JaNae Contag is an artist and musician exploring cultural landscapes, technology, and the mall.
Contag's art practice spans photography, video, music, performance, digital art, drawing, and interactive installation. Her work investigates contemporary aspirational lifestyles, and the idiosyncratic intersections of tourism and elitism. Shopping malls, airports, lifestyle centers, megachurches, and suburban subdivisions are often active participants and central characters in her work.
She sings, writes, and plays analog synthesizers as her persona NÆ. She has performed original music on tour across the US with her partner Ryan Black (artist, composer, producer, and engineer). Her music satirizes the absurdities of American aspirational lifestyles. NÆ's debut album Push Button Future, "is a dance-pop confection with a biting edge, commenting on modern-day issues of consumerism, commercialism, and influencer culture. It's bold, flashy, with elements of rap and EDM splashed throughout, skewering white privilege in a catchy way," writes Scapi Magazine. Contag and Black's experimental sound performance project, Temporal Biomes, was commissioned by The 150 Media Stream in Chicago.
Contag's artwork has been exhibited at galleries and museums across the country, including Co-Lab Projects in Austin and the Michael and Noemi Neidorff Gallery in San Antonio, TX; The Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Intersect STL, Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, Free Paarking, and The Luminary Center for the Arts in St. Louis, MO; Central Booking and Trestle Projects in Brooklyn, NY; and The 150 Media Stream, Parallax Labs, The Carlson Tower Gallery, and The Wilmette Theatre in Chicago, IL, and others. Her work has been featured in Esthetic Lens Magazine, Scapi Magazine, Waveform Magazine, Synth House Chicago, VEVO, Mythic Rhythmic, Woozy Magazine, Fotoseptiembre, The Chicago Tribune, The COMP Art & Design Magazine, Vellum Magazine, Forgotten Chicago, Radio DePaul, Advance Your Art: From Artist to Creative Entrepreneur Podcast, and the Artists of the Industry Podcast.
In addition to her creative work, Contag is a commercial photographer. She specializes in architectural photography, corporate events, and lifestyle portraiture. Her work has been notably published by The Chicago Tribune, Sheraton Marriott Hotels, DLR Group Architecture Firm, Salesforce, Northwestern University, and the Goethe-Institut Chicago, amongst others.
Contag lives and works in Chicago, where she teaches Photography and Video Art at Loyola University's Department of Fine and Performing Arts. She is a member of the Society for Photographic Education and has presented at the SPE Midwest Regional Conference. Contag received her MFA in Visual Art from the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Art at Washington University in St. Louis and her BA from Trinity University in San Antonio.