harles Thomas Close was born on July 5, 1940, in Monroe, Washington. He received his BA from the University of Washington before going on to graduate school at Yale, where he received his MFA. During his Yale days, Close was known for his skillful brushwork. He had his first solo exhibit hosted by the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1973. Today, Chuck Close is one of America’s most well-known photorealists. Photorealism is a type of painting that first became popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Painters use cameras and photographs to gather information and then from this information, they create a painting that appears to be as realistic as the photograph itself. Of course, Close developed his own unique style. He creates a grid on the photo and on the canvas and copies cell by cell. This grid allows the creative process to be interrupted repeatedly without damaging the final product. The squares within the grid are filled with regions of color with give the cell a perceived ‘average’ hue that makes sense from a distance.
The first set of tools Close used included an airbrush, rags, a razor blade, and an eraser mounted on a power drill. Close’s paintings are both time consuming and labor intensive. On average, one print takes two years to complete. He respects the technical processes and believes that collaboration with master printers is a necessary ingredient for the creation of his prints. While his work is beautiful in digital form, seeing his paintings and prints in person is an elevated experience. The textures, the vibrance of color, the methodology. Chuck Close is one talented fellow. The most noteworthy trait of Chuck Close is his perseverance. On December 7, 1988, Close suffered from a seizure that left him paralyzed from the neck down.
Through physical therapy, Close was able to regain slight movement in his arms. Despite the life-changing, and seemingly career ending, event, Close continued to paint with a brush strapped onto his wrist with tape. Close even painted with a brush in his mouth. He created large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. His photorealistic portraits took on a more pixelated look. Chuck Close was forced to reinvented himself as an artist and has continued to deliver remarkable work. If you have ever have a chance to see Chuck Close’s work in person, you will more than likely have a jaw dropping, “wow” moment. For more information or to get in touch with the artist just visit his website at the link below.