The Maestro of Your Childhood, Muriel Fahrion, says Black Lives Matter
You may not know her name, but Muriel Fahrion of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has been a formative part of children’s lives for generations now.
Fahrion, 76, has led quite a quiet life behind in the shadows of her most iconic creations- The Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake & Friends, The GetAlong Gang as well as many other memorable characters she created for or licensed to companies like American Greetings, who still sell Care Bear merchandise nearly 40 years after. Although several artists are credited with painting the Care Bears over the years, it was Fahrion who, having already helped create the unmistakable look of Strawberry Shortcake, was among the franchise’s first concept artists to put the bears to paper.
It wasn’t until this year when Fahrion’s son, Colin, announced to the world that Fahrion, a staunch supporter of civil rights and equality, had created a “Black Lives Matter” Care Bear and “Orange Blossom” from the Strawberry Shortcake family that she was selling through her Redbubble Store with proceeds going to the Reed Foundation, a Black founded organization which proves assistance to disadvantaged youth in her home town.
The revelation that the “Mother of our Childhood Characters” and that she was a part of the important movement brought Fahrion out into the spotlight, and we were not ready for the fabulous, lip syncing, kitchen dancing, beautifully creative woman behind the curtain. In fact, the internet went wild for her.
The world fell in love with Muriel Fahrion, who had been in most of their lives for decades, overnight.
However, Muriel is not looking down from an ivory tower simply virtue signaling. In an interview with TulsaWorld in 2019, Fahrion told reporter Jimmie Tramel that her work did not leave her well off, financially, despite the franchises she was instrumental in creating making millions of dollars.
“I didn’t get (Strawberry Shortcake) royalties because I was work for hire,” she said. “Most artists are that way. Most commercial artists and illustrators work that way. Only the rare ones make the big time and get the royalties.”
A former employer in Oklahoma told her it was a shame she didn’t get a piece of the financial pie (or in this case, the shortcake). Her reply: If I had gotten royalties, you never would have met me.
“I would have been in Cleveland living on the Gold Coast,” she said. “That’s where I would have been. I wouldn’t have left Cleveland. In some ways, it’s not about money. I really like Oklahoma.”
Losing her husband, Michael, to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2018 was a devastating blow to the artist. She went on to say;
“It drained all the money we had. Everything. It’s gone. I’m not a starving artist. I still get social security. I still get some money. But it drained so much that now I am supporting myself again. I’m back in it.”
But, it’s clear Fahrion focuses on the bright side, recently celebrating 10,000 followers on Instagram thrilled her so much she stayed up all night and made a video documenting it.
Unfortunately, Fahrion has stopped selling her creations for Black Live Matter fundraising as the rights owners to The Care Bears, CloudCo Entertainment, cited her with copyright infringement and had the drawing removed from from her shop- but not before she raised 2,500 for The Reed Foundation. After the complaint from CloudCo, she decided to take down her Orange Blossom art as well, to “Avoid going to court.”
Muriel has a fun and uplifting Instagram where she does daily kitchen dances, talks to her followers, posts new art she has created, including new characters directly from her imagination, like the Cameow Cats and a new piece to show her solidarity with Black Lives Matter. You can find her official store here.
Welcome to your long overdue fame, Muriel. You make the world a happier place.