November 08, 2007

Chuck Close Discusses His Creative Process

I'm not a fan of Chuck Close's art, but I respect him and his ability to speak candidly, clearly and intelligently about his work. Like Warhol, there's just no mystery in his work for me-- it seems like he gets an idea for a new way of making a portrait, then he flips on the autopilot. He knows what it's going to look like before it even exists, and for an artist like myself who enjoys surprises, that's not a terribly interesting way to work. I also got really, REALLY sick of hearing about him all the time while in Grad School from his friend, painter & University at Albany professor Mark Greenwold (he's the guy in Chuck's painting above). As seems to be my fate when our paths cross, I got stuck in a tiny elevator with Chuck and his $24,000.00 robo-wheelchair a couple of weeks ago. Well, Chuck's been rolling around town, promoting his gigantic book. He was on WNYC recently and gave an insightful interview about his process, and to be honest, it's pretty good. If I sound like I'm down on Chuck, I'm not. The tone is just a lingering weariness from having to endure endless dialogues from Greenwold on what a terrific guy Chuck Close is. Enough is enough! I get it already, you know? Anyway, the interview is below. I recommend it.


stexe said...

Yeah, the guy's a real jerk. You'd think his becoming a quadriplegic would make him stop painting, but instead he kept on going, holding the paintbrush in his teeth. That's just stubborn. The man doesn't know when to quit.
Seriously, I think he earned all the respect he gets. His subjects are repetitive, agreed, but not his methods; He only played with photorealism a few years before he got bored with it (as any motivated artist would), and has experimented with the boundries of optics ever since. He's also always created his own work (unlike warhol, koons, or murakami, who are more like factory floor managers) and he's one of the greatest printmakers in history. He's more of a technician than an artist, maybe, but a very accomplished one.

Lance Ehlers said...

Yeah, I mean, like I said at the beginning, I respect him, but I am attracted to artwork which is mysterious and there is nothing mysterious about the end product for me.