Motivating Quote On Inspiration By Chuck Close

As the new year takes hold here’s a motivating quote on inspiration from artist Chuck Close.

“Inspiration is for amateurs – the rest of us just show up and get to work” – Chuck Close

Self Portrait, 2009, Jacquard tapestry, 103" X 79", image © Chuck Close

Self Portrait, 2009, Jacquard Tapestry, 103″ X 79″, Image © Chuck Close


“Since the late 1960s Chuck Close has been concentrating on portraiture and the human face in painting and photography and is one of the most celebrated artists working today. Close often takes his family and friends as models, making monumental and classical works that are both bold in their simplicity as well as intangible, since the images appear as if they have been viewed through a thick layer of glass or are rippling on the surface of water. In this way, the subjects of his paintings can seem like apparitions, dissolving and resolving when viewed from different distances.

Although Close has employed various painterly styles throughout his career, including an intense neo-realism in the 1970s and a shadowy Pointillism in the 1980s, he is perhaps best known for his more recent works which are made up from a shimmering, fragile grid set on the diagonal. Close’s paintings are all-over images where the background of the picture – the negative space – is as important as the face itself and one cannot exist without the other. Likewise, in Close’s daguerreotype photographs, the background defines the limit of the image plane as well as the outline of the subject, with the inky pitch-black setting off the light, reflective quality of the subject’s face. Close’s method of painting is always indexical, an incremental process whereby associative colours and shapes build up a pictorial syntax and a recognisable figurative whole. Warm colours are set against cold, circles against squares and the organising principles of the grid are constantly broken by minute areas of expressive abstraction.” – White Cube

To see some more inspiring artwork by Chuck Close please visit his website here.

There are many great art books featuring the work of Chuck Close. Here are a few I find particularly interesting to add to your art & photography library:


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