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Jemma Cheer is a local Graphic Designer, Artist and Musician.  She has developed herself as a freelancer over the years, having clients including, Destination Manawatu, and Central Bicycle Studios. We chatted about life as a creative professional in Palmerston North, what motivates and inspires her, and what keeps her here.  

What are you working on at the moment?

Alongside my usual design work, I’ve been focusing on myself. I’ve only just realised that my work (design/music/anything) is only ever going to be as good as I am. I always thought you could just run along and work as hard as possible, then your work would keep getting better. But I’ve found that the work only gets stronger as you get better at being yourself.

Do you think growing up in Palmerston North has played a role in how you approach making music/ graphic design presently?

Being a long-term Swampton dweller definitely has it benefits in business. I’m able to run my own graphic design studio here and most of the credit for that goes to the people I know. Being a part of the community makes it simpler to find work and for that work to translate into referrals for more. By knowing the people I’m working for, I’m able to resolve work in a way that would be tricky without local context. You can feel if something is made by someone who cares. It’s the same with my music. Being allowed to do what I want to do is directly related to growing up here. I have the space to think for myself and do the work that’s important to me here.

How do you see Palmerston North in terms of supporting young creatives, for example, funding, job opportunities, spaces to show work/music?

I think it goes in waves, but that could just be my attention span. The amount of creative people showing their work and helping other people do their work at the moment is inspiring. Palmy is in fine form. I would expect that this art and music being accessible to everyone at the moment is having a decent impact. Going to a gig at Great Job! or an art show at Snails on a Friday night after a long week in the studio is all the motivation I need to keep at it. I feel very lucky to be a part of the community here and to get to know all of the people.

Often young creatives from Palmerston North feel this pressure to move out of town to create something bigger and better for themselves…Is this something you can relate to?

Every day. That’s not what I want, but it’s what I’m told I want. It can really mess with my confidence. I often feel a lot of shame when someone asks me if I’ve lived here my whole life, which is my own issue but I don’t think I’m unique. New experiences are a great way to grow, so of course moving away from your home town is a nice idea. But the people I love and the opportunities I have here are world class. I’ll live somewhere else one day, but I am grateful to live here now.

Has Palmerston North provided you with inspiration and motivation over the years or is it something you have to regularly go out and search for yourself?

I operate best within boundaries – I like problem solving. So living here has pushed me to think differently about a lot of things. I feel like the isolation makes me stronger. I’ve travelled a bit, which sometimes fills me with rejection about Palmy, but that melts away once I come back and see that I’ve got everything that’s important and inspiring to me here.

Jemma Cheer is an all round self starter. Having developed herself as a well recognised and respected freelancer in Palmerston North she continues to push herself and professional life to new limits with her own unique approach to all of her artistic endeavours. With her easy- going, honest and sweet nature, Jemma is someone you can easily relate to in some way or another. Below is a link to her website and bandcamp where you can look at her work or listen to some of her tunes!

Jemma on bandcamp http://jemmamarie.bandcamp.com/

Jemmas website http://jemmacheer.com/

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