“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” That’s one of my favorite lines by Chuck Close, an internationally acclaimed American painter, visual artist and photographer who made massive photorealist and abstract portraits of himself and others. He elaborated saying: “And the belief that things will grow out of the activity itself and that you will — through work — bump into other possibilities and kick open other doors that you would never dreamt of if you were just sitting around looking for a great “art idea.” And the belief that process in a sense, is liberating and that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. Today you know what you’ll do, you could be doing what you were doing yesterday, and tomorrow you are gonna do what you did yesterday, and at least for a certain period of time you can just work. If you hang in there, you will get somewhere.”
I extra like this quote because while Close lived between 1940-2021, right smack in the middle of his escalating art career, in 1988, he was severely paralyzed by an arterial occlusion. It didn’t stop him.
He created plenty of other remarkable artwork post his paralysis as well by adapting his painting style and work methods, participating in hundreds of exhibitions worldwide. In fact, with paralysis, in a wheelchair, he continued to paint remarkable portraits with his unique style of dividing a huge canvas into 1 inch squares and filling in the squares with blotches of paint that ultimately resembled a stunning likeness of his subjects. Close was also commissioned by the NYC Transit Authority to create 12 large mosaics totaling more than 2,000 square feet for the 86th Street Subway stop on the 2nd Avenue line.
If you can find it, I highly recommend watching the movie: Chuck Close, A Portrait in Process. In it, you can watch how paralysis or not, he kept on doing exactly what he loved while his success continued to grow as well.
I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience