Step 1: Theory
Scent is interpreted by the limbic system which is very closely tied to emotion and memory. This leads me to believe that interacting with people using scent can potentially be a much more powerful medium than paint since people experiencing it can't help but react to it. The goal of this project is to realize the potential of smell as art and to explore different ways of using it to interact with people.
Step 2: Chemicals
Another way to get scents is to make them yourself. If this is something you are interested in, i'd suggest reading up on creating your own essential oils, or preparing your own esters by combining an alcohol and an acid.
In addition to the esters, I add isopropyl alcohol to make them thinner and atomize more evenly in my spray setup.
NOTE: Take care to read and understand the handling instructions on any chemicals
Step 3: Spray
Step 4: In Practice
As part of this project I've been sourcing natural scents like dirt and freshly cut grass and spraying them in urbanized public spaces where these scents are never encountered.
I can imagine many other ways of using scent as a powerful medium. For example places where scent is strategically used to the advantage of an advertiser can be jammed by overwhelming it with a second, foreign scent. I've heard of vending machines wafting the scent of chocolate to lure in more customers. What if instead of chocolate, the vending machine smelled like smoke.
Another very intriguing possibility I have been playing with is to create synthetic synesthisia by hacking my cans to spray both paint and scent simultaneously.
photo credit: esel.at