Artist & Musician Janae Young
Janae’s demeanor is unassumingly smooth. Like honey butter smooth. Soft, gentle, easy in its movements though despite its subtlety, it’s incredibly hard to miss. Or at least that’s the understanding I got when finding myself in conversation with her post-yoga class, held in a hidden downtown art gallery on a late Sunday night.
But one look upon her more public personification - her instagram, for instance - gives a much more assertive and expressive, but no less strangely soothing enactment of her unique self.
“I would describe myself as spontaneous and raw, like a genuinely heartfelt underground non-conforming type vibe.” she told me.
Janae is an artist, in the truest sense; though ‘senses’ may be a more accurate word. Her talents span from canvas and acrylic to lyrical and melodic, all of which she shares publicly online and in the real world of the Los Angeles arts and social scenes. In all her many mediums, her work is bold expressionism, often mingling her many talents in visual and auditory delights, inviting the mind to open. I was first captivated by her music; a sound melodic and sweeping, sometimes dreamily so and yet at others, surreal and piercing as that found in her single ‘gypsy’.
“I rotate my time with projects now that I am into music and ventures other than art and have more resources. I create every aspect of a project from lyrics to recording with Logic Pro, to album art on my iPad and quick promo videos in iMovie, to art installations displaying pieces inspired by the music and I just let myself flow through the process.”
Her approach in allowing the masses to experience her work follows the recipe in which she creates it. She can be found - if you look - in wildly neon lit venues, raw backrooms watching live music, or on the streets of Los Angeles making art of her mere presence and anything she finds. In essence, she creates as freely as she explores.
In all these many spaces and throughout her trajectory from a little girl in Indiana to an LA woman, the work finds its own way through her.
“At times where I didn’t have much space for myself I would draw sketches and write lyrics in a notebook. Other times I have had space and little material I’ve created on cardboard, adding in canvas, little papers with words etc. that I found in the street, sometimes in a collage style.”
Apropos to how liberated her creativity is, the impact she hopes for her work is equally as limitless.
“I aim to let people create their own interpretations….I feel that impact is an individual experience.."
"I create through my lens of reality. It’s what makes sense to me and what I enjoy in life. I hope the journey of where the success of my work will take me is able to serve as an outline showing others that you can do everything you desire and manifest the life that you want regardless of where you start and how many times you start over.”
Poignant, direct and brazen and yet free of neediness, her work feels natural and organic. It’s as if speaking from a deeper channel of the zeitgeist, collectively understandable and individually digestible. Janae’s presence here in the city of angels, despite how earnestly and free of self aggrandizing she presents her work, is certainly a happy addition to us all.
“...Overall the art community [in LA] is welcoming to me. I have received opportunities and met some amazing people in LA from putting myself out there and showing up.
Being an artist anywhere you’re going to deal with egos and people who don’t think you deserve to reach higher than whatever they are presenting but that’s all ego and perspective. There is no competition. Opportunity is limitless...
"I feel like everyone fits in where and when they are supposed to. The “scene” can be welcoming and exclusionary all at once and more so on different days. You can show up to a free event because you saw a flyer on instagram and everyone at the event ignores you while smiling when you make eye contact. Maybe if you had worn your cooler, more expensive glasses or shoes you would have gotten a compliment that sparked a conversation...Life is perspective. I don’t take anything personally. If you are meant to be in a room you will be there. If you feel unwelcome in a space, create your own."
It’s clear that Janae possesses a wisdom. A wisdom that, once a viewer or listener is familiar with her, cannot be forgotten. She has in her an exemplary message of humble bravery: the willingness to show up, be authentically one’s true self, and both resist conforming while remaining open to influence, connection and unexpected inspiration. She seems able to embrace not only her own power, but the power of us all.
And as if this all wasn’t enough, Janae just launched her own CBD infused smoothie company, now available for delivery. She may be a transplant but she’s definitely one of us, and here to show us that there’s no need to wait for an invitation.
What makes Janae’s artistry special is not just how unique and comprehensive it is, but that in being as much, she embodies what LA gives artists the opportunity to be: multidimensional, interdisciplinary, and experimental. She is, as far as I can see, a walking example of why being a creative in LA is such a special experience. She capitalizes on that the ruleless streets are their own canvas, and that one need not be confined by motifs and beliefs from the past, nor succumb to heavy burdens of expectations, norms and outdated values. Thankfully, the city seems to have inspired her enough to call it home and a launching place of her latest endeavors. And her advice to other artists in LA makes me hopeful she’ll be a guiding force in ensuring our city stays a place of endless possibility:
“Go for it. It’s all a learning experience. The process can’t start without you pushing the button. Release as much content as you possibly can and see where it takes you. Accept feedback. People are paying attention. The opportunity will find you when you’re prepared to complete it. Your biggest fan is an anonymous admirer.”