I am a painter. I paint words and scenarios. I am not a bookworm. Occasionally I read articles and passages that catch my curiosity, or research book chapters to prepare for a painting, but in my first thirty-five years of life I had only read seven books.
One day I received an e-mail from Dorota with a manuscript attached. The document had a familiar title: The Dentist and The Toothfairy. She had written a story based on the painting she had purchased from me a year earlier. I was about to read my eighth book.
It was my turn to be moved. I traveled back in time to reconstruct The Dentist and The Toothfairy, characters who had previously existed only on a painted canvas. I reinvented them into illustrative characters for the book’s storyline. My lifetime book readings soon exceeded a hundred, as I read the story over and over to understand what was expected of me as an illustrator.
I did not think twice about illustrating a book based on Dorota’s story. The distance between Calgary and San Diego was challenging at times, but a great and fun synergy developed. Altogether the process was smooth and, foremost, stimulating.
The story inspired me. Not because it was based on my painting, but because of its accuracy toward real life. It is a fairy tale that does not deal with magic wands and wizards, but with existence, pain, happiness, sorrow, and choices and paths—ideas we can all relate to. The Dentist and The Toothfairy stands as a true and insightful tale of our time.
This book was written and illustrated as an art piece. Its story and images are life turned into art. As with all art, The Dentist and The Toothfairy was realized for you to escape to once in a while; to ponder its meaning; or to simply enjoy its beauty. It is an imaginative, collaborative creation that Dorota and I offer to you.
Jerome is an artist currently living and working in Montreal, Quebec.