Tag Archives: chuck close

Good advice

Here’s some wisdom from artist Chuck Close:

The advice I like to give young artists, or really anybody who’ll listen to me, is not to wait around for inspiration. Inspiration is for amateurs; the rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. Things occur to you. If you’re sitting around trying to dream up a great art idea, you can sit there a long time before anything happens. But if you just get to work, something will occur to you and something else will occur to you and something else that you reject will push you in another direction. Inspiration is absolutely unnecessary and somehow deceptive. You feel like you need this great idea before you can get down to work, and I find that’s almost never the case.

Close was successful in the contemporary art world by the 1970’s, painting huge portraits in a photo-realistic style.¬†In 1988, he suffered the sudden rupture of a spinal artery, which left him confined to a wheelchair, partially paralyzed with limited use of his limbs.¬†Despite this, he continued to paint with a brush taped to his wrist. He went on painting enormous portraits, but in a more abstract style. An interesting fact: Close suffers from a condition called prosopagnosia, or face blindness, an impairment in the ability to recognize or differentiate between human faces. Close has said that he feels his portraits are a way to help him recognize the important people in his life.

Big Self-portrait, 1967-1968

Self-portrait, 2004-2005

Chuck Close at work