Some people wonder whether what I do is inspired by a computer and whether or not that kind of imaging is a part of what makes this work contemporary. I absolutely hate technology, and I'm computer illiterate, and I never use any labor-saving devices although I'm not convinced that a computer is a labor-saving device. -- Chuck Close
Chuck Close (Charles Thomas Close) is dyslexic, and when he was 11:
He made art to keep his mind off of things.
Through all the hardships, he managed to complete his undergraduate education (at the University of Washington, magna cum laude) and went on to Yale.
The art magazine ARTnews considers him among the 50 most influential people in the art world. He turned down a show at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, because they broke some promises to him. Instead, he had his show at the Museum of Modern Art.
He made a name for himself by distancing himself from his earlier, abstract paintings, instead embracing what others have called photorealism. He took photographs of his subjects (usually people's faces) and drew a regular grid on it. He used this gridded photo as a pattern for his paintings through a process he calls "knitting" - generating the painting by using smaller elements (like dots, blobs, and even fingerprints) that form strikingly realistic pictures. Some of his works require the observer to step back a bit, to let the larger elements resolve into the photo-like picture, while others use very fine elements that result in a final piece that is indistinguishable from a photograph.
He tended to make large, wall-sized paintings (Big Self-Portrait measures 107.5" X 83.5") that exposed every minor detail and blemish of his subjects, including himself.
An interesting technique he used is color separation (Linda, 1975-76), which mimics the way printers print color photos - by essentially combining three monotone pictures of cyan, magenta, and yellow. He painted using acrylic paint applied with an airbrush, while wearing tinted filters to help him concentrate on the color he was working on. This is a bit insane way of painting.
He has also made portraits using paper pulp in liquid form (Georgia, 1985) and with small pieces of handmade paper (Jud/Collage, 1982).
On December 7, 1988, a spinal blood clot left him paralyzed from the neck down. Now, being a quadriplegic might hinder the career of most people. Chuck Close kept making art, though. He is still going strong.
He was named 1997 UW Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, the highest award that the University of Washington gives to its alumni. (big deal, huh?)
much of this info from http://www.washington.edu/alumni/columns/june97/close1.html and http://www.seattleartmuseum.org