From Italy to New Jersey, Kaity Janus has spent the last four years at Montclair State University cultivating her craft and preparing to enter the art world as a force to be reckoned with.
Growing up in Riverside, New Jersey, Janus always knew art was something important in her life. “I’ve been making art since I was able to hold a pencil. I was always drawing and coloring and building things with Play-Doh,” said Janus. “I spent most of my time up until my senior year of high school drawing with different mediums. I finally learned how to paint four years ago and I’ve been doing it ever since.”
Even though Janus has always loved creating art, she was not always sure she wanted to pursue it as a career. “The older I got, the less practical [being an artist] seemed,” lamented Janus. “After studying law for three years in high school, art came back into my life and my teacher that year really pushed me to pursue it, boosted my confidence and gave me more career options than I thought were possible for an artist.
“Art makes me happy, and I’m pretty good at it, so I figured that it had to mean something. I decided to go for it because your career should be something that you enjoy rather than something that is acceptable to everyone else.”
While Janus considers herself an abstract painter, she also spends time doing scenic painting for the department of theater and dance here at Montclair State. Janus fell in love with scenic painting her freshmen year when she landed a work-study position with the department. Janus even plans to continue to paint for different productions after graduation.
This past summer, Janus was able to study her craft in Italy through Montclair State’s study abroad program, an experience she marks as “one of the most amazing things [she’s] ever done.
“I gained so much knowledge of how to work with different drawing methods as mediums, and I spent a lot of my time printmaking and etching,” said Janus. “I also saw so many amazing pieces of art, made great memories and even better friends. Being in such a different culture for such an extended period of time has given me such a different outlook on the world and on art, and I’m really excited to see how my work this year will change because of that experience.”
Janus was not only able to find motivation in Italy but also in herself. “Since coming to college and really immersing myself in art, I’ve been extremely self-motivated and excited to learn as much as I can before I get to the real world,” Janus said. “This way, when my time here is over, I’ll have a better understanding of who I am as an artist so that I can be great at whatever I end up doing.”
While Janus is excited to be able to take her art into the “real world,” she does not ignore how Montclair State has encouraged her in her field — particularly her professors who are all practicing artists themselves. One professor particularly, Erica Svec, has inspired Janus immensely.
“[Svec] is an amazing person and an incredible artist. I have gotten so many great ideas from her style of painting as well as her direct suggestions to me as a painter,“ gushed Janus. “Erica has really motivated me to be the best that I can be and I couldn’t thank her enough for being the one to help me find my way.”
Currently, Janus is working on an abstract series using different types of paints and inks to explore the interactions between colors and different mediums which would not typically interact.
“[My family, my friends, my fiancé and my painting teacher] are so encouraging, regardless of what it is that I’m doing with my art,” said Janus. “And really, that’s what keeps me going.”