Interview with Janet Mac

janet mac in pizza shack.jpg

Janet Mac
dives into
digital artwork

Janet Mac is a Toronto-based illustrator who recently dipped her brush into the digital art landscape. She integrates careful sound design with visuals to craft art based around life experiences. She invites the audience to look at both the art and inwards to explore the things that we’re built from.

Who are you and how can we see that in your art?

I’m a kid-in-an-adult-body/regular person trying to make my mark in the world by creating art for and about the people I care about. I make playful and stylized CG/3D illustrations, animations and GIFs.

Music is a big part of my identity and I love sharing that in my visual work. I took a sound design class in college and have always enjoyed and been fascinated by it. I’m obviously not a master, but through audio, I love being able to build further on atmosphere and emotions in my animated work.

What changed your attitude towards creating digital artwork?

Personally, it was realizing the disposability of my physical art and the amount of resources it required to create a single image. My belief in the value of physical artwork didn’t change, it was the process behind the art that wasn’t aligning with my values on sustainability and consumption. Things are always changing though, so at this point in my life, I’m happier and fortunate to be able to bring stories and ideas to life in a way that works better for me and allows me to be more imaginative.

What drives you to keep exploring different art styles?

Seeing other artists’ work, especially when I see a style I’ve never really seen before and it creates a personal connection to me. Through the artist sharing a part of themselves in their art, I see a piece of myself in it too, helping me uncover and get closer to who I truly am and want to be. As I grow and evolve emotionally, I want my art to reflect that as well.

You’re taking an art course – where do you think the balance is between continuing education traditionally, and learning as you go?

I’ve finally finished the course! It was also an online course by School of Motion. I’ve never really thought of balancing education formats as something that needed to be actively maintained. I think it’s about finding what works for you and supplementing your learning when you feel you want to reach a major milestone faster. I’m always learning as I go in small increments every day but I know I thrive with structure, pressure, and accountability.

How much does collaboration affect your creative process?

I need to collaborate more! It’s so easy for me to get lost in my own head and keep inside my own comfort zone. Collaboration makes me set aside my ego, as I work to create something that isn’t supposed to be my thing, but our thing. Being able to draw strength from others, and bounce ideas around is so powerful.

How important is it for you to have your own website instead of just advertising using social media?

I think the two are equally important. Social media has a way of “organically” generating connections and allows me to discover people, artist, brands and agencies I would’ve never been able to do another way. With my website, it fills the need for this singular online destination for people and potential clients to see my work in a more professional and streamlined manner.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learned while freelancing?

I’m still new in the freelancing world - but save all your receipts and keep reaching out and asking for help, now matter how uncomfortable it is. You’re never truly doing it alone.

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