Meet the talented multi-hyphenate—she's an illustrator, a tattoo artist, and a perfumer—whose natural fragrances are the stuff of dreams. Find out what inspires her to make and how she develops her ideas into products you simply fall in love with. Here's Wiji Lacsamana's creative space.
- Introductions first. "I am Wiji Lacsamana, 32 years old and I am a freelance illustrator, tattooer and natural perfumer/potion maker for Radioactive Mushrooms in the Forest."
- How I started and why I do it. "I was always into fragrances since I was in high school. I've always had a signature scent in high school, and a different one in college. After college though I found myself going from one perfume to another—I've lost a signature scent. It occurred to me that maybe I could make a signature scent for myself, since I taught myself most of the things I do career-wise now. And so I tried making one based out of my fondest childhood memory, and I enjoyed the process so much, I tried to come up with another one, and another one. Now I must admit that I don't have a signature scent yet, because I've created so many fragrance babies I wouldn't want to play favorites."
- My best so far. "I am very very proud of the all-original, all-natural fragrances I've come up for the line. I've created them out of my imagination, without real guides or pegs. These are all based from my memories—real or imagined. :)
"I am also very giddy about the natural cosmetics I am releasing! I've released some before, and I'm always trying to make them better. It can be tricky for natural cosmetics to last a long time. So I'm really trying to come up with better quality stuff."
- My time for making. "I create when my baby takes his morning and afternoon sleep sessions. I used to work only at night (but that was prior to all this Radioactive Mushrooms madness). But then now that I am a mom, and the great crammer that I am, I find that my best and most productive times are exactly when the baby is asleep.
"As for brainstorming ideas, these come out at the most random places, at the most random times. I suppose this is a testament to how passionate I've become to the craft: I find myself dreaming about making perfumes. One of those times I woke up in the middle of the night to list down the ingredients on my phone! Sometimes I'm watching a movie and I see a scene I really love—the lighting, a quote from that scene, and then I'm thinking of scents or a lipstick shade to suit that moment."
- Dream collaborations. "It would be a dream to collaborate with my muses. I've made perfumes inspired by certain larger-than-life people and the stories and art they create. Mandy Aftel, my natural perfumer idol, Wes Anderson (in the meantime, I will be releasing a very limited number of perfumes very much inspired by his movies), Hayao Miyazaki (wouldn't it be amazing if he commissioned me to do scents inspired by his movies?), Wong Kar Wai (makeup inspired by his movies!), Haruki Murakami (his words illustrate beautiful visuals in my mind), also maybe Feist and Fiona Apple. There are so many people I'd love to collaborate with, to be honest. I love collaborations, especially with people in much different fields. I'd love to translate their worlds into my world.
- For first-time Radioactive Mushrooms customers. "I'd recommend for you to try a scent. I have a the list up on the website, and please pick something that truly resonates with you! Because my scents use essential oils (as opposed to fragrance oils, which are synthetic), the scents will always smell unique on you, they react to your body's heat and ph levels. So even if we do wear the same perfume, it'll smell different on me than on how it does on you.
"Please also check out the Moon Nectar luminizer, which is now a staple in my makeup bag. It's a highlighter that I created to mimic the diffused glow on our skin when we bathe under the moonlight. It's very natural-looking, and very easy to apply!
I also love the tinted balms I've come up with and are releasing soon. I make them in small batches so some of the older ones, like Reef, for example are currently out of stock. I am reformulating them so that they stay fresh longer though. Reef is the first tint I made that I was soooo happy with. It's a deep deep brick red that is good as a cheek tint as well. I also love Kitsune, which is a shade I am releasing very soon. It is a very wearable red orange that looks good both on the lips and cheeks."
- My current project. "I am currently organizing a pop-up boutique called Metier Thoughtful Trades where I gather some of my favorite, well-thought-of local brands. I love brands that go out of their way to create the best possible items they can give to their customers. I hope you can go, it's on September 10, Saturday at Suez & Zapote in Makati. For more information, please go here.
"I am also coming up with limited edition fragrances I may have hinted above, wink wink. And new natural makeup, yay!"
- Insta-inspo. "@aftelierperfume by Mandy Aftel. Most of what I know about natural perfumery, I learned from her. @juniperridge They make perfumes out of plants they forage in the wilderness! they bring a van with a distiller inside so they can extract fragrances out of the plants they find. very amazing. @_thelittlesage for life inspiration. Helen Jacobs gives out the most inspiring, the most practical and proactive advice on life and enlightenment every week."
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