Jacqueline Colley's new book is an ode to 'bad taste' and kitsch films from the '80s
Titled An A-Z of Pop Culture Creatures, the concertina book features a mash-up of patterns, colours and creatures inspired by B films, Americana, vampires and aliens.
Jacqueline Colley is a child of the 1980s, which means her earlier days (and Saturday nights) were consumed in television and films – particularly watching B movies with cult characters or "appliances going on murderous rampages". Other old-time favourites include Stephen King's Maximum Overdrive, alien movies, vampires, and the 1958 version of The Blob with Steve McQueen. "Getting lost in movies, TV shows, and books is something I've done all my life, and honestly, the kitschier, the better," she tells Creative Boom.
More recently, the illustrator has found solace in these films over lockdown, turning towards her childhood classics as a means of escapism. "When I was chatting to a friend about how I was watching all my favourite vampire movies, she expressed shock that 'vampire' was a genre! This made me realise that perhaps I'm a bit more into this stuff than the average person and that this love of pop culture could become a project."
This is exactly how An A-Z of Pop Culture Creatures was borne. Diving headfirst into her life-long obsession with 80s cinema and TV, Jacqueline began creating a series of illustrations that celebrated her most loved "creatures" and motifs. It includes references to classic elements like small-town rural America, varsity jocks in jackets, mid-century architecture, alien crash landings, and a monster "that's almost certainly a seedless jam".
Compiling these inspirations into book form, Jacqueline describes the publication as being an ode to "bad taste". She adds: "I love being true to myself and running with an idea, so it's been about embracing all the characters I love and pairing them with a very pop culture palette of bright pink and yellow, plus a more sedated mint and teal as the dark tone." Jacqueline's style has been refined over the years to become a maximalist mash-up of pattern and decor, not to mention an influx of texture and "identifiable clues" to the films she adores – the iconic carpet from The Shining being an example.
Although based in East London, Jacqueline – who's also a printmaker and pattern designer – has always been fascinated by America, travelling to the country at every opportunity possible. She recalls visiting California with her family as a child and remembers the moment her dad "ticked her off" as he was taking a picture of a billboard. "Why would anyone want that holiday snap when they pick up their photos from Boots?" these days; however, Jacqueline's mentality has changed. "Now, I know that I was already beginning to worship at the altar of Americana, and I bet that billboard had a wicked combination of typography and illustration."
An A-Z of Pop Culture Creatures has been Lithograph printed with Calverts, cooperative printers based in East London, using four spot colour Pantones plus biodegradable ink on 100% recycled card 350gsm.