Meet Toronto-based artist Janet Mac and her quirky graphic creations

Updated: Nov 17, 2018

It can be easy to feel trapped in the humdrum of a weekly routine. We set schedules between work, home and (sometimes) the gym, and it can be hard to distinguish a Monday from a Thursday. If you’re looking for a break from the basic and boring, look no further than the quirky creations by Toronto-based artist Janet Mac.

Janet Mac’s artwork depicts clever and cheeky interpretations of everyday situations. Her art, which is often satirical, represents the world in which we live while inspiring her audience to think, laugh or feel uncomfortable.

It's hard to focus on one favourite in Janet’s impressive portfolio, but we especially love her project, Silent Struggle, based on an article published in TIME magazine titled, "Why Kesha's Court Case Matters To All Women." In this handmade tactile illustration her work truly shines through with a mix of laser-cutting, 3D printing and unique finishing processes that were used to create this piece.

We had the opportunity to catch up with Janet and talk more about her creative process.

We Need To Talk by Janet Mac

Winslow: Tell us who Janet Mac is! 

Janet Mac: A dorky, extroverted introvert with a love for rodents, dark and stupid humour and anything that makes me feel like a kid.

Winslow: What is your earliest memory of creating art?

Janet Mac: I used to make crafts from anything and everything around the house. I remember when my family would have mussels or clams for dinner, I saved the shells and drew pictures on the iridescent inside with magic markers and attached googley eyes and pom-poms. There's probably even earlier memories but the clams are pretty vivid because my sister broke that shell and got in trouble for it.

Silent Struggle by Janet Mac

Winslow: What is it like to create art through different mediums? Does one pose more of a challenge than another? 

Janet Mac: Up until recently, I created most of my personal work through analog techniques, featuring curated and crafted objects for still life illustrations and videos. Although my work was tactile, it was always captured on camera and didn't live beyond the lens. I was doing a lot of it on my own and it became too demanding in resources for me to express my ideas. A few months ago, after years of low-key resentment towards 3D software (lol), I began to embrace Cinema 4D as a way to express my ideas in a medium that was more efficient for me and aligned with my values around sustainability and consumption in my art and life. I do miss working with my hands because of the human touch and connection to the material that I'm manipulating, but I'm a bit biased because I grew up watching Art Attack, doing arts and crafts, DIY projects and appreciating miniature sets. For me, creating art in 3D is very freeing because I'm not confined to the laws of reality. I'm now more able to focus on conceptual image-making while also learning lighting and textures in a much more forgiving way. Because of this, I have an immense appreciation for practical effects in film and imagery that is achieved (for the most part) in real life.

SHITUATIONS - The Unsolicited Dick Pic by Janet Mac

Winslow: What is your favourite project you have worked on thus far?

Janet Mac: I'd have to say it's the third instalment in my personal series, Shituations. It's called Unsolicited Dick Pic. I still laugh when I watch it and it fully encapsulates who I am.

Winslow: What does the Toronto art scene mean to you?

Janet Mac: Honestly, I feel like a bit of an outsider, probably because I haven't lived there for long enough and taken the time to engage more in the art scene. I always hang out in Toronto and sometimes go to meet-ups, talks and workshops, but I feel like there is so much more to be explored. There's this low-key anxiety I have with creatively fitting in and not belonging and I'm working on that. The talent, creativity and passion in the artists of Toronto is crazy, spanning every single industry and I need to expose myself to more of it. This also goes beyond commercial and studio and/or agency creative work, it's the organizations that support the accessibility and livelihood of art in Toronto that are the heart of it. I think that's what I want to be apart of in the future. There's a Toronto artist I follow on Instagram, @luvsumone, his murals are so beautiful and its people like that I think create the scene, when the art is greater than themselves.

Born out of the many memories of secretly asking a female friend for a pad or a tampon within a public setting.
Save Me, Dear Lady by Janet Mac

Winslow: What current projects do you have in the works that we should be looking out for?

Janet Mac: I'm doing a lot of soul searching right now and in the middle of a 3D online course but I'm gonna be doing more conceptual 3D illustrations, so that's a thing!

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