info | projects | statement

JaNae Contag Artist Portrait

JaNae Contag is a Kansas City native who lives and works in Chicago. She 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. Contag’s practice spans photography, video, music, performance, drawing, and interactive installation. Her work deals with aspirational lifestyle culture in America and she focuses on idiosyncratic places in which tourism and elitism co-exist such as shopping malls, airports, lifestyle centers, and megachurches.

NÆ is Contag’s musician persona and the pop culture embodiment of her visual art practice. She writes and performs original music alongside her partner Ryan Black (artist, composer, producer, and engineer). With a synth-driven sonic palette and humorous lyrical satire, NÆ delivers a subversive critique of the American desire for wealth, perception, and land. Her original music videos have been featured on VEVO, and she has collaborated on creating a series of original video games audience members play as projected visuals during her performances. She released her first album, Push Button Future in February 2021.

Contag teaches digital and film photography and design at The Art School at DePaul University and at the Art Department at North Park University. She is a member of SPE (Society for Photographic Educators) and has presented at the SPE Midwest Regional Conference.

In addition to her creative and academic work, Contag is a commercial photographer in Chicago. She specializes in architectural photography, corporate events, and lifestyle portraiture. Her work has been notably featured by The Chicago Tribune, Sheraton Marriott Hotels, DLR Group Architecture Firm, Salesforce, Northwestern University, and the Goethe-Institut Chicago, amongst others.

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 Parallax Labs, The Carlson Tower Gallery, and The Wilmette Theatre in Chicago, IL, Martyrs’ Chicago, and others. Her work has been featured in Esthetic Lens Magazine, Fotoseptiembre, The Chicago Tribune, The COMP Art & Design Magazine, Scapi Magazine, Mythic Rhythmic, Fierce & Fabulous Revolution, Vellum Magazine, Forgotten Chicago, DePaul University Radio, Advance Your Art: From Artist to Creative Entrepreneur Podcast, and the Artists of the Industry Podcast.


Commercial Photography Work:

Instagram: @naesynthpop

NÆ Music:

JaNae Contag CV

info | projects | statement