For this weeks theme for Get Better, or Die we had to design a bookcover of our choice. I chose Lolita because I don't agree with the popular visual interpretations of the book in Cinema and illustration alike. Often Lolita is depicted as this saucy woman-child, who lays about conciously torturing the main character Humbert (courtesy of Hollywood) when the cold reality of the book is that she's a little girl who's repeatedly raped by a deranged child molester. There's something rather disturbing culturally when readers don't want to let go of Humbert Humbert's dillusion of the underdeveloped seductress. This kind of thinking is covert and reinforces certain ideas that the victims of sexual assault are really at fault for what has happened to them.
The copy I own has a review by vogue (I'm going to have to check this) that has the audacity to say that Lolita is the most truthful love story of our time. What? Last time I checked love is not built on fetish, which locks one into a state of mind that requires stasis of the object of affection. The original idea was one of cleanliness: Lolita's name colored, light, and Nabokov, as the only male presence, somehow depicted more sinister, a place holder for humbert, possibly with a shadow crossing it. Instead I decided just to cast the entire thing in shadows. Taking away the fantasy that this is a romance novel and instead somehow, if only conceptually, speak to the transient nature of Humbert's sought after nymphettes, the bleakness in knowing that he can't ever love a person in their totality, as well as having the cover act as a portrait of Lolita's life after Humbert.
A single artist working is more of a generational window, less so because of their actual talent and more so the reasons they've been elevated to unprecedented ranks by their surrounding culture. Why are they singularily so valuable? The fine artist changes the art world and gives history a cultural context.
As a whole, I believe in freedom of expression. In illustration though the game undeniably changes. The responsibility is no longer on being a conduit of culture, or personal indulgence of desires so much as being aware of the visual culture you're helping to shape and taking responsibility for what you're putting out into the world. AND who's view points (if not yours) you're helping propell forward. It's one of the reasons I go back and forth on if I want to be an illustrator once I graduate. It's a lot of responsibility!