Emily Salinas

Emily studied graphic arts at LJMU’s School of Art and Design and says that her studies really shaped her into the artist and designer that she is today. The briefs were baffling and challenging, but ultimately made her a better creative thinker.

While the influence and support of her lecturers and tutors have left a lasting impact on her as a person. “I remember our amazing tutor John Young, sadly passed, who was something of a legend amongst the students, an eccentric who was immensely passionate about graphic design and who was such an inspiration to all of us. I remember the mentoring from tutors such as Ian Mitchell who really helped me develop my ideas in my third year.”

Outside of the Art School, Emily was also supported at LJMU by an entrepreneurship scheme that provided her with essential knowledge about business-related matters to help her pursue being a freelance artist, while supporting her to gain practical work experience through internships with prominent design studios like Uniform and Well Made.

It was with Well Made that she was selected as one of 12 graduates to showcase her work through a pop-up collective and was able to contribute to other exciting projects. While studying and gaining industry experience in the city of Liverpool, a famous hub of creativity itself, Emily was able to take inspiration from the bohemian ambience of Bold Street and Lark Lane and aspire to create immersive events like that of the Invisible Wind Factory.

Equipped with both her creative and practical skills, Emily has gone on to pursue a career as an artist, running sign making workshops as another creative outlet, while aiming to bring mental health and well-being advocacy into her works.

It’s that ambition that led her to come up with ‘Project Lovebomb’ which ran as part of Liverpool's Independents Biennial programme throughout summer 2023.

“This project originated from an experience of being lovebombed into an abusive relationship. I hated the idea of love being weaponised in this way and that's what inspired me to reclaim the idea of lovebombing. And I wanted to do it in a way that not only benefited me but others too.”

– Emily Salinas

For those not acquainted with the term ‘lovebombing’, it is a manipulation technique used to groom someone into an abusive relationship. It consists of flooding the target with attention, affection and compliments. It’s designed to hook the target in and make it harder to leave once the abuse starts. Project Lovebomb brought together a collection of mini projects aimed at reclaiming the idea of lovebombing from being something negative to something positive as well as seeking to raise awareness, spark discussion around abusive relationships and help abuse survivors.

The first campaign of Project Lovebomb introduced the concept of ‘lovebombs’ as handmade appreciation packages, complete with thoughtful gifts, a jar filled with compliments and a personal handwritten letter of appreciation.

The second campaign showcased vibrant murals and flyposters strategically placed throughout the city. The uplifting artworks conveyed messages of appreciation, such as ‘you are appreciated’ and ‘tell your friends you love them’. Renowned muralists from the Northwest, including Oskar with a K, Caroline Dowsett, Andrew Wolfenden and Becky McGillivray, came together to contribute their talents to Emily’s project too.

Emily's driving force is to raise awareness about lovebombing and abusive relationships on a broad scale. She believes that fostering understanding about how abusive relationships may start can empower individuals to avoid such painful experiences. Her hope is that Project Lovebomb will touch the hearts of many and make a lasting impact on society.

“You hear the term ‘loneliness epidemic’ being bandied around often. Maybe that's why we get sucked in by lovebombing when it shows up; we're starved of that connection. I want to do something to help change that. Besides, we are all going through so much with the stress of the cost-of-living crisis, issues with anxiety, depression and so much more. We could all use a little sunshine in our day.”

Emily has ambitious plans for the future of Project Lovebomb and hopes to turn it into an annual event across various cities. She aims to secure funding to support the appreciation campaigns and hopes to conduct workshops for abuse survivors. Her campaign can be supported through GoFundMe.