I love zooming in on art. Going way back, before the computer, the xerox machine was my super cool tool. As a graphic designer and illustrator, I would use it to enlarge my own little sketches, various scraps of paper, or small found objects that could be squashed relatively flat on the glass. The copier would only enlarge up to 147%, if I remember correctly, so I would enlarge the enlargements and enlarge them some more. Every step yielded something more interesting.
The closeup above is part of an illustration by Masako Dunn for the new children’s book I published, A Gift for Little Tree by Colleen Marquez. When you zoom into art like this, you get a different kind of beauty and energy than when you are looking at the whole piece. You see richer textures and colors and wild, expressive strokes. You see areas of painting that you thought were precise, but, on such close inspection, are actually quite messy.
Getting close to people brings similar results. Working on this children’s book over the past year, the author and I—good friends to begin with—got up close and personal with each other, revealing more of ourselves than we probably wanted to, as we negotiated and navigated through the fits and starts of birthing a book. But what is friendship if it’s just reserved for pleasantries and never tested?
I like the expression, “To know me is to love me.” What I think this expression means is that your love for a person deepens as your knowledge of them deepens. At least if you are open to the love. If you get close to someone and decide you don’t like the wild, sometimes messy areas that you are sure to discover, then you’ll take a step back. That’s okay, it’s your choice, it’s good to have personal boundaries, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, and so on and so forth. On the other hand, if you choose to zoom in and stay awhile, people and art get a lot more interesting.