Chuck Close is an American artist noted for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face. He is best known for his large-scale, Photo-Realist portraits.
In 1988 a spinal blood clot left Close almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. A brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm, however, allowed him to continue working. In the 1990s he replaced the minute detail of his earlier paintings with a grid of tiles daubed with colourful elliptical and ovoid shapes. Viewed up close, each tile was in itself an abstract painting; when seen from a distance, the tiles came together to form a dynamic deconstruction of the human face. In 1998 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City mounted a major retrospective of Close's portraits. Close has been called a Photo-Realist, a Minimalist, and an Abstract Expressionist but, as the 1998 retrospective proved, his commitment to his unique vision and his evolving techniques defy any easy categorization.
Chuck Close: After a kind of unfortunate start in which his handler, in an attempt to protect him, wrote an unbelievably stupid contract and I said, “Obviously, you don’t know how this thing works.”
Brad [Pitt] was very, very embarrassed that the people around him were asking him for all this stuff. And he contacted me and he said, “This isn’t me, I didn’t do this. I know you’re work, and I would just like to be photographed by you.”
So, we spent the day together and I found him to be a very interesting guy. I think a person of, speaking of integrity, a person of very high integrity, and a person with real passion for his work, but also a passion for the things that he believes in, causes that he and Angelina [Jolie] are involved with. It was a real pleasure to get to know him.
Recorded on: February 5, 2009