The lastest version of the infamous Jem Waterbed
Laurie Jean-(AKA Tivia) last years winner of the Jem portrait contest and me.One hot day summer in 1984 I received a phone call to do some packaging art for a new Rock doll for Hasbro called Jem. The hapless art directors had tried out every possible artist for the packaging until in desperation they called me- an illustrator who they had used previously and lived, fortuitously, 15 minutes away. It was rather like a search for Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind". I saw the other illustrator's work and saw that they did not get it. They were timid, cutsie Barbie, Gumby-like drawings. God couldn't anyone DRAW anymore! I just pulled out the stops, closed my eyes and saw Janice, Sheena Easton and Joan Jett. I must say my drawing rocked and they loved it! I was swamped with packaging illustration for about 1 1/2 years.
The doll along with an insanely popular TV cartoon only went into production for 2-3 years. As I understood it they were disappointed with the first years sales of only 12 million dollars and discontinued production. However, Jem and her friends have had an afterlife that would make a Tibetan Lama jealous. The packaging, and dolls become collectibles. There are JemCons annually as well as Jem lookalike contests. People from many countries in the world are collectors and affiicianados. Among them are students, college professors, architects and furniture designers.
The Jem Cosplay convention was a total blast. We had our own Jem Rock group- backed by the pink wigged starlight boys- including two adorable guys from Holland who brought 3 pairs of silver sequined pants. The fashion contest was insane! Jem wannabees including a Kimber in a bridegown. The Crazy Canadians brought there own special brand of je ne sais quoi, including a charming Jem burlesque
I wish I had taken pictures but I was so busy- TJ Scheussler kept me on schedule (run-ragged). We had panels on how the songs were composed and recorded- fantastic, how the packaging was designed and doll hair rooting- really neat!
I have never met a kinder, warmer, more generous group of people. Altogether over $2,400 was raised for two charities in 3 days.
Chris Howe won the Jem portrait contest- so I hope he is working on his costume!
Thank-you guys for making me feel like a STAR!
They haven't posted any pictures yet but they will be here.
A final note- I did not find out until I got home that my physics professor husband was a faithful watcher of the Jem cartoon!