.
RUKSKE: Name one scent that never fails to spark a memory of a person or a place?
AJ: Roses, they often slow me down and make me think of my mother or her experiences. She’s a very tough and assertive woman, and has had to be to survive. I find it interesting that she loves roses so much, she planted a rose bush at my grandmother’s home. Overall that scent makes me reflect on her strength.
RUKSKE: If we did a RUKSKE collaboration scent - what would that smell like and what would you name it?
AJ: Fun - we should. I’d love to do something in the spirit of art and vivid colors, like an Ellsworth Kelly painting, I’d call it “Primary”, and nod to the elemental colors we learned about growing up. I think this way because life and smell and presentation are all coming from very basic and primary needs. Much like art.
RUKSKE: Lighter or matches? Why?
AJ: Lighter, I collect them as well. I love the ways they display personality and vibrate color. There are very few times I don’t ask for my lighter back or collect new ones when offered. I never realized how interesting it was that people really never see lighters returned.
RUKSKE: When you’re diving deep in your collection of art books - what scent rituals do you have going on in the background?
AJ: Great question! I love warmth, vibrations, energies that compel me forward. I can easily be in my head, so my home and my books really bring out inspiration in me. I often light a candle, turn on a tiny desk performance or some type of live music and begin unwinding. To me it's essential to be able to be bare in creativity, to let go of expectation.
RUKSKE: Are you a candle burner or a collector ? Do you light up or do you save for a special occasion?
AJ: This is gold. Definitely a collector, that’s embarrassing to admit. But I often buy candles I love and save them, because truly I live in regret when the candle is finished.
RUKSKE: Name a favorite musician or actor ? What do you think they smell like?
AJ: I love the way people have grown to legend the way Rihanna smells. I always wondered why she has amazing fashion and high speed life but people recall her scent. When I gave it more thought I figured if you couple the way you treat a person with the way you leave a smell in someone's mind it really creates a positive chemistry. I’ve worked on that, so thank you Rihanna, and I’m sure she smells like satin and lux, like very smooth and alluring.