I admit it, as a young girl, I was interested in things like fuzzy velvet posters, stickers, and wanted colorful binders with rainbows and ponies that I could get lost in while I was at school. Now, thinking back at my earliest artistic influences, Lisa Frank played a large part in my early artistic development.
I first came across Frank’s colorful imagery in elementary school. It was extremely popular for girls to own folders and binders with her images. I remember seeing majority of girls in my class having almost every school supply with Lisa Frank’s name on it. She was a brand to my peers, just a fad to be cool, just something to fit in. But for me, this was my first taste of psychedelic art. In the mid-nineties, coming from an orthodox Jewish, Hebrew speaking household, these colorful graphics became a how-to guide for my early drawing and coloring. In an age before iPads and with our televisions only playing Israeli VHS tapes, Frank’s airbrushed works were what captivated my imagination.
During recesses or after doing my homework, I would use my Lisa Frank folder to keep all my drawings and sketches I had done based off of her company’s art. I learned how to draw animals like killer whales, bears, leopards, and dolphins, as well as hearts, rainbows, and stars. These animals and shapes came together in my first collages. I also learned how to create foreground, middle-ground, and background while emulating her work. It may be true that her designs play into a mass-marketed stereotypical portrayal of “girly” images, but Lisa Frank’s art was still an inspiration for young girls like me to experiment with color and shapes in ways only limited by the bounds of our imaginations.