May 27, 2024


Home living innovation

Muriel Fahrion, the artist at the rear of the legendary Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears, on making from house, how she comes up with tips for new characters, and her love for social media

a person standing in front of a building: Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

© Muriel Fahrion
Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

  • Muriel Fahrion nowadays is the proprietor of Outta Skinny Air Studio, but early in her vocation she served develop the iconic little ones characters Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears.
  • Fahrion resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the place she’s been using out the pandemic by concentrating on her artwork and creating figures relevant for the latest weather — these kinds of as characters supporting the Black Lives Matter motion and staying dwelling.
  • “I knew we desired to get the concept across that we necessary to continue to be dwelling,” she instructed Insider. “I imagined other individuals can affect in other ways, and I figured I can influence with my art.”
  • She’s also capitalized on social media to drive income of her artwork and spends a ton of her time connecting with followers, sharing thoughts, and posting pleasurable video clips of herself dancing all over.
  • Take a look at Insider’s homepage for far more stories.

Muriel Fahrion, owner of Outta Slender Air Studio, was doing the job at greeting cards firm American Greetings in Cleveland extra than 40 years ago when she produced Strawberry Shortcake, right after an art director asked for she appear up with a new character formulated all-around a rag doll. Strawberry Shortcake would go on to turn into a house name and seem on merchandise, toys, and tv. Afterwards in her vocation, Fahrion was section of the unique workforce driving Care Bears, making the initial 6 people in advance of returning to Strawberry Shortcake. 


Fahrion explained to Insider she’d preferred to be an artist because she was four years old, subsequent in the steps of her mom and sister. 

“I acquired a scholarship and attended Cooper Faculty of Art, which was a three-calendar year program,” she said. “At the stop, they took the top graduating students and they ended up provided a place at American Greetings, a single of the most important companies in Cleveland.” 

She said that back again in the working day, producing greeting playing cards was not looked very on in the art industry. “You desired to be an illustrator in a studio – that was the intention,” she claimed. “But not for me. It was like, actually, somebody is likely to pay me to attract? I am likely.”

These days, thoughts come from all all-around her – quite a few, she mentioned, just pop into her head. One, for occasion, the character Hello there, Cupcake, came from a select-up line that somebody the moment tried out to use on her. 

“I did small sketches and folks requested to get the sketches and I marketed them, but then I crafted a theme and held a ‘Hello Cupcake’ party just before Valentine’s Working day,” she explained. 

Lots of concepts are place aside, she explained, but they typically re-arise. Now that she can marketplace directly to the public by means of social media alternatively of providing to a publisher, she’s equipped to concentrate much more on what she wants and the community wishes. A lot of of her tips experienced been turned down in the past, she claimed, for the reason that they were not mainstream more than enough. 

Strawberry Shortcake was to begin with called Strawberry Patches, but renamed when it was identified that title was presently taken. The brand name, just after having relaunched in 2003, realized more than $2 billion in throughout the world retail product sales from 2003 to 2007.

a little girl that is eating some food: Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

© Muriel Fahrion
Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

Fahrion, who now resides in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has expended the pandemic holed up in her property that doubles as her studio. Even though she suffered a stroke at 1 issue, she’s in no way stopped being imaginative. 

Adept at internet marketing by means of social media, Fahrion has a rather significant next on Fb and Instagram (about 12,000 followers on the latter platform), where she can be noticed exhibiting off her works of art. 

From her dwelling studio, she’s produced new figures that healthy into this earlier yr really effectively: a character that stays at residence, for illustration. 

A put up shared by Muriel Fahrion (@outtathinairstudio)

“I understood we desired to get the concept across that we needed to stay household,” she claimed. “I imagined other persons can impact in other ways, and I figured I can affect with my art.”

Then the Black Life Issue motion took keep. 

“I needed so significantly to be out there marching with the folks, but I am a senior citizen,” she explained. As an alternative, she made a Care Bear character exhibiting solidarity to the movement. 

a person holding a sign: Muriel Fahrion with Dexter Nelson, exhibits manager and curator of comic books at the OK Pop Museum. Muriel Fahrion

© Muriel Fahrion
Muriel Fahrion with Dexter Nelson, reveals supervisor and curator of comic books at the Alright Pop Museum. Muriel Fahrion

Simply because Fahrion’s not the copyright holder of Treatment Bears, she was finally told she experienced to halt advertising and marketing and getting donations from the development. She’s because donated the will work to the Okay Pop Museum, which is scheduled to open in 2022 and will aspect pop society artifacts and exhibitions close to Oklahoma. She also donated $2,500 in funds lifted from the character artwork to the neighborhood nonprofit Reed Local community Basis. 

She’s also formulated totally new characters Olivia and Archer. Olivia is a witness to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre (the centennial of which will acquire put in 2021), in which an estimated 300 Black individuals had been killed by a white mob and a huge neighborhood was destroyed, while Archer is named soon after a avenue in the Greenwood area the place the Massacre took location. She stated she’s marketed about 15 prints and nonetheless has additional for sale, as it is a confined edition of 50. Section of those profits, she said, will go to the Reed Foundation or the protection of Black Life Matter. 

Fahrion stated social media has tremendously assisted her build her small business of generating and marketing art. Sometimes, in addition to her artwork, she’ll put up video clips on Instagram of herself dancing in her kitchen area, which she claimed is therapeutic. 

“Facebook, nonetheless, is continue to my strongest subsequent,” she extra. “Fb is where I do my offering. Facebook is where by people today are intrigued in the major picture.”

a woman holding a sign posing for the camera: Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

© Muriel Fahrion
Muriel Fahrion. Muriel Fahrion

Fahrion and her spouse moved to Tulsa a number of many years ago to be nearer to their daughter. Her husband was having difficulties with most cancers, and she acted as caretaker until eventually he handed absent. Soon thereafter, a friend confident her to get started attending figure-drawing classes. Soon after that, she began receiving out in the group additional. 

“I understood I experienced to get out there in the group, so I would just get my Uber and go to galleries and go to clearly show openings,” she claimed. “Another person claimed the moment you know 1 artist, you’ll know far more. It can be a quite generous town and has a good spirit. It can be not aggressive necessarily.”

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