Seeing things with a dose of imagination where in fact those things are something else might be one way to describe the effect of pareidolia. Another definition (a more formal one) of pareidolia is the process of seeing familiar objects or patterns in otherwise random or unrelated objects or patterns. In this case, I was eating some chicken the other day that looked a lot like a turtle (below left), and I saw this gourd (below right) at a farmer’s market that looked like a black swan.
Everyone experiences pareidolia from time to time, whether it’s seeing familiar shapes in clouds or seeing faces on rocks. Some people suggest that the ability to experience pareidolia is more developed in some people and less in others, I wonder how much my art history background contributes to my seeing things everywhere?