I’ll be honest, I was a teenager back in the early 1990s; my childhood is planted firmly in the era of Reaganomics, Transformers, banana clips and Michael Jackson: the time span known colloquially as the 1980s. When the name “Lisa Frank” is mentioned, most people think of Tamagotchi, Beanie Babies, Pokémon and other ’90s trends.
However, Lisa Frank was making herself known even back in that era of neon clothing, acid washed jeans and huge, aerosol-sprayed teased bangs. I can remember as a young tween picking up sets of her stickers, festooned with bright rainbows and unicorns and multicolored bears at a local Spencer Gifts at the mall. For me, purchasing these extravagant packs of stickers were special; I rarely used them as they were “special”. I quickly became a fan of Lisa Frank as I made my way from childhood to adolescence, as her designs featured some of the more girly things that I enjoyed: unicorns, pegasi, rainbow themed hearts, bright and colorful roses in pink and blue. For someone who wasn’t into the usual frilly female sort of item, this was a massive exception for me.
So when I stumbled across this article while reading something dealing with a recently released Lisa Frank adult themed coloring book, I was more than a little surprised. I can really only sum it up with a quote from the article itself:
“Of course, from the outside it’s colorful—you’ve got the rainbow, the stars, the hearts on the building, the statue of the panda—but inside was like an abusive alcoholic home.”
There’s more, of course. It’s an interesting, if extremely depressing, read. But it explains a few things, as to why Lisa Frank has seemingly disappeared from the stationary aisle at the local Walmart and why Lisa Frank stickers can either be found in a dollar store or the dollar bin at Target. It’s still pretty sad, knowing that something I enjoyed so much when I was younger brought hell to so many people who labored to create it. Of course, there is time for a turn-around and maybe, just maybe, things be better this time.
One can only hope.