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Chuck Close

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Chuck Close is an artist working in the field related to the combination of painting, photography and printmaking, which is known as photorealism.

Brief historical facts

He was born in born in July 5, 1940, in Monroe, Washington in the United States. His father was a sheet metal worker, plumber and on-the-side inventor. But he passed away when Close was only 11 years old. His mother was a trained pianist. However, because of the Great Depression, she had to give up her passions. Unfortunately, she also suffered the illness of breast cancers and even bankrupt because of the medical bills.

Nevertheless, an unhappy childhood could not defeat Close and his aspirations for painting. He always performed well in school and graduate with high distinctions from University of Washington (for undergraduate) and Yale (for graduate), prestigious universities in the U.S. After graduation, he leaved the U.S for pursue post-graduate program of Fulbright. When he returned to the U.S, I worked as an art professor in University of Massachusetts.

At the age of 49, on the zenith of his career as a portrait painter, the faith played one more joke on him. He had a spinal blood clot, which left him a quadriplegic, unable to move either his legs or his arms. Close also suffered from Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, in which he is unable to recognize faces. But like previous tragedies that he suffered his early life, he defeated the harshness of the faith. He not only kept painting but also brought the freshness and innovation to his later paintings. Now, at the age of over 60, he has already become one of the shiniest stars on the sky of art. He is also regarded as 50 most influential people in the art world based on the survey of ARTNews magazine.

Style & Approach

He is an American painter and photographer who achieved fame as a photorealist, through his massive-scale portraits. He often used a grid technique to enlarge a photograph and reduce each square to formal elements of design. Each grid was its own little work of art. To create his grid work copies of photos, Close puts a grid on the photo and on the canvas and copies cell by cell. Typically, each square within the grid is filled with roughly executed regions of color (usually consisting of painted rings on a contrasting background) which give the cell a perceived 'average' hue which makes sense from a distance. His first tools for this included an airbrush, rags, razor blade, and an eraser mounted on a power drill.

An interpretation of one artwork selection

I have chosen the portrait of a little baby named Emma. This painting and several other works of Close represented the second period of Close's work after suffering illnesses which has been much more fascinating



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