Janet Wang

Interior Design

Foundations and Design Instructor
The Art Institute of Vancouver

Janet Wang

An artist needs to be multi-talented and multi-faceted, able to present, research, ideate, network, sell, make, fail, refine, and create—all within a larger social and historical context. Janet Wang , Foundations and Design Instructor
, The Art Institute of Vancouver
Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

As a child, I found stories in books and games, and drawing...on the walls. I was always asking for more paper, pencils, boxes, scissors, and glue. I remember sitting at the kitchen table drawing on a scrap of paper as I visualized a story my mom had told of her day at work. When I looked up, I realized that I had drawn all over our Formica kitchen table. I still draw on walls—when I’m asked to—and I still love creating visual stories.

How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

I believe an artist needs to be multi-talented and multi-faceted, able to present, research, ideate, network, sell, make, fail, refine, and create all within a larger social and historical context. In the design classroom, I teach with this bigger picture in mind. We learn and apply visual logic with visual metaphor to create dynamic and current design.

What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


I assign my Drawing students what’s called an exploded diagram—a drawing of an object with its component parts in a controlled "explosion" along set axis. The group chooses the object, thumbnails the explosion, and then each member draws one part of the whole. They check in as team to ensure that the finished product, when glued together, is consistent in scale and form.

How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?


As a foundations instructor, I have the pleasure of teaching students from many different programs in one classroom. In the exploded diagram project, one group included a graphic designer, an interior design student, and an animation student. Ideas are shared, and students help each other reach a common goal. When we’re learning a core concept, I’ll show students examples from various media. It sparks interesting dialogue between media and design students, who each have their own interpretation what they see.

What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

I urge them to say why they’re making a statement, whether positive or negative. Knowing the rationale behind any creative project, critique or decision is essential to fully exploring your process and your practice.