“Some people wonder whether what I do is inspired by a computer and whether or not that kind of imaging is a part of what makes the work contemporary. I absolutely hate technology, and I never use any labor-saving devices, although I’m not convinced that a computer is a labor-saving device.”
The remarks you just read were spoken by well-known artist Chuck Close, born in 1940. He is associated with the style of painting called Photorealism, and has been a well-known figure in the world of contemporary art since the 1970s.
Photorealism is based on using cameras and photographs to gather visual information and then to create a painting that actually appears to be a photograph. This style began in the late 1960s and early 1970s. A model for one of Close’s works was Roy Lichtenstein, another important artist. Lichtenstein’s work was that of an illustrator and a painter. It was also very certainly influenced by advertising at the time and the comic book motif.
Because Close was a photorealist, he frequently used a grid technique to enlarge a photograph and reduce each square to formal elements of design. With this process each grid became a little work of art.
As I sit here drinking my green and wild blueberry tea (believe me it is great!), I must remember you dear people who read this column and remind you to brew some tea for yourself. The background noise here is “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. It only seems fair. My daughter, Peyton, listens to my music and I listen to hers. Sometimes it’s inevitable that one of us can’t listen to another second of the other’s music, but we try to be open-minded.
Close did a mural-sized artwork painted from photographs. It took four months to finish. Close even took many photos of himself in which his head and neck filled the frame. From those, he selected one of the images and made two enlargements, both 11-by-14 inches. Chose would draw a grid on one of the photographs, lettering and numbering each square. Close would transfer the photographic image square-by-square onto a 107½-by-83½ inch canvas. Acrylic paint and an airbrush were both used to catch all the details,