See these beautiful yet unsettling illustrations by Federico Infante for a new edition of Lolita

Chilean artist discusses his work for The Folio Society edition of Nabokov's controversial novel


Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

Chilean-born artist Federico Infante has created nine beautiful yet unsettling paintings for The Folio Society's Fine Edition of Lolita.

It's the first time that Vladimir Nabokov’s part tragicomedy, part literary parody of a middle-aged academic’s sexual obsession with a 12-year-old girl has been illustrated.

Originally from Santiago, but now based in New York, Infante works predominantly in the medium of painting.

Each of the subjects of his illustrations for Lolita appear as pale, crumbling murals, the paint of the landscape peeling away around them.

Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

Sheri Gee, art director, The Folio Society, explained why Infante was chosen for this commmision. “I had seen some of Federico's beautifully sensitive pencil drawings of young women, juxtaposed with rough textures like flaking paint."

"They seemed to speak of Lolita's life as she's drawn alongside Humbert - something beautiful and vulnerable lead into a world of decay.”  

Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015


Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

Federico Infante was also kind enough to answer some of our questions on his approach to Lolita

Digital Arts: This is the first illustrated edition of the book, and a controversial subject matter, did you have to be careful the images were not too suggestive?

Federico Infante: The controversial content of the book is something that everyone is aware of. I didn't want to fall into the mistake of getting the wrong perspective between the characters and the atmosphere of the story.

The challenge was to capture the balance between the writing and the content, which is in my opinion, one of the things that make this book a masterpiece.

Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

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Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015

Digital Arts: What were the challenges when faced with creating the illustrations for Lolita?

Federico Infante: During my research of Lolita I did find that a few images and ideas for the illustrations instantly popped into my head, but after reading the book a many times and checking other artist’s perspectives on the story, I realised that the illustrations needed to have an overarching unity. This would only be achieved if I kept the process closer to what I've been doing in my personal work.

The complexity and density of the story is revealed in the abstract backgrounds of the work, the scratches and textures are trying to capture that atmosphere.

The images that emerge from them are not only revealing the content of the story but are also fragile, elegant or mysterious depending on what the book was showing me."

Illustration by Federico Infante from The Folio Society edition of Lolita. © FedericoInfante 2015