Text: Pier-Anne Rouleau
Photos: Lucy Lu

We’ve fallen for Rachel Joanis, a Toronto-based artist who promotes her fellow women and diversity through her art. You might have seen her in a recent Globe and Mail article or encountered her work through one of her collaborations with major companies like The Four Seasons, Holt Renfrew, CIBC, Nike, Reebok, Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, and many others…

Read on to discover the woman and artist behind this first silk screen printed version of our glass hand soap bottle and learn more about her creative process!

Enjoy!

Who is Rachel Joanis?

I’m the artist and the founder behind Rachel Joanis Illustrations, an online print shop based in Toronto. I moved from Winnipeg to Toronto in 2010 to study Fashion Communications at Ryerson University and found that design and illustration were really what I wanted to do with my career.

Illustration has always been my passion. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved drawing and painting, but growing up it was never something that I thought I could turn into a career. I had always wanted to work in the fashion industry, but in my last year of school, and after finishing several internships, I realized that illustration and design were truly calling my name.

In my final year of university, I started working as a freelance illustrator. Slowly at first, starting with doing illustrations for free, I slowly began building up a client base and growing it until I was able to sustain myself with illustration full-time.

How do you get inspired? But above all, how did you go about creating the Unscented Co. glass bottle?

I’m continually inspired by my family, friends, and fellow creatives. Whenever I’m looking for an idea for a new illustration, I’m mainly inspired by current events; reading about what’s going on in the world always gives me new ideas for something to illustrate.

I was so excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Unscented Co. since I knew the brand’s mission to reduce our collective plastic footprint and their focus on creating environmentally sustainable products strongly aligned with my values of striving to live a more environmentally conscious way of life.

For the glass bottle, I knew I wanted to use minimal line drawings to create the look of a mountainside. I imagined that the bold, undulating lines of a mountain would look striking on the face of the glass bottle.

I began by looking up images of mountains for inspiration, and from there sketched out various cliffside shapes. I love juxtaposing flat abstract shapes within the line drawings, and I played around with incorporating different pastel shapes against the inky black lines of the mountains. The more I sketched out the abstract shapes, the more I realized that a few of them resembled pebbles—and I liked the idea of stacking the pebbles to fit neatly behind the mountain, representing the foundation on which the mountain stands.

What place does the notion of inclusivity/diversity take in your art?

Diversity and inclusion are always at the forefront of my creative work. As a woman of color, I feel a responsibility and a desire to foster and promote broad representation of different ethnicities and body types in my work.

I know personally the importance of representation in the media. It can have a profound effect on how people from minority groups are seen, and how they see themselves.

We know that you are looking to make a real difference for women in art. How could we, as consumers, make them shine more?

I’ve been so moved in recent years to see a big push to support and promote female artists. It’s been wonderful to see, but it’s just the first step forward in addressing the disparity between female and male artists in the art industry.

My advice would be to really seek out female artists and the galleries that exhibit and sell their work. I think any way of showing your support, whether it be monetarily, or simply following and promoting their work on social media, can help make a difference.
What is your concept of cleanliness?

To me, cleanliness is a form of self-care. I feel it’s an important part of taking care of your physical and emotional health. Being clean, tidy, and organized helps me feel better prepared for the day. And feeling prepared allows me to do my best work.

Using products that I know are high quality, natural, and environmentally friendly is also an important component to that as well. Buying products that aren’t harmful to my skin or the environment adds to my overall sense of well-being.

IG: @racheljoanis
Website: https://www.racheljoanis.com/