The first thing to notice about this book is Rosy Lamb’s artwork. Each spread is a thick, exquisite oil painting. I’d like to hang one on my wall!
click image(s) to enlarge
But the story too! Paul is a fish who goes all around his bowl, swimming in circles up and down. Until another fish, Bernadette, is added to his bowl. His world really.
“The idea for the story evolved all together one morning and I quickly jotted it down with a few little sketches. Then I went out and bought two goldfish to serve as models. I have had Paul and Bernadette at my side ever since but I am afraid by now I have outlasted a few generations of the amorous couple.”
Bernadette shows Paul what’s outside the bowl, in the world beyond water. She gives him names for things. And even though those names are “wrong” to those of us reading, they aren’t wrong to Paul and Bernadette. A boat is a banana. A teapot is an elephant. A pair of glasses? A butterfly. A clock? A cactus. And why not?!
Indeed, “there are so many things to see,” Bernadette tells Paul. And there are. There are also so many things to notice about this book. The layers. That the names of things are arbitrary. That you can choose how you want to see the world. That one individual can open up that world to you.
“Many people see Bernadette as the imaginative one rather than the one who has everything backwards and the story of Paul meets Bernadette as one about the power of imagination rather than about the limitation of our perspectives – I also love that interpretation of the story.”
I think Paul Meets Bernadette can be seen both ways, even at the same time. A boat AND a banana! Why not?
You know who else sees the world differently? Artists who turn everyday objects into something new altogether.
In the following playful art we see two things at once. We see how imagination and perception combine. What fun!!!
First, Javier Perez who made a splash on instagram with his drawings that depend a thing functioning as something else. A grape as a balloon.
An Oreo as the world and its land masses!
I could see a spin on these concepts done with kids—like illustrating something around any object on a piece of paper. The possibilities!
Flower as phonograph.
Dan Cretu’s fruit and food turned other objects are so much colorful fun! Fruity, veggie boombox?
Seedy soccer ball? Yes!
Finally, this is a bit of a stretch of the concept, but you’ll see why it has to be here. Will It Beard. The project in which objects are stuck into a man’s beard. It’s awesome.
Are you as delighted as I am by these photos?
These kinds of projects remind me a little bit of Humands. Click over there to see This Picture Book Life’s attempt at something like this.