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// Interview with Hull Illustrator - Jemma Klein //

Here at The Rebel Girls Club I am all about women who inspire with their determination to succeed at what makes them feel happy and fulfilled.

I am under no illusions however that choosing a creative career is an easy choice. It can often mean working twice as hard for what you want and for the recognition that a lot of us take for granted in our day jobs.

“Making it” isn’t easy and yet I am constantly in awe of the talented Hullians who are doing just that… Carving a creative path for themselves in a place that is so easily overlooked, a place that has had to shout very loudly for the recognition it deserves. Hull is the mothership for many a talented individual. As a city it is original, gritty and unapologetically Northern and that is exactly why I love calling it home.

Today, I am publishing an interview with friend and Hull Artist/Illustrator Jemma Klein.
Here is what she had to say.

So Jemma, where did you learn to draw like that?! Is there a project or collab you are most proud of? Shout it out girl!

I’ve been drawing ever since I could pick up a pencil (see Jesus picture that has been mentioned on my podcast @ourstrangegirlhood) and at college I decided to study art along with a few scientific subjects. I loved my art course and ended up getting full marks and one of the highest grades in England that year, however, much to the dismay of my art teacher, I decided to follow a more academic path and studied Biotechnology at University... Once I finished my degree, I really wanted to revisit my passion for creating art work and began a long process of filling sketchbooks with drawings (with a bit of an obsession for portraiture) and eventually I moved onto learning how to paint digitally whilst travelling, including a brief period of time in the back of a campervan in New Zealand.

I guess what I’m most proud of is teaching myself how to digitally create and design film posters, which has paid off recently with my first official movie poster commission for 'A Northern Soul' which is from Bafta nominee Sean McAllister. I’m particularly proud of this as the film is set in Hull and follows Steve, a factory worker, who is trying to follow his dream in a place where the opportunities can be more limited than in other major cities. Being from Hull and trying to follow my dream every day whilst holding down a full time job, this film really resonated with me.

I know you moved back to Hull a relatively short time ago. Has it been easy establishing yourself here and what kinda steps have you taken to get yourself noticed?

When I moved back to Hull the first thing I did was reach out locally to others and try and get involved in projects in Hull as much as possible. I think social media has played a huge part in becoming established in a place like Hull. Being part of an online community of artists near and far showcasing their creations, be it illustrations, film poster designs or seeing other people's passion projects, really allows you to push yourself to be better and improve your craft. Networking online has created many opportunities over the past couple of years such as various artwork commissions and also the opportunity to be part of a live panel at London Comic Con. These things wouldn't have happened without putting myself out there and getting involved online.

A work/life balance is something we can all struggle with. Is there anything in particular that helps you keep a balance between work, illustrating and living your life?

Tell me about it. If you find out can you let me  know?! Firstly I'd never have been able to do any of it without the constant support of my partner Jon. He really does keep me sane during the busy periods of balancing work with my passion.   He's been through it all with me so that has been invaluable.

Sometimes you need to stop and recognise what you've actually achieved. It can often feel like you may not be achieving as much as you'd like, but it is really important to not be so hard on yourself or compare yourself to others. Social media is a blessing and a curse, you can drive yourself mad looking at what others are doing. Remember it is a curated world and no one really shows the failures or struggles that come with being a creative. 

Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline? Tell me more, tell me more, like…

At the minute I'm working on a poster for an exhibition taking place in London at the end of September - it is the 'AMP 30x30 1988' show where 30 artists take 30 movies from 1988 and create artwork for them. My film is 'The Blob' which really reminds of watching horror films (that I shouldn't be watching) as a child. I can't wait to share the final piece as I'm trying to push my self to create something quite different, a little reminiscent of a Gregory Crewdson photograph - we will see if it ends up going that way, fingers crossed!

And finally, is there anyone else in Hull that is really making you tick at the minute (apart from me, obvs)?

You are my main boss bitch... I have so many talented friends it's hard to name one lady who does it for me. Roxy who runs @FLOURANDFEAST with her partner Joe, is an incredible baker and her cakes are so beautiful, I can't wait to see what her and Joe come up with in their next venture in Trinity Market. 

LAURAILUSTRADORA's  illustrations give me some serious green eyes as she creates such lovely things, especially with paint, with seemingly little effort - don't go pottery painting with her ha! 

Here are three of my favourite drawings by Jemma Klein (below) 

// Hull Legend Lillian Bilocca // Movie Poster of Wayne's World // The Fabulous Ru Paul //

Thanks for reading folks and thank you to Jemma Klein for being the first female artist featured on The Rebel Girls Club. I owe you!

Expect more interviews with other local girl gang members to come your way very soon. 


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