On Saturday, Delaram, Nikan, and I visited Ransom Gallery in Chelsea to see some works by Pier Toffoletti. In our view, his paintings are captivating and breath-taking. The feeling transferred from his works to the audience is one of merged reality, romanticism, and surrealism. With his works, the artist can momentarily take the audience from their surrounding reality to the world of imagination. The more engaged the mind becomes, the more artistic the work is. I must say that some of the illustrations of our own books came to my mind there.
I am glad that the illustrations of all our books are pure artworks. For example, in The Little Black Fish, the illustrations seem to step into modernism. In The Parrot and the Merchant, we get close to a form of modern Oriental miniature. In When I Coloured in the World, a philosophical-surrealistic world is portrayed. We don’t have a single uniform purpose in all our books. We don’t want to just entertain children. We want them, no matter how young they are, to enjoy a work of art and gradually develop their analytical powers. This is why we insist that, instead of viewing the work on the screen of an iPad or laptop, it is better if the child see it printed on paper
and touch it, so that the work gets a higher chance of being internalized. This is exactly why our recommendation to the parents who read our books to their children is to allow them to look at the illustrations for a while, regardless of the context of the story. Looking at a work of art increases creativity and induces tranquility as well. The tranquility caused by art is incomparable to all else. It is because of such considerations that we (a) choose our illustrations by consulting various artists and claim these illustrations to be a notch above what can be found anywhere any day, and (b) advise parents to regard the artistic illustrations as particularly significant in their own right and i
ndependent of the text. Let’s remember that just as listening to sophisticated music increases the sensitivity of children’s souls and their aesthetic perception, looking at sophisticated works of art has the same effects. When these illustrations are accompanied by beautiful stories, their impact on the rest of a child’s life will be everlasting and supportive.