Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

You are not alone

You+are+not+alone

NESAD student Shawn Semmes recently placed in the top 10 of the “Say Something Poster Project,” a poster design competition and gallery meant to help motivate, inspire and educate young teens, sponsored by The Home for Little Wanderers, a non-profit dedicated to helping families. Design professionals and students from all over the country submitted entries to be judged. The top 10 had been narrowed down from 272 submissions.

Shawn, a sophomore majoring in graphic design and minoring in fine art, first got wind of the contest as part of an assignment for his Graphic Design 1 class with Marie-Anne Verougstraete. His poster, entitled “When Life Feels Overwhelming, Remember You Are Not Alone,” was meant to help those who may be dealing with a difficult situation in their life.

“My poster was created to inspire and remind anyone facing a difficult challenge, whatever it may be, that they’re not alone.”

Originally from Greenwich, CT., Semmes drew upon his own experiences in life for inspiration. “My process started by trying to think of how I felt growing up and things that I had to deal with. There are many kinds of problems that an individual faces growing up and not all of them are similar,” Semmes said.

Many of the experiences that Shawn drew upon from his own life stemmed from his involvement with a punk rock band in high school. “I was touring during the summer and not really following the same path most people follow during and after high school.” This helped to shape his main message of outreach for the poster. “There are times in my life I have felt alone and alienated from the world, just as I’m sure every teenager has. At times like those it helps every now and then to connect to someone in some way or another even if you don’t realize it right away.”

With the main purpose of the competition being to inspire and educate young teens, it is possible that Shawn’s poster could have an effect beyond the craftsmanship.

“If my poster has a real impact on even one person’s life I’d feel that it was successful and I’d be happy.” Although not completely optimistic about this prospect, he wishes that his work would somehow connect with someone. “I’m not sure if it will be because I’ve never been where these kids have been in their lives. I can only hope we’ve got something in common and they are able connect and feel the same way that I do about it.”

The contest consisted of three phases of judging and voting. The original 272 entries were narrowed down to 100 by 16,420 online votes from the public. A five-person judging panel, consisting of three design professionals, a representative from The Home, and an educational professional with a background in urban education were then brought in to narrow the entries down to 25 semifinalists. An event was then held in which the public was allowed to vote for the top 10, which included Shawn’s poster.

Made using mixed media, which included spray paint, acrylic and vector art, his work, along with the other nine finalist pieces can be seen at The Fourth Wall Gallery, located on 132 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA. And he doesn’t seem to be done yet.

“This process has definitely inspired me to take part in similar projects, possibly over the summer when classes are done. I would absolutely love to do something like this again.”

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