Christine Benjamin says she never really fit in at her high school. It was the end of the ’70s and she really didn’t like disco or big hair. But the ’80s—which bookended her college years—that was a decade she could get behind.

This Friday, as part of the South First Fridays art walk in downtown San Jose, Benjamin will be showing her love for the decade that birthed MTV and saw hip-hop and punk become serious cultural forces, with the opening of I’m Living In The Eighties, at Seeing Things Gallery.

Benjamin is curating the exhibit and will be showing her work as well—a mix of cloth dolls and illustrations of ’80s icons, like Cyndi Lauper and Pee-wee Herman. She will be joined by three other artists: Murphy Adams, who has a naive and intentionally childlike illustration style; Shauna Peterson, an illustrator and lover of popular culture; and Kat Toronto, a costume designer and surrealistic photographer.

The works will explore multiple aspects of 1980s culture—the wild and colorful clothing; the punk rock aesthetic and attitude; the stars of the screen and music, and politics.

Speaking of the latter, Benjamin says that the ’80s stick out in her mind as being an era of far greater artistic freedom than Americans enjoy today—despite the decade being associated with the presidency of conservative icon Ronald Reagan.

“People were doing what they wanted to do,” Benjamin says of the musical movements of the ’80s, like punk, New Wave and hip-hop—”not what people thought others wanted them to do.” Since then, she says, rules have gotten more restrictive and the entertainment industry has commercialized movements, which were founded on the rejection of commercialism, or at least born in spite of it.

Christine says the exhibit fulfills a need that she and many others have—to reminisce. “I think people want to look back,” she says, noting that the work will likely bring back many memories, and hopefully fond ones, for those who were alive during the ’80s. “In general, humans like to look back.”

An opening reception with the artists will be held on Friday, Oct 3, from 7-10pm at the gallery.