In this category called People of Polymer we present inspiring clayers from different parts of the world. This time we are happy to write about Janine Haq, a young Canadian artist living in Toronto, Ontario, who devotes her art to sculpting horses in realistic but also fantasy style.

Janine has been enjoying all types of art, including painting, drawing, and sculpture since her childhood and teenage years. “I learned to draw from my dad and gained my love for animals and especially horses from my mom, so it was a natural progression,” says Janine who at this time uses clay as her main medium for creating sculptures of horses, which is something we all admire as the horse’s anatomy can be really hard to accomplish.

Janine still remembers those days when she discovered polymer clay on the internet and was thrilled to hear there was a sculpting medium that could be used at home with no fancy equipment needed: “I fell in love with it right away and soon I was creating many small horses and unicorns and became hooked.”

Even without any formal art training, as a self-taught artist through online research and hands-on exploration, Janine’s artwork has been sold to clients all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Australia, England, and many more.

“Instead of art studies I completed Bsc. in Psychology, and later Msc. in Occupational Therapy. I enjoy working with people and hearing their stories, but it can be overwhelming sometimes and art is a great escape. I make sure I give my brain a break, which has been very helpful during the pandemic,“ shares with us Janine. Even though she is not a professional artist, she actually likes the fact that there is no pressure to make something popular and marketable.

”While I sell my work, I avoid feeling like I have to sell what I create. I also try really hard to not get sucked into feeling the need to be popular on social media. There are always pressures for artists and I continue to remind myself to make what I enjoy and not let external sources dictate what I make,“ says Janine.

Capturing movement in sculpture or other static artwork is not easy, especially with such difficult objects like horses. But Janine finds the way horses walk, run, and move very inspirational and beautiful. “I use art as a relaxation and escape and any real time I get with horses is the same. There are so many different varieties of horse types and breeds and they are a never ending source of inspiration,“ says Janine about her art and continues to talk about her tendencies to be inspired by the fantasy world as well: “I think when I was young, I would spend time thinking up what my dream horse would be, and many times it was a horse that did not exist in real life. Creating sculpture allows me to envision all sorts of dream horses without the added pressure of what is genetically possible.“

But Janine doesn't create only fairytale-like horses, we can find some pretty scary creatures in her portfolio with elements of horror. “As much as I love fantasy, I have always loved horror movies and artwork. I think capturing true horror in art is very difficult, and it is a fun challenge to try to recreate something horrifying in your brain to a sculpture,“ explains Janine her love for these creatures.

Thanks to using resin casting, Janine has been able to offer sculptures more often, and at a lower cost than previously. “This also lets me create lightweight objects, such as less fragile wings, which opens up my options,” she says. Janine has also started working with clear resin, which provides various options for water, clear fins, clear wings and more. Mixing these materials certainly opens up creativity.

Janine already accomplished one of her big dreams and published own book called How to Sculpt a Horse with Polymer Clay. Another big dream high up on her list is to create a sculpture edition in bronze.

Also to have enough biomechanical and anatomical knowledge to successfully create a realistic galloping racehorse sculpture, or even a pair of galloping race horses is something she would love to make happen one day.

We would definitely love to see this coming in the near future as Janine’s horses are amazing! The textures, combining different materials with polymer, adding wings and the mix of fantasy and realistic style simply blew our mind! Do you agree?