The work of Scottish illustrator Lizzy Stewart has graced the virtual pages of the The Fox Is Black before, but she has certainly outdone herself this time with a new series of illustrations collated in her self-published book, Toska. On their own Stewart’s pieces evoke melancholy and loss; however, the collective meaning is given a heightened scope by the inclusion of a wonderfully poignant quote from Vladimir Nabokov:
No single word in English renders all the shades of ‘Toska‘. At its deepest and most painful, it is a sensation of great spiritual anguish often without any specific cause. At less morbid levels it is a dull ache of the soul, a longing with nothing to long for, a sick pining, a vague restlessness, mental throes, yearning. In particular cases it may be the desire for something, of something specific, nostalgia, love-sickness. At the lowest levels it grades into ennui, boredom.
Using this quote to frame her work, Stewart has once again displayed her considered skill for joining illustration, intertextuality and narrative complexity in order to create new tales that explore human experience and existence. The results are unsurprisingly beautiful.
You can grab your own copy of Toska via Stewart’s online store.