We knew exactly who to call to bring our #findyourflower mantra to life. Toronto-based artist Julia Mercanti’s cheeky illustrations are bursting with colour and hilarious observations about life. As an artist, she crafts thoughtful commentary on current events, and isn’t shy about advocating for change. We caught up with the modern-day muse to chat strong sativas, finding inspiration, and how she’s staying grounded this year.
“It’s no secret that I enjoy the sweet joys of Mary Jane. Lately, my stoned walks alone (six feet safely away from everyone!!) are the happiest parts of my week. If you need to take three bubble baths a day or talk to your lamp for a minute, that’s okay boo. Be extra kind to yourself through this. – Julia Mercanti
Do you keep certain routines or rituals to set the mood for inspiration?
Working from home has been a journey in finding a routine that works for me. What helped me get into the studio rhythm the most was getting dressed in something I felt good in or made me feel like I was going out for the day. I’m at a point where I can’t concentrate properly if I don’t feel comfortable with what I’m wearing, which sounds crazy, but it works. I have MANY rituals to keep me inspired including afternoon dance parties (with myself), listening to true crime podcasts, going for long walks in the city, and having quick creative chats with other artists.
What kind of cannabis gets your creative wheels spinning (if any)?
I can’t physically paint if I’m under the influence, but strong sativa at night, while I brainstorm new concepts and ideas, is my favourite thing.
What are you consuming?
Anything with a high THC percentage. I’m certainly not picky though and will consume pretty much anything.
You’ve worked with some amazing brands. What’s it like to have companies feel like they have to collaborate with you?
It’s the best feeling! The goal is to insert my personality into my work and to have anyone recognize that as something “they need” is ultimately a success. It also makes the work easier to complete since I am being trusted to be myself!
Who is your mentor?
My aunt, Grace Short. She is a painter and made it possible for me to imagine a career in fine art at an early age.
2020 has thrown us some unprecedented curveballs, what are you doing to stay sane?
This year has been extremely introspective for me. I’ve been taking extra steps in making sure I get enough self-care so that I can be a better and more productive ally to BIPOC groups and individuals. I’m not talking about taking bubble baths or doing face masks. I’m reading, I’m listening, I’m taking breaks when I need to. I’ve always felt illustrators have a responsibility for commenting on current events, but I can’t do that if I’m not actively taking in the news and what’s going on around me—and it can be exhausting and depressing. I feel lucky to be painting during this time, but a lot of my practice has changed and needs to grow.