while painting this portrait, i listened to a documentary about Chuck Close. chuck close, you may know, is an artist who uses the grid method to paint enormous photorealistic portraits. what makes his paintings special is that each square within the grid is painted abstractly. early paintings were done with thumbprints. more recent paintings are done with colorful ovals, whorls, and loops. from a distance, the pieces are titanic and unforgiving documents. up close, they are fields of abstract color or pattern.
i've always enjoyed chuck close's paintings. his method, also, is a wonderful project for beginning art students. i liked this documentary especially though because mr. close talked about how he selects the subjects for his portraits. i forgot how he phrased it exactly but it went something like this: i paint friends. i paint artists that i admire. people i want to connect with.
ted vadakan is one founder of Poketo. "poketo is an art and apparel collective," i'm quoting from their website here, "that collaborates with artists to create exclusive poketo designs and produce art events to celebrate and showcase work."
i first encountered poketo at a little shop in los angeles. their wallets were arranged in a precious display. each one was different. the inside and outside were illustrated. a single corresponding button was tucked into each wallet. they were brilliant.
i appreciate why chuck close chooses the subjects that he does. there are so many amazing people in the world. you want to connect to the ones who inspire you. i wrote poketo and ted wrote back.