Visionary artist Charles Thomas Close (1940-) was born on this day in Monroe, Washington. Dyslexic, when he was 11, his father died, then his mother battled breast cancer. He coped by drawing.
"In life, you have to deal with your fear, the part of you that says, 'I canít do it,'" he said.
Calling himself "an artist looking for trouble," Close has explored new ways of creating portraits, focusing on his subject's skin, neck, hair, and background. "I wanted to make those areas almost as interesting and important as the more symbolic areas of the face," he explained.
His art is something to see: LARGE self-portraits, portraits of his family members and friends, like composer Philip Glass and artist Richard Serra. Large, detailed--black and white or color... Through etching, lithography, handmade paper, Japanese woodcut, or silkscreen.
For Close, it is all about the process. More than just photorealism, he creates something amazingly magical: He starts with a photo, applying paint to a grid, what he called "the rhythmic beat of the squares" that fall on the image. "I'm always bringing each square along by, relatively intuitively - what does it need now?"
Close's life has been just as remarkable as his art. Living with passion and courage, in 1988, at the height of his career, a spinal blood clot made him a quadriplegic. His spirit was never paralyzed, with a paint brush clamped between his teeth, he continued to search for new ways to create and inspire.
"I know a lot of people who are paralyzed in other ways, even if they can walk," he said.
"I learned you could suffer a terrible tragedy and still be happy again."
More Art & Artists Quotations
Stay true to the process... And enjoy yourself!