The life of an artist or designer is often a life of uncertainty and creative adventure, but the Covid
Creatives from all over the UK, including Chelsea students and alumni, have been managing to continue their practice as well as reaching out to celebrate key workers and their local communities.
One of these is BA Graphic Design Communication alumna Jacqueline Colley. We spoke to her about how she has used her creativity and skills in lockdown to show support for the NHS.
Illustrator and designer Jacqueline Colley graduated from Chelsea in 2008 and earlier this year completed a commission to paint the entrance doors of Great Ormond St Hospital (GOSH) in London: "It was such a rewarding job, as you could feel the effect it had on children and parents: making a hospital visit or stay a little less scary.”
As Covid-19 progressed, she was commissioned again by the hospital to create a poster celebrating the work of their NHS carers.
Jacqueline shared the poster design on social media and was surprised to be contacted by doctors from other hospitals asking if they could buy a copy to put up in their staff room to raise morale. “I didn't want to charge them because of the amazing lifesaving work they are doing,” she said, “despite my freelance work facing its own set of challenges during the pandemic". Jacqueline managed to get sponsorship from Printed.com and DPD UK to print and deliver 50 A2 posters to NHS staff across the country.
The image is also available as a free downloadable colouring sheet on the GOSH Arts Programme website, inviting the public to colour it in and send it to an NHS worker, local hospital, GP Surgery or display in their window. "I wish I could send a poster to every single NHS worker, but being able to send out a little love is awesome!”
Since she left Chelsea, Jacqueline has built her illustration career, working with clients such as, Twitter UK, Derwent,
As well as working commercially, she has an online shop and takes part in fairs. She describes how the impact of the pandemic on small businesses has proven the value of having multiple income streams and of the digital marketplace, with lots of customers choosing to support independent makers: “Some areas of my income have completely shut down since March, whilst my online shop has been much busier. I already valued and prioritised maintaining multiple income streams but moving forward I will aim to give this more attention.'’
It’s not surprising that Jaqueline is thriving: her designs are bold, colourful and striking and have a popular appeal that she says she can trace back to what she learnt as a student:
“Chelsea broadened my awareness of visual language, it was the beginning of a journey of understanding which led to an ability to break down visual styles, manipulate type and create new modern visuals!”