Tanton was born on October 25, 1961 in Oshawa, Ontario and is the daughter of George and Jacqueline Tanton. Her birth parents were Doug Hunter and Louise Brown, both deceased, of Toronto. After graduating from R.S. McLaughlin C.V.I., she attended the BFA (Acting) program at the University of Windsor for two years and continued her post-secondary education, graduating from the Graphic Design Program at Durham College. Tanton continued her interest in the arts, working professionally in theatre, graphic design, and sales, culminating in a launch of her own art publishing and design company in 1989.
She quickly developed a wide sales network for her original and published artwork throughout Canada and into the United States, garnering major corporate accounts and licensing opportunities while operating two commercial galleries in Burford and Stratford, Ontario in addition to her art and design studio. Her work can be found with numerous galleries and retailers across the world. Her entrepreneurial success and visioning led to an invitation as a delegate to the first ever 1999 Businesswomen's Summit between Canada and the U.S., as well as a nomination for the Rotman Women Entrepreneur of the Year. She has represented and published many Canadian artists, championing their intellectual property rights, and continues to be an advocate in entrepreneurial and business export issues for women. She has held membership in the Society of Tempera Painters, Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT), and WEC (Women Entrepreneurs of Canada) and has participated on Team Canada Trade and Export missions.
She continues to oversee her company and from 1996 - 2006 was the creative director and illustrator of Country Home Candle, developing that brand and providing illustration for numerous products, moving the company forward in their branding worldwide. She has had great success in illustrating plates for the Bradford Exchange, resulting in two sold-out series, "Some Beary Nice Places" and "Christmas Memories".
Janice mentors and instructs a number of Canadian artists and youth community arts programs. She maintains a studio practice in Canmore, Alberta.
She now creates only original works of art in contemporary themes and works primarily in oils. Her current practice focusses upon cross-cultural, intergenerational and multi-disciplinary examination, employing both traditional indigenous and western contemporary aesthetics around possessive identity.
Awards and honours
Moving to Canmore, Alberta with her family in February 2005, Janice joined The Banff Centre and works as the Program Manager for Aboriginal Leadership and Management in Leadership Development. In April 2008, Janice, in conjunction with Elder Tom Crane Bear of Siksika First Nation (Blackfoot) dreamed and designed the tipi to mark the 75th Anniversary of The Banff Centre just a few weeks ahead of the historic residential school apology by the Canadian government to Aboriginal people. The design was transferred to her and Brian Calliou (Program Director for Aboriginal Leadership) and their respective families in a ceremony conducted by Blackfoot Elders Bruce and Anne-Marie Wolfchild, and witnessed and attended by their Excellencies Governor General Michaëlle Jean and her husband Jean-Daniel Lafond. Janice and her family were greatly honoured by being adopted by Elder Tom Crane Bear and she was given the Blackfoot name, "Iniskimaki" (Buffalo Stone Woman).
In 2008, she was honoured by Durham College as an Alumnus of Distinction and delivered an inspiring address to the graduating class of communication arts, design, health & community service and career development and continuing education. In 2009, she received a Canada Council for the Arts individual visual arts project grant to produce The Community Fusion Project.