We had the good fortune of connecting with Russell Weiss and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Russell, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
To be honest – because I had to. My creative output has always been the center of gravity in my life. When I discovered natural perfumery, I knew I had found my medium. Scent is uniquely immersive, evocative, and transporting. I love to see the reactions people have to my perfumes: the distant memories suddenly vivid in their minds, the hazy associations on the tips of their tongues. Deep Field is an effort to share my craft more broadly, as well as a way to combine my diverse skillsets as an artist into one project.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
2020 was the year that put my dedication to my craft to the test in a big way. In January I began work on a dream project – Scents of the City, an industry-first partnership between La Bottega and the Peninsula Hotel Group. Local artisanal perfumers were asked to create a bespoke fragrance for the Peninsula Hotel in their city to highlight The Peninsula’s new line of sustainable amenities. I was honored to be asked to represent Chicago. As a self-taught perfumer, I wondered whether I was up to the task. I am proud to say that the past 5 years of diligent study paid off, and my fragrance created for The Peninsula Chicago’s amenities will be stocked in every guest room for the next several years.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Chicago is far away from the country’s most spectacular nature. However, as a nature enthusiast, these are the places I would bring a visiting friend to get a breath of fresh air. Garfield Park Conservatory: a world-class conservatory with an extraordinary collection of plants, designed by Jens Jensen and Prairie School architects in the early 20th century. The fern room is an absolute treasure. Montrose Bird Sanctuary: A small patch of protected area along the lakeshore that draws an astonishing amount of migratory birds, especially in the spring. I’ve got a guest pair of binoculars just for this occasion. Morton Arboretum: Just outside the city, the Morton Arboretum showcases trees and plants from around the world on a huge tract of land that one could spend all day walking through.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my partner (in business and in life!) Kelsey Bourgeois. Her consistent belief in me, as well as her support through all of the ups, downs, and unknowns has truly been the wind in my sails. Love you, Kels!