Chuck Close

  • Aired:  08/12/10
  •  | Views: 45,782

Chuck Close explains how he paints giant portraits when he has a hard time recognizing faces. (5:59)

EVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS AN ARTIST

KNOWN FOR HIS GIANT PORTRAIT.

FINALLY SOMEONE WHO CAN PAINT MY

BALL'S ACTUAL SIZE.

PLEASE WELCOME CHUCK CLOSE.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

BOOM!

HEY, THANKS FOR COMING ON.

>> PLEASURE.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE PROBABLY

THE BIGGEST, MOST FAMOUS ARTIST

I'VE EVER HAD ON THE SHOW.

CONGRATULATIONS.

>> THANK YOU.

>> Stephen: YOU'RE A FAMOUS

PORTRAIT PAINTER, AMONG OTHER

THINGS.

YOU EVER HAVE PAINTING IN THE

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY.

>> AS A MATTER OF FACT, I HAVE A

PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT CLINTON

HANGING IN THERE RIGHT NOW.

>> Stephen: REALLY, REALLY?

I'VE HAD MY PORTRAIT IN THE

NATIONAL PORT RAL GALLERY.

SO WE'RE KIND OF EVEN.

WE'RE KIND OF EVEN.

YEAH.

>> YOURS WAS NEXT TO THE MEN'S

ROOM.

[LAUGHTER]

>> Stephen: ABSOLUTELY.

I BET I GOT MORE HEAVY TRAFFIC

THAN YOURS DID.

>> I'M HANGING BETWEEN THE TWO

BUSHES.

I'D RATHER BE NEXT TO THE MEN'S

ROOM.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

>> Stephen: LET'S TAKE A LOOK

AT THIS.

JIM, LET'S GO TO THE FIRST

PORTRAIT.

OKAY.

NOW, THIS IS A SELF-PORTRAIT,

CORRECT?

>> YES.

>>

>> Stephen: FROM I'M GUESSING

NOT YESTERDAY.

>> FROM 1968.

>> Stephen: 168.

YOUR PORTRAITURE, I CAN TELL

WHAT IT IS.

ALL RIGHT.

THAT'S WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU.

YOU'RE NOT ONE OF THOSE GUYS

THAT JUST SLAPS PAINT ON A

CANVAS AND SAYS, THERE, THAT'S

ART, MAIL IT TO MOMA.

I CAN TELL WHAT YOUR STUFF.

IS

>> I APPRECIATE THAT YOU CAN.

I TRY TO DO THAT.

>> Stephen: DOES THAT PUT YOU

ON THE OUTS BACK WITH THE

ELITES.

BACK WHEN YOU WERE OUT IT WAS

SOUP CANS.

DID YOU GET A LOT OF BEEF FOR

THIS?

>> PAINTING WAS DEAD AND

REPRESENTATIONAL PAINTINGS WAS

EVEN DEADER, AND PORTRAITS WAS

ABSOLUTELY BEYOND THE PALE.

NOBODY WANTED TO DO IT.

SO I THOUGHT, WELL, THIS IS A

GOOD AREA TO GO INTO BECAUSE I

WON'T HAVE MUCH COMPETITION.

>> Stephen: YOU LIKE BEING

ALONE?

LET'S GO TO THE NEXT ONE HERE.

THIS IS NOT A PHOTOGRAPH.

>> NO.

>> Stephen: IT'S NOT A

PHOTOGRAPH.

LET'S SHOW IS PROCESS THAT GOES

INTO THIS.

THIS IS THE SIZE THAT YOU WORK

IN.

ENORMOUS.

>> YES.

>> Stephen: DO YOU HAVE

ENORMOUS FRIENDS, OR IS THIS...

[LAUGHTER]

WHY DO YOU CHOOSE THIS SCALE?

>> I USED TO SAY THE BIGGER THEY

ARE, THE LONGER THEY TAKE TO

WALK BY, AND THEREFORE THE

HARDER THEY ARE TO IGNORE.

>> Stephen: SO THIS IS A WAY

OF GRABBING SOMEONE BY THE

COLLAR IN THE ART GALLERY?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: I LIKE THE WAY YOU

DO THIS.

YOU LAY IN... ARE YOU LAYING IN

DIFFERENT COLORS?

>> THIS IS ACTUALLY MADE FROM

THREE ONE-COLORED PAINTINGS

LAYERED ON TOP OF EACH OTHER.

>> Stephen: DO YOU EVER RUN

OUT OF TONER?

>> I WAS THERE BEFORE

COMPUTER-GENERATED IMAGERY,

BEFORE TONER.

>> Stephen: THAT'S KIND OF HOW

YOU DO IT.

DID YOU GET RIPPED OFF BY LIKE

H.P.?

[LAUGHTER]

LET'S GO TO THE NEXT ONE HERE.

>> I WAS WATCHING TV.

I WATCH YOU EVERY DAY.

>> Stephen: YOU WATCH ME EVERY

DAY?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: YOU ARE AN ARTIST.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

THIS IS THE STUFF I REALLY LIKE

THIS.

IS AGAIN LARGE SCALE.

>> UH-HUH.

>> Stephen: LARGE SCALE?

>> YES.

>> Stephen: WHO IS THIS?

>> ROY LIECHTENSTEIN, PART OF MY

OLD MEN WITH PONYTAIL SERIES.

>> Stephen: EACH ONE OF THESE,

CLOSER SHOT, JIM, EACH ONE OF

THE LITTLE CELLS IN THERE IS

LIKE ITS OWN LITTLE ABSTRACT

PAINTING.

>> I GET A LITTLE PLEASURE

FINISHING EACH PIECE.

I DON'T HAVE TO POSTPONE THE

PLEASURE UNTIL THE END.

>> Stephen: HOW HOW LONG DOES IT

TAKE TO DO EACH ONE OF THESE

LITTLE PAINTINGS?

>> I CAN THIS A ROW A DAY MAYBE.

>> Stephen: REALLY.

LET'S GO TO THE NEXT PAINTING, A

SELF-PORTRAIT OF YOU.

LET'S SHOW THE PROCESS BY WHICH

THIS IS MADE.

SO THIS IS MID-PROCESS.

>> UH-HUH.

FROM THE TAPE UP IS TWO PASSES,

AND FROM THE TAPE DOWN IS ONLY

THE FIRST PASS.

THE FIRST PASS IS RELATIVELY

ARBITRARILY PICKED COLORS SO

THAT I'LL HAVE TO DO SOMETHING

DIFFERENT ON TOP OF IT.

>> Stephen: THIS IS SO, SO

SPECIFIC, IT'S SO FASTIDIOUS

THIS WORK.

ARE WE BY ENJOYING YOUR WORK AND

BUYING IT, ARE WE REWARDING YOUR

O.C.D.?

LIKE IF YOU'RE NOT DOING THIS,

DO YOU AFTER ALPHABETIZE YOUR

PAPERCLIP, TOUCH EVERY DOORKNOB

IN THE HOUSE?

>> I HAVE LEARNING DISABILITIES,

AND IT UNDOUBTEDLY DROVE ME TO

DO WHAT I'M DOING.

>> Stephen: WHAT LEARNING

DISABILITY DO YOU HAVE?

>> FOR ONE THING, I HAVE FACE

BLINDNESS.

>> Steve: YOU HAVE FACE

BLINDNESS?

SO YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON ALL

THIS GOODNESS RIGHT HERE?

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

WHAT DID YOU WRITE DOWN THERE?

>> [INAUDIBLE]

>> Stephen: SARAH PALIN HAS

THAT WRITTEN ON HER HAND, TOO,

BUT SHE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT IT

MEANS.

>> IT'S A BRILLIANT THING.

IF I HAD KNOWN ABOUT IT IN

SCHOOL, I WOULD HAVE DONE SO

MUCH BETTER.

>> Stephen: SO YOU CAN'T

RECOGNIZE SOMEONE'S FACE?

>> I HAVE A HARD TIME

RECOGNIZING FACES.

>> Stephen: HOW DO YOU PAINT

PORTRAITS?

>> THAT'S WHAT I DO.

I COMMIT THEM TO MEMORY BY

FLATTENING THEM OUT AND

CAREFULLY SCANNING THEM.

>> Stephen: FLATTENING THEM

OUT LIKE A SERIAL KILLER?

HOW DO YOU FLATTEN THEM OUT?

THAT SOUNDS PAINFUL, CHUCK.

>> BESIDES BEING FACE, IT'S

COLORED DIRT ON A FLAT SURFACE.

>> Stephen: THE PAINTING.

IS WHAT ABOUT WHEN YOU WATCH ME

ON TV, THAT'S A FLAT IMAGE.

CAN YOU REMEMBER MY FACE FROM

TV?

>> IN REAL LIFE WHEN YOU MOVE

YOUR HEAD HALF AN INCH, TO ME

IT'S A NEW FACE, BUT ONCE IT'S

FLAT...

>> Stephen: WOW.

>> ONCE IT'S FLAT, I DIDN'T EVEN

RECOGNIZE A WOMAN I HAD LIVED

WITH FOR TWO YEARS A YEAR LATER.

>> Stephen: THAT'S A GREAT

EXCUSE IN A DIVORCE PROCEEDING.

CHUCK CLOSE, THANK YOU SO MUCH

FOR JOINING ME.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]

CHU

Loading...