Making "Me and Chuck" (2003)

I discovered Chuck Close while a student at Asker art school, and was blown away by his work. For those who don’t know he is an American artist that got his break in the 60’s with huge portraits made with airbrush in a photorealistic way. He has worked with faces his whole life, and from time to time made self-portraits.

I chose to make my version of his self-portrait from 1968 and make a self-portrait of my own in the same technique. I wanted to make the statement that I was equal to Chuck Close. While that is a bold and fun statement from an art student, I knew that to not be seen as a joke, it had to be really good. I tried my best and over the course of the final year at Asker art school I found a way to do it.

Lots of research had to be made. How many colors do I need? How big should the squares be? What will I paint with? How do I mix the right colors? How big should they be? Through trial and error and the making of a smaller portrait I was able to develop a technique that suited me. I made small sticks to paint with, a template of numbers and a rig that meant I could make the paintings horizontally with me hovering over.

The title is of course not grammatically correct, but I thought it sounded better and matched the state of ego one would have comparing themselves to Chuck Close. This marks for me the start of my professional career, when I made something that was not good for my age, it was just good.