“Never let anyone define what you are capable of by using parameters that don’t apply to you.” ~Chuck Close

Chuck Close is an American painter, artist, and photographer who achieved fame for his large-scale portraits. His work is associated with the Photorealism and Hyperrealism movements. Chuck’s work involves painting or drawing a person or object from photographs in extreme close-up, often larger than life-size.


Chuck Close’s Early Life

Chuck Close was born on July 5, 1940, in Monroe, Washington. As a child, he suffered from dyslexia and was diagnosed with a learning disability. Close’s mother took him to see an art therapist, who recommended that he be enrolled in an art class. This was a pivotal moment for Close, who went on to study art at the University of Washington and Yale University.


In 1962 he earned a BFA from the Yale University School of Art and Architecture, where he studied under the famed painter Josef Albers.

Pop Art Movement

After graduating from Yale, Close moved to New York City, where he quickly established himself as a leading figure in the emerging Pop Art movement. His early works were based on images from magazines and newspapers, which he rendered in a highly realistic style.


In the late 1960s, Close began experimenting with new techniques, including painting from photographs using a grid system. This approach resulted in some of his most famous works.

Throughout his career, Close has continued to experiment with a variety of media and styles. He is also known for his use of unconventional materials, such as house paint, spray paint, and even human hair.

Fred III

His large-scale portraits were particularly popular, and he soon began exhibiting his work internationally. In 1988, a major retrospective of Close’s work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Lou Reed

Winning Awards

Close continued to produce prolifically throughout his career, and his work can be found in the collections of many major museums. He has also been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Medal of Arts (1997) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012).


Despite suffering a paralysis-inducing stroke in 1988, Close continued to work as an artist, experimenting with new mediums and techniques until his death on August 19, 2021, at the age of 81.

Untitled (Self Portrait, 2007)

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For more project ideas, check out these Chuck Close-inspired art projects here:

Chuck Close Portraits by Starts At Eight

ASAP: Chuck Close Pattern Hand by Kids Art Market