ARTIST STATEMENT


JEM SOLLEY IS AN AWARD-WINNING GRAPHIC DESIGNER SPECIALISING IN EDITORIAL DESIGN AND RISOGRAPHY, WHO HAS GRADUATED WITH A BA (HONS) GRAPHIC DESIGN QUALIFICATION. JEM HAS ALWAYS BEEN FASCINATED BY PEOPLE AND THEIR IDEALS AS WELL AS THE ART OF PROTEST. WITH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC SHE FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO ENGAGE WITH PHYSICAL PROTEST MOVEMENTS, SO SHE TURNED TO ONLINE CREATIVE OUTLETS. ENGAGING WITH DESIGNERS ACROSS THE GLOBE TO CONVERSE IDEAS SURROUNDING SOCIAL MEDIA DESENSITISATION, AND HOW TO ENGAGE IN PROTEST ABIDING BY COVID REGULATIONS. IN TURN DEVELOPING BOTH ONLINE AND OFFLINE ACTIVISM. HER FMP PROJECT, ‘BEAUTY OF ACTIVISM’ SHOWS THIS; A 500 PAGE, FULLY RISOGRAPHED PUBLICATION WHICH EXPLORES THE EVENTS OF 2021 IN A MORE POSITIVE LIGHT AND SHOWS WHAT THE MODERN AGE OF PROTEST COULD LOOK LIKE.

THROUGHOUT HER TIME AT THE NORTHERN SCHOOL OF ART, JEM HAS TAKEN PART IN CREATIVE COMPETITIONS, SUCH AS THE D&AD AWARDS AND THE CREATIVE CONSCIENCE AWARDS WHICH SHE WON BACK IN 2021 WITH HER ANTI-ASIAN HATE MOVEMENT ENTITLED, ‘DECONSTRUCT YOUR MIND’. A PASTE-UP MOVEMENT ENGAGING WITH THE PUBLIC AND RAISING AWARENESS OF XENOPHOBIA IN THE UK. JEM HAS ALSO WORKED ALONGSIDE GRAPHIC ARTIST JIMMY TURRELL ON MULTIPLE OCCASIONS, SUCH AS CREATING A COLLAGE MURAL FOR THE BBC WITH THEIR BIG WEEKEND MUSIC FESTIVAL AND HELPING TO DESIGN THREE ALTERNATE COVERS FOR THE CREATIVE REVIEW, TRUTH AND LIES ISSUE.

JEM HAS EXPLORED A WIDE RANGE OF DIFFERENT CREATIVE DISCIPLINES AND TECHNIQUES WHILST STUDYING, WITH ONE METHOD WHICH SHE HAS GROWN TO LOVE, RISOGRAPHY. DUE TO HER OWN BELIEFS AND IDEALS, THE METHOD OF RISOGRAPHY WAS PERFECT FOR JEM, IT IS AN EXTREMELY SUSTAINABLE METHOD OF PRINTING, FROM THE SOY-BASED INKS ALL THE WAY TO THE RECYCLED BANANA LEAF PRINTING MASTERS. WITH THIS IN MIND JEM SPENT HER FINAL YEAR OF STUDY DEVELOPING HER SKILLS WITH THE RISOGRAPH MACHINE AND HER FINAL OUTCOMES OF HER FMP ARE A PHYSICAL REPRESENTATION OF THIS.

THIS FINAL MAJOR PROJECT WAS INCREDIBLY INTENSE WITH TIME MANAGEMENT AND ORGANISATION BEING A KEY FOCUS. JEM SPENT 4 MONTHS CREATING THE 366 POSTERS WHICH MADE IT INTO THIS PUBLICATION AS A RETROSPECTIVE OF 2021 WITH OVER 500 POSTERS MADE IN TOTAL. NOT ONLY DID JEM CREATE A LIMITED RUN OF HER PUBLICATION BUT SHE ALSO CREATED HER OWN CREATIVE COMMUNITY AND OPEN COLLABORATION ON INSTAGRAM WHICH ENCOURAGED ARTISTS FROM ALL DISCIPLINES ACROSS THE GLOBE TO GET INVOLVED WITH THE ART OF PROTEST AND TO CREATE THEIR OWN POSTER ABOUT A CERTAIN DATE OR EVENT OF 2021. 

INITIALLY JEM HAD NO INTENTION TO RISOGRAPH HER PUBLICATION BUT AFTER A TALK WITH THE MEMBERS OF COUNTERPOINT WHO SPECIALISE IN RISOGRAPH MAGAZINES SHE WAS GIVEN THE INFORMATION AND CONFIDENCE TO TAKE HER PROJECT TO THE NEXT LEVEL. THE 500-PAGE PUBLICATION WAS PRINTED LAYER BY LAYER, WHICH JEM HAD TO MANUALLY PAGINATE AND SEND TO THE RISOGRAPH, PRINTING OVER 20,000 TIMES. THE LIMITED RUN OF BOOKS HAS BEEN BOUGHT BY CREATIVES ALL ACROSS THE WORLD WHO SHARE JEM’S SAME LOVE FOR GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ACTIVISM.

2022

Mark