Close Self Portraits

The 6th grade class worked in the style of contemporary artist Chuck Close to produce self portraits, students translated a gridded photograph of themselves onto a similarly gridded paper. I like to have students learn this method so that they can see past the complexity of an image and focus on only a small section; square by square the picture comes together like a puzzle.

Chuck Close began his career as a photorealist and became well known in the mid 70′s for his large scale portraits. On December 7, 1988, Close felt a strange pain in his chest and within a few hours he was paralyzed from the neck down.  Doctors eventually diagnosed Close with a rare spinal artery collapse, he called that day “The Event”. After a great deal of physical therapy Close was able to make basic movements and continued to paint with a brush attached to his wrist. His work shifted from photorealism to a softer, pointillist realism.

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