'Een Plekje onder de Zon'.

Jean-Claude Salemi is a Belgian illustrator, editorial cartoonist and jazz guitarist. He was a member of the Belgian socially conscious folk band GAM, for whom he also designed posters, pamphlets and album covers. Later he also performed with the jazz band Swing-O-Box. Salemi remains best known as a poster designer for various cultural events, especially jazz concerts. He works exclusively with linotype. Throughout his career he also made a few comic strips for collective books, such as Brain Factory International's 'Jacques Brel' (1987-1998) and '6 Kerngezonde Stripverhalen' (1993), distributed by the Integrale Kankercentra. In 1989 he also made the memorable poster for the opening of the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels. 

Early life
Jean-Claude Salemi was born in 1950 in Casablanca, Morocco. He studied architecture at Sint-Lukas School of Arts in Brussels, but discontinued his studies to follow his political consiousness. He performed guitar in factories and designed posters for various alternative activities. During the 1970s and early 1980s, he designed many posters for local jazz concerts in Liège and Brussels, and also for companies like Marabout, Vie Ouvrière and Van In. Together with Anne-Catherine Van Santen, Salemi was co-founder of Atelier Razkas in 1986, a collective of etchers, engravers and stone printers who often exhibited their work in Belgium and abroad. His cartoons have appeared in Le Vif/ L'Express, L'Echo, Le Matin, Le Soir and Le Ligueur.

An early comic page by Jean-Claude Salemi, 'Un Petit Jeune Qui Monte', appeared in issue #737 of Pilote magazine. In 1987-1988, the publishing company Brain Factory International released a four-volume comic book series where Franco-Belgian comic authors visualized songs by singer Jacques Brel in comic strip form. In the first volume, 'Le Plat Pays' (1987) Salemi visualized the song 'Il Neige Sur Liège' into a comics narrative. This also marked the first time he used lino engraving techniques, which would become his trademark artistic technique. In 1989 the Belgian Comic Strip Center, co-founded by Guy Dessicy, opened its doors in Brussels. Salemi made the famous poster which shows a giant man with a box, from which dozens of Belgian comic characters storm out into the museum.

In 1993 the Integrale Kankercentra, a collaboration between centers for cancer prevention from Flanders and the Netherlands, released the comic book '6 Kerngezonde Stripverhalen' (1993), in which six cartoonists created a comic story related to cancer prevention. The book was produced by the Belgian Comic Strip Center and Tof Productions, under supervision of Jean-Claude de la Royère, and also released in French under the title '6 Histoires Bien Portantes'. Among the contributing authors were Daniel Alexandre & Dino Attanasio, Jean-Luc Cornette, Laurent Letzer & Luc Cromheecke, Alec Séverin and Salemi & Anne-Catherine van Santen. Salemi drew a comic strip written by Anne-Catherine, titled 'Eén Plekje Onder De Zon', which was only vaguely related to cancer: it deals with a summer love on the beach, with two loved ones sharing the shade instead of sitting in the sun. 

'Petite revue des débats…' (Politique, 20 May 2022).

Political cartoons
Salemi also draws cartoons inspired by current events. They are published in the magazine Politique (with as subtitle: Revue Belge d'Analyse et de Débat) and their website revuepolitique.be. 

Graphic contributions
Salemi livened up the pages of Jean-Louis Aisse's book 'Lettres et le Néant' (Editions Lamiroy, 2015). He was also one of many artists to pay tribute to Ever Meulen during the 'Ever Meulen & Friends' exhibition in October 2017 in Brussels.

Poster for the band GAM.

Musical career
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Salemi was a member of the socially conscious folk band GAM. GAM often participated in demonstrations, among others against the nuclear power plant in the town Chooz, near the Belgian-French border. They even devoted an entire EP to it, 'Non à la 2ème Centrale!' (1979). Whenever the group was present during a demonstration, they performed protest songs, sometimes while local police guards stood by. Within the band, Salemi played guitar and co-composed songs. He also designed GAM's concert posters, pamphlets and album covers. For the cover of their single 'Heel Het Raderwerk Staat Stil Als Onze Arm Het Wil' (1970s), the band reprinted an iconic 1903 cartoon by Albert Hahn Sr.

Salemi also performs as a guitarist in the jazz band Swing-O-Box. In 2015 they brought out an album, 'Live Á La Jazz Station' (2015), for which Salemi designed the album cover. He also released a solo album, 'En Attendant' (2022). 

Salemi designed the album covers of Claude Semal's 'Les Convoyeurs Attendent' (1982), 'Tea For Two' (1982) by Frénésie, 'Claude Semal & Charles Loos' (1984) by Claude Semal and Charles Loos and 'Clear Night' (1991) by Jacques Stotzem. In 2018 Salemi, Adrien Liénart, Frédéric Debaix and Salemi performed a series of concerts paying homage to legendary chansonnier Georges Brassens. Salemi's son, Martin Salemi, is also active as a jazz musician. In 2017, Martin Salemi released his debut album 'Short Stories' (2017), of which Jean-Claude Salemi designed the cover.

Jean-Claude Salemi's name is included on the 'Mur des Célébrités' ('Celebrity Wall') at the Maison des Arts/Huis der Kunsten in Schaarbeek/Schaerbeek, near Brussels. The wall celebrates well-known people who were born in Schaarbeek with their own personal name placard. 

Poster for the opening of the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels in 1989. We recognize in the lower half running up the stairs: Tintin & Snowy (Hergé), Spirou and Spip the squirrel (Rob-Vel), Boule & Bill (Jean Roba), Suske, Wiske and Lambik (Willy Vandersteen), Cubitus (Dupa) and Marsupilami (André Franquin). The first row of people behind them is (from left to right): Blondin & Cirage (Jijé), Gaston Lagaffe (Franquin), Lucky Luke and Rantanplan (Morris), Nero (Marc Sleen), the Smurfs and Benoît Brisefer (Peyo). Among the second row of characters we recognize from left to right: Blake & Mortimer (E.P. Jacobs), Balthazar (Bob De Moor), Chlorophylle & Minimum (Raymond Macherot), Tif & Tondu (Fernand Dineur, Will). The third row is comprised of Buck Danny (Victor Hubinon), Poussy (Peyo), Quick & Flupke (Hergé), Kid Ordinn and Dog Bull (Tibet), Docteur Poche (Marc Wasterlain), Pancho and Jerry Spring (Jijé). In the fourth row we spot Buck Danny's pal Sonny Tuckson (Victor Hubinon), a Croston (Paul Deliège), Yoko Tsuno (Roger Leloup), Vieux Nick (Marcel Remacle), Timour (Sirius), Alix (Jacques Martin) and Clifton (Macherot). In the last row we notice the Flagada (Charles Degotte), Lieutenant Chesterfield (Louis Salvérius, Willy Lambil), Le Scrameustache (Gos), Corentin (Paul Cuvelier), Kaddour (Jacques Laudy), Natacha (François Walthéry), Barelli (Bob De Moor), Inspecteur Crouton, Libellule, & Gil Jourdan (Maurice Tillieux).


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