I recently came across the following article about Lisa Frank, and though it's a few years old, I still had to share it. Inside the Rainbow Gulag: The Technicolor Rise and Fall of Lisa Frank is about how horrible and abusive Lisa and her ex-husband/ex-business partner were to their employees, and how the dissolution of their personal relationship further destroyed their success.
Everything about this is just totally insane, and it will probably make you a little sad if you were/are a Lisa Frank fan. I definitely was—she was one of my first art heroes. In case you don’t know who Lisa Frank is (my guess is that anyone reading this has at least heard of her, but, perhaps not) she's an American illustrator who built an enormously lucrative empire of very brightly colored stationery products that were quite popular in the '90s. I grew up in the ‘90s, and not only did I love her designs and collect all her products, I literally wanted to be her. She was my princess.
Even if you’ve never cared for Lisa’s designs, this article is still a fascinating study in business mismanagement and employee mistreatment so terrible, it’s like something you'd read about in The Onion. My current office job is stressful, but I guess that at least I don't have to deal with death threats for bad presentations, chains and padlocks on doors so “staff can’t escape”, and an ice-cold office to “keep people miserable and on edge" (and there's much more).
Ugh, humanity. Will we ever stop being so horrible?
Something else Lisa Frank-related that I happened to come across recently: Nihilisa Frank. Nihilisa takes Lisa Frank-inspired designs and gives them a very dark, existential twist. Check out the link to her page because in addition to being brilliant, it also perfectly sums up the previous article. (As an aside, my favorite is "The engine of capitalist patriarchy runs on the dirty fuel of women's shame" design. I wonder if she sells framed prints of this on Etsy? I think it would look really good either hanging next to all my Carol Rossetti prints, or maybe on my closet door).
Maybe Nihilisa was a former employee of the real Lisa Frank?