Redesigned Book Cover

I created the cover for a new publication of The Great Gatsby. To execute my idea for the cover, I used acrylic paint, tissue paper, white-out, cardboard, sharpie marker and hot glue on 18"x24" paper. One of the first things one might notice about the cover, is that the title is not immediately noticeable. Although, this might cause the book to not sell as well, there is a specific reason for it. "Great Gatsby" is written on the painting with hot glue, making the letters translucent. I kept the letters this way to symbolize the unseen heroism in Jay Gatsby. The books passive narrator, Nick Carraway, is especially fond of Jay, therefore he sees him in a very different light. Nick admires Gatsby as a hero, but no one else seems to. Yes, the citizens of New York loved Gatsby's lavish parties, but Nick is the only one who saw something Great in Gatsby.

Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan dance the Charleston at the bottom right corner of the cover. This is reminiscent of the several times that Gatsby and Daisy dance throughout the book. In chapter 7, Tom and Daisy go to their first Gatsby Party, and soon after Jay takes her hand to dance. This leaves Tom uncomfortable and suspicious. I depicted Daisy somewhat grotesquely. Her love of money makes her ugly. She is frail and improportionate, wallowing in her depravity. She dances lazily in Gatsby's arms. She is distant from him, and she is emitting a pukey green aura. The aura represents the green light that Gatsby sees at the end of her dock. I intentionally made her essence a toxic green, because her presence in Jay's life causes him to be murdered, and she also has jaded sensibilities. Daisy is the object of Gatsby's affection. I painted him with an ecstatic expression. Although Daisy distances herself from him, Gatsby is happy just to be close to her. His love for Daisy is undying. His shoulders are broad, and he seems like a typical heroic man. As they dance, both of their eyes are closed, representing their blindness towards each other. Gatsby is blind in that he naively thinks he can rekindle his relationship with her. Daisy is blind in that she thinks she can get away with an affair, while she is married to a brute like Tom. This dance scene was inspired by photographs I browsed online of 1920s dancers and flapper girls. The dress I painted on Daisy, is a simplified version of this particular flapper dress:

I dressed her in white, to show Gatsby's image of her, as a pure perfect woman.

Daisy is fading away from Gatsby; foreshadowing that Gatsby dies and looses her in the end. Her body is fading off into a skyline of ashes. This is a representation of the "Valley of Ashes" described in chapter 2. I made it more city-like, so that it could also symbolize the city of New York (where the book takes place around). The city of ashes is pouring out of a wine glass, hinting at the theme of alcoholism among the social elite throughout The Great Gatsby. The city is tinted pink, either drenched in wine, or drenched in the blood of Jay Gatsby. The topic of alcoholism also pops up in my depiction of Daisy. If you look closely, she has a flask strapped to her hip: a little something to keep her going. Here is an example of a real hip flask:

The cover also has gold swatches of tissue paper tearing up the aesthetic of the painting. This hints at the character's luxurious lifestyle within the book. On a general note, it speaks for the decade of the Roaring Twenties. I painted the background of the cover rapidly, to convey the recklessness and carelessness of characters during the novel. Daisy is a prime example of recklessness, in the way she carried her life. This feature shines through, especially when she runs over and kills Myrtle, then speedily drives away. I painted the background with a toothbrush, to bring out a very rough texture. If you look closely at the cover, the strokes are completely reckless, being all over the place.

Anthony Privitera