Story of a Cover Girl
I was honoured—and totally surprised—to be asked by John Bertram to submit a conceptual cover to be included in his book, ‘The Lolita Cover Project’. The Lolita Cover Project featured 50 new ‘conceptual’ covers by leading graphic designers specifically commissioned for the book; critical essays on design and representation by Nabokov scholars, artists, art theorists, and designers.
Michael Bierut, Paula Scher, Jessica Hische and Ellen Lupton were just a few of the stellar line up. The concept to my cover is not purely about Lolita, who – to those of us who have read the book – barely know. I wanted to find a way to illustrate Humbert's difficult mind and state of being.
The act of writing and repeating a word over and over makes it lose all it’s meaning, the three syllable name becomes sound, emotions attached to it are lost besides the act of focusing and concentrating upon it. Writing it the name doesn’t look like characters, it becomes and image in itself.
I wrote the name in pencil to reveal the flaws (where the lead snapped, became blunt, smudged) and on white, like a page from his diary. The act of writing a name over and over is something we can relate to, but to this level of obsession is overwhelming, much like Humbert’s focus on Lolita, and Nabokov’s immense skill of writing this novel. The author's name is set in Joanna by Eric Gill, the typeface he named after his daughter whom he abused. [ :( ]