Painter. Printmaker. Photographer. A master artist and talented craftsman. The man Chuck Close is these things and more. Over a time of 30 years plus, this artist has been using his skill to create remarkable pictures in many mediums. Originally from Wisconsin, this artist now lives in New York. His early pieces, for the most part, were enlarged portraits of photographs, otherwise known as photorealism. Since then he has moved to a grid work copy of photos by that causes the pictures to look like more of a blotchy, pixelated version of the photographs.
Close likely started doing art simply because it was what he liked to do. He had served as an assistant to Gabor Peterdi, a master printer at Yale University where, in 1964, he received an MFA. After graduating, Close continued to work on his art, usually making prints as his chosen medium, and often collaborating with others. In 1988, however, Close became paralyzed from the neck down. Since then, I think creating his art is more of a way of saying that he still can despite his paralysis. He loved his art and he wasn't going to give up just because something this severe happened to him. Though he has an assistant to help him now, he can now create his pieces by strapping a paintbrush to his hand.
I would compare Close's work to Nan Goldin's photography, if only because I couldn't recall an artist that just did portraits of people. However, both of these artists did capture images of people that were close to them, therefore they likely have some sort of history in their pictures. Goldin's use of history in her pictures are a bit more obvious. For example, her before and after pictures of when her face was all bruised and beat up show history because there was definitely a difference between the two pictures and a story between the two. Close simply shows portraits of people he knows, though the expressions on their face likely tell something about that person's character.
I would definitely recommend checking out this artist to everyone. I have seen his work in person, either at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts or the Walker Art Museum, I can't remember which, and it was simply remarkable to see. Seeing a photograph of these huge pieces of art isn't nearly the same as seeing a gigantic canvas right in front of your eyes and knowing that he had sat in front of that canvas so many years before and fought against his paralysis to paint each stroke. It truly is an incredible experience and worth seeing.
Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration