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The Stuff of Dreams Becomes Alum’s First Book

Surrealism, horror, erotica and body positivity are drawn together in a book of art coming out this summer by Jen Lightfoot ’07.

“I guess I’ve always been interested in horror movies and the pop surrealism movement,” said Lightfoot. “Little Nightmares,” Lightfoot’s first book, will be out August 1. The hardcover book features more than 50 works that explore the boundaries between the beautiful and the grotesque.

The title comes from Lightfoot’s interest in dreams.

“In the book, I tell a little story about the first dream I remember having, which was a nightmare,” she said. “I used to keep a dream journal by my bedside in high school. I’ve always been fascinated by dreams and their meanings, and more specifically nightmares and why we have them.”

The cover of the book shows death’s-head hawkmoths flying around a female face with skin in shades of blue-green and purple that appears to be coming off in a ribbon, and the skeleton is peeking through. Other drawings include roses growing out of a prone woman’s torso, and a nude's face covered with an animal skull as flowers wrap around her arms.

“About 5 or 6 years ago, when I was in grad school at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, I was experimenting more with horror and body image and sexuality,” she said. “Once I graduated, I started to incorporate more color and things that would be more surrealism.”

Not all of the images in the 72-page book are scary – Lightfoot says she tried to juxtapose something that might be horrifying with colors that are more pastel.

“It’s geared toward anyone who likes pop surrealism or low brow art,” she said. “Some of the art crosses over into sci-fi more than horror at times, and if you are into goth or punk subcultures or elements of erotica art, pretty much every image is figure drawings of the female body.”

Many of the figures and portraits in the book are friends of Lightfoot, and she focuses on body image and body positivity.

“The models are of all different shapes and sizes to show that all women are beautiful, no matter what,” Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot funded “Little Nightmares” through a Kickstarter campaign that raised $15,000. “Little Nightmares” is available for pre-order here, and will be available August 1 on and at

See more of Jen’s work here.

Published on June 2nd, 2017