Growing up, you couldn't swing a stick without hitting a notebook swathed in rainbows and pop art panda bears. And now, thanks to the acerbic brilliance of the Nihilisa Frank Tumblr, '90s kids are once again diving into that saccharine world — only this time, we're plunging into the dark abyss of our souls. For those of us who always felt the crushing weight of desperation staring back from the giant twinkly eyes of Lisa Frank's iridescent unicorns, this new Frank confirms our suspicions: Life is a but a tortuous crescendo into death.
It only seems fitting that the colorful renderings of Lisa Frank, the iconic artist responsible for filling our childhoods with neon star-covered binders and an endless supply of pink kitten stickers, should give way to garish memes that illuminate the misanthropy in our hearts. The naivete of our youth has been replaced with cynicism.
As such, it's natural that, unlike the fellow parody blog Feminist Lisa Frank, thisTumblr serves no greater purpose than to remind us of our grim mortality. Instead of framing the sparkly images of cuddly creatures with empowering messages such as, "There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina; all other jobs should be open to everybody," Nihilisa Frank frames its colorful illustrations with morose sentiments marked by a unique breed of jaded aplomb: "Seek the illusion of happiness that only mitigates the torment of being alive."
It's the proverbial embodiement of Janeane Garofalo's character in Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion, post-makeover: Cutesy on the outside, but still brooding and intense on the inside. If Nihilisa Frank developed scratch-n-sniff stickers, they'd come in scents like "Chainsmoker" and "Unrealized Potential."
Should you have any doubts, Nihilisa Frank is not affiliated with the original Lisa Frank, who was unable to be reached for comment. She's likely too busy filling the vacuum of her soul hawking hyper-cheery school supplies to unwitting children still in possession of their wide-eyed wonder.
When asked for permission to reproduce their work for this article, though, Nihilisa Frank responded, "Feel free to reduce my work to a listicle to be seen by a thousand eyeballs then immediately forgotten." And if that isn't enough to make you worship the subversive genius of this sentient being, surely scrolling through their artwork will.
So join us in going forth and trying to cram meaning into our listless existence. And, if somewhere along the way you see Nihilisa Frank notebooks for sale, grab a stack for our desks, too.
Check out more over at the Nihilisa Frank Tumblr.