We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachael Henson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachael, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I began thinking of starting my candle business earlier this summer after collaborating with my studio mate to create specialty candles. Before the pandemic I was making work that was sensory based but also transient, these “edible images” were edible ink printed images that were transferred onto surfaces and meant to be consumed. These pieces were meant to change with time, either to be eaten or to decay. After the pandemic hit, I decided that I wanted to continue to create objects that could be both sensory and functional, but were more accessible to people. I really love candles because of how simple yet evocative they can be, as well as their capacity to hold both pigment and scent. With candles you can have your own little sculpture that will deform into something new when you light it. The sensory characteristics can also be extended to touch as well, as I am currently experimenting with making candles that can be used for BDSM wax play too. The versatility of wax makes for interesting and exciting new avenues.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
A lot of my art has to do with the body and recently I’ve been really interested in the uncanny and the hyperreal. A lot of the materials I have been using can mimic human skin quite well, like wax or silicone. I want to make objects that are both equally repellent and alluring. I also have professional experience in film photography labs, so I also incorporate images in my art making. Something that I have been pretty excited about lately is a technique where I can add images to the surfaces of candles. Combining another aspect to the visual language of my candles is really thrilling and I hope to continue experimenting with it. I would say that it wasn’t easy to get to where I am today, a lot of what making art is about is failure. Which is something that can be hard to come to terms with. I still feel that I am no where near the point that I would like to be in my art career, and that there are still ways to keep trying to improve. I think that a lot of times the biggest struggle is the struggle an artist can have with themselves.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many interesting places in Los Angeles! Before moving here I had not realized just how large it is. But, if I had to show someone a good time around LA I would take them three different places. First, I would show them all of the best places to thrift in the valley, and then I would take them all the way to downtown, where we could take photos and explore the city. Finally at the end of the trip, I would take them to Chinatown where we could buy plants at Rainbow and then go dancing/drinking at General Lee’s. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my family, or more specifically my older brother. Who have supported me, and made it possible for me to continue to do what I do. All of the supportive words, and help I’ve received from them is something I will never take for granted.