Monday, March 19, 2007

Interview with Chuck Close

I don't normally watch Charlie Rose on PBS, but when flipping through listings, I saw that he was interviewing an artist so decided to check it out. You know, doesn't matter what medium one works in, one can always learn from other artists.

To be honest, I've never heard of Chuck Close, although he apparently is quite famous. Even after seeing some of his work (he specializes in portraits), I still don't think I've run across him before. However, here he was espousing the same wisdom and truths about making art and ignoring the prevailing winds of fad and fancy as I've admired in artists such as Michael James.

The transcript (you can order it here) is well worth the read if you can't manage to catch a repeat of the show on PBS.

I chuckled at what he said was one of his favorite sayings: "Amateurs look for inspiration. The rest of us just go to work." He talked about how new ideas and inspiration naturally arise out of the current work, so he is never at a loss for ideas. That is also the reason why he feels it is so important to do your own work, although he knows and respects artists who don't actually execute their own work. But for him, it is necessary to do the "mark making" himself, have that physical connection to the work. Well, we be preaching to the choir here.

You can listen to an "All Things Considered" NPR interview from 1998 here and a "From Scratch" NPR interview here.

1 comment:

margaret said...

Chuck Close had an exhibition in London about 10 years ago. He gave a talk, arriving in a wheelchair. He talked about how he had a paralysing viral illness and gradually regained some use of his body. When asked why he paints the way he does, he answered, "Because I can."

What he says about "just getting down to work" should be a watchword for all of us!