12 x 12"
oil on panel
For me, discovering the artist, Chuck Close, was a revelation. I was a teenager, already obsessed with drawing people. And there I stood, staring at a gigantic canvas of a face, wondering how he did it. Realizing that his technique was to grid the original photo and essentially blow it up on canvas was a huge learning experience for me. Naturally, I started to grid every photo, album cover, magazine ad I could find and practice. He's been a hero of mine ever since.
Close is a man to be admired not just for his extraordinary artistic abilities. He is the son of artistic parents who supported his creative interests right from the start. He suffers from dyslexia, struggled with schoolwork, couldn't play sports due to a neuromuscular condition but he did excel in art. He lost his father at the age of 11, his mother fell ill with cancer and Close suffered health problems that kept him home and in bed for long periods of time. At the age of 14, he saw an exhibition of Jackson Pollock, which made him want to become an artist.
He studied art during the abstract-crazed art world, chose to go in the completely opposite direction and developed his photorealism style. Interesting enough, Close suffers from prosopagnosia, or face-blindness, not recognizing faces - which boggles the mind considering his ability to replicate details on faces to a tee. His technique for applying color helped the development of the inkjet printer - bet you didn't know that.
By the 70's, Close's work was in the finest galleries all over the world and he was thought of as one of America's best contemporary artists. At the age of 48, he suffered the sudden rupture of a spinal artery and was left almost entirely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. After regaining the partial use of his arms, he pushed on, developing a studio to accommodate his wheelchair and with a brush taped to his wrist, he began painting a combination of abstract and looser pieces that I particularly love - like his self-portrait above, done in 2005.
He's a man with no excuses. A man who never played the victim. He's evolved with age, years and limitations. He's a man to be admired.
My painting will be included in the October group show 12 x 12", held at Robert Lange Studios.
Please click here for a larger view.