Deconstruct your mind with Jemma Solley
Jemma Solley, BA (Hons) Graphic Design level 3 student and artist has been recognised by global organisation Creative Conscious, winning the Human Rights category with her work ‘Deconstruct Your Mind’. An Asian hate awareness campaign and movement that sheds light on the racism that the asian community has suffered, especially during the pandemic.
This inspiring project has involved detailed first hand research, collaboration and engagement within communities to help build awareness to this cause. We loved hearing about this project read on to find out more!
Tell us about creative conscious and how you got involved?
Creative Conscious is a global organisation which is dedicated to changing the world by positive and performative art and encourages both students and artists from around the world to get involved and to do something to incite change. I first found out about the Creative Conscious Awards from my tutors; Paul, Olivia and Matt. They were really supportive of my project from the very beginning and encouraged me to enter into this years competition.
It feels amazing to have won in the Human Rights category and to have me and my work recognised on such a large platform. It has really boosted my confidence as a designer. It is also great to see how my work has made a difference and can hopefully raise more awareness all over the world. My one main aim for the project was to raise awareness so having it shared on a global scale is quite surreal to me.
Can you tell us about your project?
This project was entitled, ‘Deconstruct Your Mind,’ and was an Asian hate awareness movement and protest that brings light to the racism faced by the AAPI community, especially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The poster series was displayed across city centres promoting solidarity with the Asian community. These posters, along with stickers and origami paper cranes, were hidden around cities as an interactive element, aiming for people to stop and reflect. The movement has enticed responses from the general public which prompts people to get involved too.
So much hard work was put into this project and a lot was done behind the scenes, often late on a night in the studio after class had finished, to get to this point. From spending hours and hours researching into a multitude of different aspects of Japanese history and culture to further my own knowledge and understanding. To folding around 150 origami paper cranes to hide around the cities. To creating my own website dedicated to spreading awareness of the movement. To reaching out to Japanese language professors at different universities around the country to help with translation – shoutout to Shiro Yoshioka at Newcastle University – and New York protest photographer Sam, who help me to gain a better insight to what was really going on within these communities. To finally, the actual pasting up of the posters, which wouldn’t have been possible without help of my classmate Haydn White. So in a way I had my own little community helping me to achieve this award.
Tell us about the other projects you’ve been working on
Over the summer I have been spending time developing my digital skills, as well as screen printing my own t-shirts and selling my work all over the world on Etsy. In terms of developing my practice I love to keep up to date with the latest design trends whether that be on Instagram, Behance, Pinterest, or by reading design related books and magazines, I have really been enjoying the Type 01 magazines over the summer which has helped inspire me when I was stuck in a creative block.
How is The Northern School of Art special for you?
The Northern school of Art is special to me as I have been part of the community for many years, as I first started off studying BTEC Graphic Design at the Green Lane campus in Middlesbrough. I started from the bottom and learnt everything I know from my amazing tutors Tom and Paul and made a lot of life long friends there. So by continuing my studies up in Hartlepool I have continued to grow as a designer. The facilities are great and push you to try something new which really helped me to find and develop my own personal style of design.
Any advice for students and future creatives?
My one piece of advice to future creatives and new students would be to create art about topics that you are really passionate about, because not only will you enjoy it more, but you will be able to connect with like minded people and have discussions which could potentially change the world for the better.
If you are interested in graphic design we offer a fantastic diploma and degree course at our hartlepool campus that is centred around experimental design and professional development, giving our students the skills they need to become working professionals. Apply now for 2022 start!