Metamorphosis - The Lady in furs

Friday, 15 March 2013  at 01:09
It is all in the title, this next illustration is a cover for Kafka's novel "The Metamorphosis". The plot is about Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman working in the textiles industry who wakes up one day in the body of a "vermin".
In the book, the poor guy is treated horribly by his family and is confined to his room. As the story unravels and his metamorphosis sets in, his "picture of the lady dressed in all furs" for which he had built a frame becomes even more important to him. It is the only element in his room that he tries to save, probably his way to cling to his former humanity, his former life...
We have all seen beetles and gross bugs illustrating the book, however it is interesting to know that Kafka had insisted in a letter to his publisher that the bug should never be drawn nor seen "even from a distance". It is also why I decided to not show a giant insect!
So there we go, the lady in furs is on the wall, decay and mould slowly getting to her as the symbol of Gregor's metamorphosis.
Technically speaking, the lady is a graphite drawing that I manipulated in Photoshop to give it a vintage feel. As it is supposed to be a cut out from a magazine I have superimposed a 1915 German newspaper spread and added a fold so it would look more "homemade". I also took the white frame and cloudy background of a 1920 fashion photograph to create her own background.
The picture was then framed in the photograph of an antique gilted mirror. The wall itself is a mix of various textures, from monoprints to photographs. For once having a mouldy wall was useful!
The pattern is a collage made of tiny painted pieces of paper. It was inspired by a 1900's fabric design (Gregor's industry) combined with daffodils (narcissus) the symbol of rebirth, metamorphosis.
I must say it was real fun to use so many media and try to blend them together.


"It showed a lady fitted out with a fur hat and fur boa who sat upright, raising a heavy fur muff that covered the whole of her lower arm towards the viewer."

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