Big Fish, Little Pond…Little Fish, Big Pond? Which Artist Are You?

"The Little Red Fish" ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.
"The Little Red Fish" ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.

Artist – Look around you. Are you a big fish in a little pond? Or are you a little fish in a big pond?

Does it really matter?

BFLP=People who are important but only within their limited circle of influence.

My artistic practice and enquiry intentionally focusses on relationships and resources. I’ve often wondered about what it would be like if we were all the same sized fish in one giant pond.

Oh wait a minute here……….we are!

  • All human beings.

    Big Fish Eats Little Fish by Grace Tanton-Nuxoll
    "Big Fish Eats Little Fish" ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.
  • Pretty much all the same size.
  • All on one earth.
  • All sharing the same air.
  • All drinking the same water.
  • All needing food.

Shame on those fish who think they’re bigger than the rest of us. They’re taking up more space, breathing more air, eating more food and drinking more water with barely a thought to what or who they affect around them – only that they remain the Big Fish in their precious pond, in control of the water, the air and the resources around them.

Changing our perspective on the size of the pond we are in, or changing our pond….can really change how we treat each other and how we perceive our art and ourselves. Here’s a story about a artist…  um…..”Little Red Fish”…..that was in a pond..yes!…that’s it….a POND….

Big Fish, Little Pond. Little Fish, Big Pond.
"Big Fish, Little Pond. Little Fish, Big Pond." ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.

The Story Of The Little Red Fish

Once upon a time, there was a Little Red Fish that lived in a pond with other fish. Most of the fish in the pond were the same size – some were a little bit bigger and some were a little bit smaller. They were all orange except for one Little Red Fish who, of course… was red.

For the most part, the fish took care of each other. All of them, that is…except The Big Fish. After all, it was HER pond. She invented Pond. She only looked after herself.

When a little fish didn’t have quite enough to eat, the slightly larger fish would be sure to share what they had, and they all helped out. All of them that is…except for The Big Fish. After all, it was HER pond. She invented Pond. She kept everything for herself.

It was tough for the Little Red Fish that lived in that pond. The Big Fish wanted more of everything…more water….more air…more space…. more food…but much less of the Little Red Fish. Even it’s colour annoyed her.

The Big Fish never really did much of anything. It just made a lot of noise, pretended it was doing something, told BIG fish stories and tried to keep all the little fish from talking with each other because she worried they might discover her secret.

The Big Fish wanted to show the Little Red Fish how very powerful it was in it’s tiny pond by thrashing it’s tail and puffing itself up and opening it’s BIG….WIDE….MOUTH. A little water went out of the pond every time The Big Fish did this, making it harder for the Little Red Fish to do much of anything. Life got harder for all the little fish.

One day, while trying to escape the Big Fish’s thrashing tail, the Little Red Fish jumped up high. With that, he could see another pond just a jump away. The Little Red Fish looked at all his brothers, sisters and the small fry in the pond, and shed some tears at their suffering. That, at least…put a little more water in the pond but sadly…The Big Fish drank it up all at once.

Day after day went by. The Little Red Fish worried if it could make the leap to the other pond. It seemed so far. He would have to leave his friends in the little pond and this made him sad.

Day after day went by and the pond started getting smaller.

Day after day went by and all the little fish grew hungry. Fish started disappearing from the pond. It was a mystery as to where they went. One teeny, tiny little fry died….and the Little Fish saw The Big Fish EAT him. He knew then that something was horribly amiss.

The Little Red Fish couldn’t stand by and watch it any longer. He mustered all his courage, took a big breath, and began a fast swim from one end of the shrinking pond to the other. With one huge effort, he made the leap out of the pond where the Big Fish thrashed about, straight up into the sky with all his might. From his lofty height, he could hear some of the other little fish below gasp in fear ….while others cheered him onward.

For one moment while the Little Red Fish was in the air, he could see the a whole BUNCH of ponds all around him – some bigger and some smaller. Some were very deep, and some seemed to be very wide.  Still holding his breath, he did a double back flip in the air, and chose the MUCH bigger pond, with the MUCH deeper water, even though he was afraid and did not know what would await him. Assuming a tuck position to get him there as fast as he could, the Little Red Fish dove straight down deeply into the centre of the big blue pond.

The Little Red Fish could not believe his eyes. The cool water around him was filled with all kinds of fish – big, little and medium sized. All different colours and all different sizes.  Some fish were HUGE. They didn’t seem to take any notice of him. He could breathe. There was food. There were new friends.

As for The Big Fish? She was very, very angry for she had planned to eat the Little Red Fish next.

The Little Red Fish thought to himself…”I doubt it will notice me missing after too long. It will be too busy puffing itself up, thrashing it’s tail and opening it’s BIG….WIDE….MOUTH.”

After awhile, the other small fish left the pond where The Big Fish puffed and thrashed and opened her BIG…WIDE…MOUTH…and then another…and another …and another until only the fish that were afraid to jump remained.

The Big Fish puffed and thrashed and opened her BIG…WIDE…MOUTH………

…….and gobbled them all up.

Day after day went by and The Big Fish became lonely…in it’s pond….never really knowing if it was big or little.

And no one really cared because the only things it had to offer were it’s puffing and thrashing and a BIG….WIDE….MOUTH.

…except for the Fisherman.


Here are my questions to you:

"The Little Red Fish" ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.
"The Little Red Fish" ©2012 Grace Tanton-Nuxoll. Mixed Media on Paper.
  • What are you willing to risk?
  • What are you willing to accept?
  • What defines your pond for you?
  • What confines you to your pond?

These are the questions that once answered, help clarify many decisions. I hope all of you are able to escape the Big Fish, and find your perfect, clear pond.

Go on…make the leap. You can do it!


BFLP=People who are important but only within their limited circle of influence.

This Post Has 7 Comments

  1. Paula Cork

    This was a great blog…and very thought provoking! Thanks so much!

    1. Janice Tanton

      Paula, Thank you so much for your comment. I think there are a lot of things we can all think about a little more. Life would be so easy if we all thought of ourselves as the same size fish! Hmmm….I wonder what the worm is!? lol

  2. Elizabeth Marshall

    This is a great story, Janice! I’m sending it to my husband- he’ll know exactly who the fish are to him, and maybe it will help him make an important choice. AND please tell Grace that I loved her artwork! She is a very talented artist, just like her mom =•D

    1. Janice Tanton

      Thanks Elizabeth. Parables can really help us work through many difficult situations. I think Grace and I will work on this as a book together. You never know what beautiful things come from ugly situations. Just have faith and know who you are!

  3. annton beate schmidt

    this truly is a great story ands you’re so right, it somes up a lot of important questions we should ask ourself once in a while. thank you for thei inspiration

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