Chuck Close participated in a panel on perception last week and the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog spoke to him about artists and disabilities. Here’s what he told Michelle Kung:
Neurologically, I’m a quadriplegic, so virtually everything about my work has been driven by my learning disabilities, which are quite severe, and my lack of facial recognition, which I’m sure is what drove me to paint portraits in the first place. I don’t know who anyone is and have essentially no memory at all for people in real space, but when I flatten them out in a photograph, I can commit that image to memory in a way; I have almost a kind of photographic memory for flat stuff.
I’ve had my face blindness, or prosopagnosia, my whole life. Really, it’s been a nightmare situation for me. […]
There are so many artists that are dyslexic or learning disabled, it’s just phenomenal. There’s also an unbelievably high proportion of artists who are left-handed, and a high correlation between left-handedness and learning disabilities. So most of us, I can say without too much fear of contradiction, got into art because we couldn’t do math and science, yet we do parallel things.
Chuck Close Gets Perceptional (WSJ/Speakeasy)