Maxwell Williams is a perfumer, olfactory artist, researcher, DJ/producer, and writer based in Los Angeles. Williams’ work places smell in the context of performance, research, sculpture, and photography to explore a personal history of sadomasochism, techno and gabber raves, global trade routes, heartbreak, and the psychology behind the hedonics of scent. Williams’ perfume brand UFO Parfums is a fine fragrance project, inspired by rave culture, and always gender-spectral.
They have held solo exhibitions at the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; Olfactory Art Keller, New York; Galerie de Thorigny, Paris; and SEASON, Seattle. They have collaborated with artists and brands like Come Tees, OBEY, Parker Ito, Bri Williams, Ry Rocklen, Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs, Ariana Reines, Reggie Watts, Paul Kopkau, and more. They contributed several chapters to the book The Essence: Discovering the World of Scent, Perfume & Fragrance (Gestalten, 2019), and wrote and directed the auditory-olfactory horror play LUXURE/OCCIRE (2018), which was performed at the Experimental Scent Summit, London. They created and hosted the bricolage radio program Scentless Apprentice (2018) in collaboration with Mediamatic, Amsterdam and dublab, Los Angeles.
Previously, Williams was a figure in the art, fashion, and journalism worlds, serving as an editor at several global art and fashion magazines. Additionally, they wrote articles and cover stories for publications like Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Art in America, The New York Times, ACLU Magazine, High Times, GQ, and Dazed.
They sit on the board of the Institute for Art and Olfaction.