Chuck Close

Chuck Close is undoubtedly one of my top five favorite artists. I am absolutely fascinated by his giant photo-realist portraits. The deconstructive technique used by Chuck Close, along with the visible evolution of his styles over the years, deeply inspires me.

chuck close portraits and artist at work

“Big Self-Portrait’, [the middle image above] a massive 9ft high painting of a head around fifty times life-size, characterizes Chuck Close’s early work. It is painted ‘with about half a teaspoon of black paint’ which is thinned down to the consistency of dirty water and applied with brushes and an airbrush. The mesmerizing details are created by scraping with razor blades to depict the sharper areas of definition and rubbing with an eraser attached to an electric drill for the softer blends of tone.” (source)

I had the fortune of viewing some of Chuck Close’s giant portraits at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. Experiencing his work in person was indescribably amazing and left a lasting impression on me.

Chuck Close’s art resembles pointillism, though it doesn’t involve dots. (There might be a specific term for that which I’m not aware of). Interestingly, I adopted a similar technique to his when I worked with layered rods of glass in my bead-making, and later in my glass micro-mosaic pieces.

I enjoy how our brains figure out pictures made from colors placed side by side. That’s a big part of what painting is all about, isn’t it?

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