Reactor

Chuck Close Responds to Scott Blake’s FreeChuckCloseArt.com

by Hrag Vartanian on July 18, 2012

Chuck Close’s self-portrait (date unknown) (via neurobonkers.com) and Scott Blake’s self-portrait using his Chuck Close filter (via the artist)

We finally have a response from Chuck Close regarding Scott Blake’s FreeChuckCloseArt.com filter essay he published on Hyperallergic last week. It comes of all places in a Parrish Art Museum party report by Sarah Grothjan of The New York Observer. It reads:

We moved on to a touchier matter: Scott Blake, an up-and-comer in the art realm with a zest for digital art and a knack for ticking off Mr. Close. He is perhaps best known for creating a digital Chuck Close filter, which could transform any image to resemble Close’s trademark pixelated paintings. It was later sacked when he faced the threat of a lawsuit from Mr. Close.

“I’m not going to dig the fire,” Mr. Close told us when we asked about his feelings toward Mr. Blake. “All he wants me to do is react. And if I do react, he’ll quote me and put it in another piece.”

We went more general and probed him about the concept of digital art.

“I made digital art before there was digital art,” Mr. Close told us coyly, a smile stretching upward on his face. “I made it by hand.”

He then motioned to his girlfriend, stationed not far from where we were standing.

“And my girlfriend likes digital art and video art,” he told us. “I love it. It’s not a moral decision, making a painting versus making something digital.”

We asked Blake to respond to Close. He provided the following response to us via email:

First of all “I made digital art before there was digital art” is simply false. Chuck Close should be ashamed for continuing to tell this lie. Artists like Desmond Paul Henry were programing computers (by hand) in the early 1960s. And like I pointed out in my essay, Ken Knowlton developed the BEFLIX programming language for bitmap computer-produced movies in 1963. Chuck Close began painting in his signature style fall of 1967. This is not my opinion, it is a fact. Chuck Close was NOT there before computer generated imagery.

I don’t blame Chuck Close for not wanting to talk about the real issue. It has been extremely hard for me to defend myself this past week. Stating his girlfriend likes digital art does not excuse the way he treated me.

  • Subscribe to the Hyperallergic newsletter!

Hyperallergic welcomes comments and a lively discussion, but comments are moderated after being posted. For more details please read our comment policy.
  • http://www.facebook.com/lindseyclarkmckinnon Lindsey McKinnon

    Team Scott!

  • Chicken_Fingers

    14:59

  • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

    “You have to be able to take criticism. You have to articulate your own position, and be able to defend it, and criticize other people, and you have to take the most painful criticism in the world.” Chuck Close, May 2012. http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xrhtmx_chuck-close-on-rejecting-the-essentials-of-grad-school_news?start=100

    • http://www.facebook.com/markleibert Mark Leibert

      Scott, Let’s separate two things. You have a point about where Chuck Close fits in art history. Can we leave it at that? What really drags the whole thing down (aided by HyperAllergic) is your argument about the filter. The results of the filter pale considerably to Close’ paintings (from what I can tell online and where it matters), Why not just rename your effort and be done with it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

        The cat is already out of the bag. Plus Chuck Close said “YOU DO NOT HAVE PERMISSION TO USE MY WORK”. Simply renaming the project would not solve anything.

        • Den Hickey

          Because you already tried to ride his coat tails with it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=533169006 John Tomlinson

    If Mr. Blake spent as much time and talent making work from his own inner reality rather than creating simalcras of a celebrity artist, he might find his original place in art, but then again, he’d run the risk of obscurity.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      My other art projects have actually been featured in The New York Times (twice), Huffington Post (twice), Wall Street Journal, Times of London, Adbusters and countless other publications.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Sherman/17402302 Alex Sherman

        holy shit I don’t care.

  • http://twitter.com/NoumenonD noumenon designs

    Do Chuck’s coattails ever get caught in the wheels?

    • Chicken_Fingers

      Nope. Just artists hanging on them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700408486 Adam Lipstadt

    This again? Yawn. That’s not even a response, which is smart. Someone is an adult and it ain’t Blake.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      Chuck Close said “You have to articulate your own position, and be able to defend it”. Blaming me for not wanting to comment is weak. At least I’m defending myself.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=700408486 Adam Lipstadt

        What is weak is your reading and reasoning skills. Allow me to demonstrate in three parts as evidenced in just your reply to me:

        1. I will direct you to the title of this article – “Chuck Close Responds to Scott Blake.” In light of that, when I use the word “response,” do you think I am referring to you? You continue to confuse yourself with Chuck Close.

        2. I’ll add that invoking “something Chuck Close said once (with no context)” as some sort of standard that constitutes a logical fallacy or universal moral law that makes my blame “weak” is dubious (though again, I wasn’t considering your “independent” actions at all in my comment).

        3. Even granting the importance of your quote as “proof” or something to value or adhere to, nothing in that quote indicates that you have to make that justification publicly (much less obnoxiously) or care that it is made known – in fact, I would proffer (subjectively, of course) that would be a hallmark difference between an artist and an art market whore, caring about the intent and integrity his craft independent of the opinion of the market and public recognition. To apocryphally quote someone who suffered *actual* suppression of their *own* thoughts and *own* work, and far more elegant than what I wrote above:

        “and yet it moves”

        just like it will after you and minute 15.

        BONUS: 4. “Blaming me for not wanting to comment…” Not wanting to comment? That’s about all you do. In fact, I fail to see how that is at all logically congruous with the ensuing “I’m defending myself.”

        Wait. WAIT. Perhaps you meant to write “Blaming me for Chuck Close not wanting to comment is weak.”

        Did you really remove “Chuck Close” from that sentence and make it all about you in replying to what I wrote? My response was about 1) critiquing the (editor’s) hit generating, disingenuous choice of a title for a dark and stormy teapot of a story and 2) commending Close’s continuing self control and wise approach – where your sole function was to provide an incidental contrast?

        I’m not sure what’s more damning – the sentence as is or what you may have meant to type with an amusingly telling omission.

      • Den Hickey

        You are a coat-tailing bell-end. End of story. Maybe you should stick to ripping off the styles of dead artists rather than live, working artists.

  • http://www.facebook.com/danny.hurley Danny Hurley

    “Mr. Close told us coyly, a smile stretching upward on his face. “I made it by hand.” ”
    Don’t you get it Blake? His Hand? His Digits? Geesh

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      Desmond Paul Henry used his finger digits to create computer art in 1960, seven years before Chuck Close.

      • anniemadine

        I think it’s not at all useful to differentiate so coldly between “digital art” and…whatever you designate as the opposite of digital art, as extrapolated from Close’s statement (“I made digital art before there was digital art.”) Your timeline is impressive, Blake, but Close is not claiming to have invented digital art. He has always employed a grid (and photographs) to make his work. And his use of the grid became more salient with his paralysis. The grid, analog or electronic, is basic computing. (Just ask James Bridle. Kidding.)

        • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

          Chuck Close said “I was there before computer-generated imagery” on the Colbert Report, August 2010. Ken Knowlton developed BEFLIX programming language for bitmap computer-produced movies in 1963. Chuck Close began painting from photograph in 1967. I’m not trying to say that Close copied Ken Knowlton’s or Desmond Paul Henry’s work; I just want to underscore that Close was NOT there before computer-generated imagery.

      • Den Hickey

        Oh, boo fuckin hoo… his joke wasn’t factually and historically accurate.

  • http://twitter.com/LolaScarpitta Lola Scarpitta

    Be great, steal the idea. Don’t just “borrow” it. There is no original idea. It’s only what you do with ideas done before that make it worthy or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthewhansenomaha Matthew Hansen

    Scott Blake is not best known for his Chuck Close filter. He’s best known for making really cool barcode art. I’m not sure he makes lots of work “from his own inner reality,” because frankly I’m not sure what the hell that means, but he does make a lot of good work. You should actually check it out.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      Thanks @facebook-1065009122:disqus

  • Alexis Hyde

    All I can hear when I read Blake’s comments is “I am a white man and you can’t tell me no”. Also, he admitted to stealing it when he said “I simply wanted to make his art accessible to the masses in a new and exciting way.” That’s not appropriation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      “University of Iowa communication studies professor Kembrew McLeod, author of several books on sampling and appropriation, including Copyright Criminals and Creative License, said that Scott Blake’s filter art should fall under the doctrine of fair use.” Quote taken from the Wired article.

      • Alexis Hyde

        I whole heartedly disagree with Kembrew.

        • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

          @google-07fbe2a2ffca35047bebbb3fa45eae6e:disqus are you a lawyer? How many books have you written on appropriation?

          • Alexis Hyde

            You show me your bibliography and I’ll show you mine.

            “Both the language and the legislative history of section 201(c)
            suggest that when in doubt, courts should construe the rights of publishers
            narrowly rather than broadly in relation to those of authors. . . . [O]ne must
            bear in mind that Congress passed the section to enlarge the rights of
            authors.”-Ryan v Carl Corp

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

            @google-07fbe2a2ffca35047bebbb3fa45eae6e:disqus Ryan v Carl Corp is about charging people for faxing articles. Your quote is weak.

            I think Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music (aka 2 Live Crew v. Roy Orbison) is more relevant here, but I’m not a lawyer. Are you?

          • Alexis Hyde

            I think the most relevant would be Cariou vs. Prince, or Carla Bruni’s quote in Midnight in Paris about Michael Sheen’s character…”The pedantic one?”

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

            The Cariou vs. Prince appeal has not been decided yet, but Jeff Koons v. Balloon Dog Book Ends, Shepard Fairey v. Steelerbab, and Damien Hirst v. Cartrain are all on my side.

            At least we both agree on something, Midnight in Paris was a good movie.

          • Alexis Hyde

            I have the hardest time reading what you write without hearing “MANSPLAIN MANSPLAIN MANSPLAIN”

            But seriously dude, you admitted it.

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

            I admit it, I am a man.

          • Alexis Hyde

            Lots of ways to read that, going to go with the one that I want it to mean, not the way I know you want it to mean.

            Tip for the future though, genuine tip, don’t care what commentors (ars? ers?) say on the internet, it’s a waste of your brain space. Although it’s more entertaining for us if you do!

          • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

            That is great advice. I will ignore all of your further comments from now on. It’s been fun chatting with you.

          • http://www.facebook.com/angela.d.burris Angela Dominguez Burris

            How about Jeff Koons vs the photographer who made the picture with the couple with the dachshunds? Koon lost because he copied the photo. Would have been different case if he used the photo as an inspiration and did his own version of it. And then made the sculpture based on his own photo, you know what I mean? It’s the same case your case, ‘cuz you r using his stuff, if you have used your own based on his, and don’t use close’s name but as inspiration things could have been different. That’s how I see it anyway.

          • Den Hickey

            Well, dumbass.. Kembrew McLeod isn’t a lawyer either.. nor are you. And you think him writing any number of books on such a subjective matter means no one can disagree? Every word I read on here by you… and no surprise you are here so constantly, famewhore that you seem to be… just makes you look more and more like a petty, infantile ass.

      • Alexis Hyde

        Also, I’m fairly certain that’s not how the law works, just one professor’s opinion? You’d have to battle it out in court and the judge would decide, that’s how you find out. If and when that happens and you win? Well, I’ll still disagree, and you still will have admitted it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Balhatain Brian Sherwin

        Scott — I can point you to 5 lawyers who focus on copyright that would disagree with McLeod.

    • http://twitter.com/marchandlaroux marchand laroux

      Decontextualized, it depends where the weight is in this statement. If the stress is on “his art”, then it’s stealing, but an argument could be made for fair use re: “in a new and exciting way.”

      @facebook-517549527:disqus You made something cool and transformative, and then fucked up when you titled and publicized it. Language matters. You would not fare well in this case without someone even looking at the filter. This is not the same as any of the cases you mention below, because they did not A) namecheck the referenced artist and B) openly state value for the work in relation to that artist’s name.

      Please, PLEASE, stop arguing the artistic value of the filter itself. It truly doesn’t matter in light of the other issues.

    • Jawnita

      Isn’t Chuck Close also a white man? Look, I’m pretty darn feminist, I really am, and I’m having a really hard time seeing where race and gender are playing into this. I’d even argue the opposite: where Chuck Close’s work was about human visual perception and the human subject, Scott Blake’s is about the meaning of art in the age of mass production and mechanical reproduction. If anything, it’s less oppressive and/or elitist. The whole thing about being an artist whose work is in any way shown to the public is that other artists will build upon your work — that’s how you know you’re succeeding — and to insist that your art is a special precious snowflake that must never be touched by public discourse is a heck of a lot more arrogant and self-absorbed than anything Scott Blake is doing here. Similarly, I’m baffled that people here seem to think that involving Close’s name in the website was Blake’s blunder. If I were Close, I’d want to be credited as the source of inspiration! I wouldn’t have even recognized Chuck Close’s name without this kerfuffle, and I went to university for an art-related field. It’s not like Close’s target audience was going to accidentally buy one of Blake’s pieces under the impression that it was a genuine Close.

  • jdesmond

    I’m trying to imagine a past artist like Picasso sending cease and desist letters to Braque or Metzinger for copying his ‘cubism’ style. How silly and petty he would look today. Great artists are great because they continue to put out new original work, not by holding a gun to anyone who might contribute to the evolution of art. Mr. Close comes out of this one looking pretty bad.

    • http://www.facebook.com/susannah.bourke.7 Susannah Bourke

      Cubism was a dialogue between Braque and Picasso. Picasso copied Braque’s innovations, Braque copied Picasso’s innovations. It’s really not a comparable situation…

      • jdesmond

        I like your analogy. Art is indeed a continuous process of dialogue — of listening and expressing. Chuck Close is one participant, and Scott Blake is another. Unfortunately, in this particular conversation, Mr. ©lose wants to do all the talking and wants everyone else to shut up.

        • http://www.facebook.com/angela.d.burris Angela Dominguez Burris

          I don’t see what’s the conceptual dialogue when somebody says that he wants to make this other artist accessible to the masses. Do you?

          • jdesmond

            Mr. Close is not the first person to create pixelated/pointilist/mosaic images, and he won’t be the last. For some reason, he thinks he is the first creator of this type of imagery, and he has the hubris to demand that no one else create such images. (And the legal profession gives him the means to enforce this). I’m not an expert on Chuck Close’s work, but he looks like a one-trick pony. He had one idea and milked it to death. Mr. Close could have perhaps revived interest in his work with Scott Blake. Maybe they could have worked together to create a smartphone app and licensed the technology to Instagram, and maybe you’d see millions of Chuck Close images all over the internet. Instead he’s reacted out of fear and greed. He thinks the ubiquity of this type of image will hurt his artistic cachet. How sad. He doesn’t understand art in 2012. Today’s art is about remixing and mashups, and auto-tuning and recutting media. Real artists get it. They evolve and grow.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susannah.bourke.7 Susannah Bourke

            Way to oversimplify Chuck Close’s work.
            Also, remixing, mashups, recutting and all that jazz aren’t what art is about. They’re tools. Art transcends medium. (If you’d said art is about consumer culture, internet culture, the meaninglessness of existence, the quest for beauty, nothing etc I would have to agree with you.) Are you a ‘real’ artist by the way? I’d be really interested to know.

          • jdesmond

            > Art transcends medium.
            Not in this case. Here, the medium is the message, and Mr. Close doesn’t understand that. As another commenter pointed out, Marcel Duchamp covered this territory a hundred years ago. Art today doesn’t come in the form of an oil canvas. The only people who believe that and who perpetuate that myth are those who make a living by commodifying art. Today it’s a bit tricky to make art that is both relevant and lucrative.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susannah.bourke.7 Susannah Bourke

            Perhaps if you want art to be more democratic, you should lose your narrow view on what is and isn’t art.

          • jdesmond

            Democracy is about discussion and the free exchange of ideas, which is what is happening on this blog. In a plutocracy, the rich and powerful use litigation to bludgeon individuals into silence. Tell me camp I live in.

  • JosephYoung

    one of my favorite things in all of this is seeing how people use the thumbs up/thumbs down feature on disqus. you see people using it and you wonder sometimes, what do you mean by that? what does it mean to thumbs up/down a direct quote? who are you thumbing, the quote-er or quote-ee? funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/randolph.beers Randolph Osmyn Beers

    The difference is, Picasso, A. isn’t the founder of cubism, in the movements at the time formed into each other by being influenced on what other painters of the time were making, such as Fuavism and Futurism heavily influencing while the stated African Indigenous mask art has been a known influence as well. There were schools in style. There’s no school based on Close painting or Hirst or Wiley. That’s where the search of inner reality comes in. Making something from you, not making something in the style of someone else just because the medium changes. Making the filter was fine, but once you throw Close’s name on, then you are essentially quoting Close but with your own signature.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      Using Chuck Close’s name doesn’t fall under copyright law. There is a body of law called “Right of Publicity Law” which protects celebrities from having their likenesses used in ads without their permission. But my use of his name doesn’t really count, partly because I did not charge for using the free filter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randolph.beers Randolph Osmyn Beers

        But you also didn’t include a disclaimer that you were not endorsed by Chuck Close which where it gets a little muddy and he might get a little irritated. Or that, you didn’t check with him/for warn him of your intentions. I mean, then it really does comes down to what were your intentions, why did it have to be a filter in his manner, why would you want to provide that free for other people to use. I also don’t think this argument is really about digital art, there’s some very fine examples of it but more about the way you went about creating this work. There’s also this little thing called dignity and integrity, and don’t take this offensively being I’m not familiar with your earlier work, but what would you rather be known as, some one you copied Chuck Close’s style in a manner of Kincade to Classical styles or Scott Blake who makes whatever else it may be. Being an artist is just about creating a name for yourself. But its about really having the passion and enjoyment for the things you find yourself end up doing. Just knowing that it came from yourself, maybe influenced by others, but still your own original time and hand should be enough enjoyment. If you can;t see what I’m saying there then your at loss. Making digital art is like shooting digital photography. Where’s your process?

        • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

          I appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Your are right, I did not include a disclaimer on my website, but I also didn’t create a fake endorsement. I did have a step by step description of how the filter worked so people could understand where I was coming from. I made the Chuck Close Filter 13 years ago for fun, and I actually got an A grade on the assignment. In the last decade I have made 30+ interactive barcode portraits featured in The New York Times (twice), Huffington Post (twice), Wall Street Journal, Adbusters, a 300 year animation that was added to the New Museum’s Rhizome Art Base, and a 9/11 Flipbook reviewed in the Times of London and on Hyperallergic. http://hyperallergic.com/19277/artist-911-flipbook/

          If you are interested in my process check out my website http://www.BarcodeArt.com

          “To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing” Elbert Hubbard.

          • http://www.facebook.com/brianmoz Brian Fernandes-Halloran

            I don’t think you should take the criticism to heart nor feel the need to defend the close project especially if you made it for fun. You and mr. Close could benefit from a dose of humor over this whole thing. I’m surprised he got ticked off from the program because he, more than anyone, would know that his process does far more than a program could do. I guess I thought he would have more confidence in his practice. I am assuming you know that your program does not make images as effective as Close.
            Legal action is a bummer between artists. Don’t let it take more attention away from your practice than it needs to.

          • http://www.facebook.com/angela.d.burris Angela Dominguez Burris

            For the record, the same way I gave my negative opinion about your Chuck Close filter, I though the bard code art that you are making is quite awesome, work on that, make an artist statement and put it in your website and next time Chuck Close invites for a coffee go and have a chat with the man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/randolph.beers Randolph Osmyn Beers

        Please, don’t take this as me trying to bash you, but realize where Chuck Close may be coming from, an issue painters since the Renaissance have had to struggle with, and take it as me trying to help you see the light within yourself. Figure out who you are and you base your work off that.

      • http://twitter.com/marchandlaroux marchand laroux

        Again, this just isn’t true. Right of Publicity covers a lot more than that. And your use of his name in “Free Chuck Close Art” actually makes a great case under Right of Publicity! This is completely disregarding any specifics regarding the filter itself.
        The use of his name is only part of the actionable complaint. As noted in comments on the previous article, the modifier “Free” implies that Close’s work, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, will be offered for no price. There is nothing to prevent you from capitalizing on the publicity gained through use of his name through other means, i.e. selling your own t-shirts, ad space, etc, on this site. Filter or no filter, he still has a case if he wants to pursue it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jorgen.lindell Jörgen Lindell

          Actually, “Free” _could_ also mean “liberate”….

          • http://twitter.com/marchandlaroux marchand laroux

            Yes, but that doesn’t change the merit of the issue.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.jankowiak James Jankowiak

    Ok… I am 100% on Chuck Close’s side on this one.On every single point… For this guy to agree to let it go and then get cheap publicity by ripping him after Close personally invited him for a friendly visit? It’s a man’s name, a man’s style, something that should be easy to respect. You had a chance to let it go amicably, maybe even become a friend of his, and you reopen the wound. It doesn’t matter how many publications you’ve been highlighted in or how great your other work might be, everybody will remember you for this. Congrats.

  • http://twitter.com/tepsicmag TEPSIC Mag

    i thought it was cool blake made a filter and all, but advertising it as “free chuck close art” was a mistake from the beginning. i realize you spent a lot of time creating the filter, but this is a man who created this idea from *NOTHING* and some dood (YOU) is pissing on his artform advertising it as “free chuck close art”. i would want to shut you down as well, blake. and when you’re as rich as chuck close, you have the power to do so. (AMERICA!)

    you have gone from “sort of cool” to “most annoying photoshop filter dood who has way too much free time to be checking out articles about himself to try and defend yourself from internet trolls.” move on to the next project and stop embarrassing yourself thinking that chuck close actually gives a shit what you think.

  • http://twitter.com/andysimionato Andy Simionato

    Im sure this has already been noted, but Close’s response about “digital” art is clearly a pun which Blake may be missing: Close goes on to say he used his hands, id est his digits, ergo he made digital art. Its not that funny however.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

      Pun or not, it is a false statement. If we are talking about using your finger digits, cave painters were the first digit-al artists.

      • http://twitter.com/andysimionato Andy Simionato

        Hi Scott, some artistic activity can be reduced to a set of instructions, you could argue that many artists of fame found popularity in part because they were able to behave like “machines” that could output artworks more or less following a “code”. I liked your filter-project because it draws on this aspect of artistic activity. Wishes, andy

        • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

          Thanks @twitter-138637369:disqus.

      • http://visceralresponse.com Dina dV

        Let me see if I can explain the joke. He’s using “digital” two different ways, therefore it’s a play on words. The first digital just meant he makes his art by hand ie with his digits. He was doing that before “digital” art was common. Nowhere in there does it state or suggest or imply that he was the first person ever to make art by hand because that’s ridiculous. And while the second half, that he was making his digital art before “digital” art is factually incorrect is immaterial SINCE IT WAS A JOKE.

        Seriously, get over it. And if you’re really just arguing because you want everyone to say you’re right, then you’re right. So please, stop.

  • Katie Smither

    this conversation has become thin and dumb. let’s move on.

    • b knight

      amen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnthecreative John Merrifield

    That filter isn’t that great. Note how the squares have to be so small just so that you can identify the person’s face. Chuck Close painted using much bigger squares and you could not only still easily identify the details of the person’s face, hair, etc. but also the cool little things inside each square. In a lot of places, like the sides of the nose and lips he combined two squares into rectangles. Also look at the background of the computer generated image with that filter. There are only 2 square types repeating over and over again, instead of random ones showing up here and there. I would have no use for this filter, but I would love to have the real Chuck Close create artwork for me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jacob.fuglsang.mikkelsen Jacob Fuglsang Mikkelsen

    My Pixilated Art from 1999: http://jayfugmik.com/In_Control_page.html

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593375665 Michael Ricks

    Mr Close’s work is more a style of photo-impressionism and had it’s roots in the manipulation of photographic reproduction from the beginning. I doubt he can lay claim to the right to a style or genre he did not actually originate unless he has taken out a patent on the process. I agree that it was a mistake by Scott Blake to use Mr Close’s name in conjunction with his filter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jonas.d.dodge Jonas D. Dodge

    There is this really great quote by Mary Pickford (co-founder of United Artists and early cinema darling). She says, “if you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down, but the staying down.” As an artist, it’s very difficult to stop yourself circling the drain of some “failed” project. Chuck Close says you can’t use his name/work, then you can’t use his name/work. Unless you can afford to take him to court on it, I think it’s time to dust yourself off, pick yourself up and move on. Life is about experience and if you can learn from this, it will make you a better artist in the long run. If you can’t, well…

  • RoseMcDonald

    Copying someone else’s art isn’t art; it’s copying.I can print a copy of the Mona Lisa, but it is and will always be a copy. Same principle applies here. Sorry, Scott; if you want recognition as an artist come up with something of your own.

    • http://hragv.com Hrag Vartanian

      You mean like Marcel Duchamp’s copy of the Mona Lisa?

      • anthony cudahy

        For real! I have to stop myself from reading these comments- I’m going a little insane. It really is interesting/crazy how matters of appropriation are still seen decades and decades and decades after modern and contemporary artists have already covered the territory. This and the initial article’s comment tread remind me of the Prince v. Caribou NYT comment thread, but I didn’t expect the same amount of conservative (I think that’s the best word) readers on a contemporary art blog.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/WXJJMT6KJBAYYVL3PGBDL7VNHY Max Thorvald

        It’s not a copy…just take a LHOOQ!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jim.vankirk Jim VanKirk

    Chuck is an Artist with many qualities to be admired but hardly an intellectual Giant. His contention that NY has considered every other Artist living and working today and that history will confirm those decisions flies in the face of historical precedent. But I agree with most here that your use of his name to further your work is tasteless at best. A picture of your finished product would have sufficed. Good luck but I hold out no hope for you. Peas in a pod.

  • Klarpor

    When I point my browser to “www.freechuckcloseart.com” I now find myself at a site offering Scott Blake t-shirts for sale. And Blake earlier accused Close of “confusing enterprise with creativity”?

    • http://twitter.com/marchandlaroux marchand laroux

      This is PRECISELY where use of Close’s name becomes actionable with regards to Right of Publicity, FYI.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Scott.Bl8ke Scott Blake

        Here is what the site used to look like before before I was asked to take it down. http://web.archive.org/web/20100606103148/http://freechuckcloseart.com/

        • http://twitter.com/marchandlaroux marchand laroux

          Thanks. The thing is, it’s more about potential. In the time since this has blown up, you *have* altered the content from which that domain is linked, to sell things. If the site had remained as it was in the screenshot you provided (banner on top), but become popular, someone would have been deriving revenue from it. You may have altered it, created an app or otherwise built on something that arose from it and offered that through the site as a separate entity. It’s all what *could* happen.

      • Klarpor

        Of course. I’m surprised CC hasn’t objected to the new site.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.d.burris Angela Dominguez Burris

    Blake go back to square one and think what is it that you r doing as an artist man? You could be a good artist by your own instead of trying to make a name for yourself making a filter that makes a bad Close portrait. Like those computer filters that makes ugly Warhol’s. It’s not art what you r doing, it’s KITSCH.

  • http://www.ianseancross.com/ Jasper

    Why are we still hearing about this
    story?

    Scott Blake can talk all day about the advancements of technology and art
    before Chuck Close began his own mosaic paintings, but it does not change Chuck
    Close’s individual technical invention as a painter in this particular style.

    Maybe Scott Blake should examine the history of the mosaic technique. It goes
    back much further than the 1960′s. If you want to draw rational parallels to an
    image as bits of information an honest place to begin is 300 BC with Roman
    mosaic copies of lost Hellenistic paintings. By the time you get to
    the 1960′s the transposition of information into bit maps for computers is
    just a reorganizing of visual information into the architecture of new
    technology. The basic premise of the mosaic has not really changed only the
    interpretation has shifted. In this instance then maybe Scott Blake should also
    study semantics.

    Chuck Close made a type of mosaic painting that he developed as a signature
    style. Scott Blake could not produce his unflinching copies with out first
    having the template provided by Close. Chuck Close to his credit at least
    provided an original re-interpretation of a pixel, byte, bit, or what is
    generally referred to as tesserae or tessera from the Greek: meaning a
    square.

    I would think this issue would be a simple matter of acknowledging what is
    blatantly one artist’s unimproved copy of another artist’s original
    creative advancement solely for the purpose of financial gain. This type of
    outright theft of an artist’s creative work is a growing theme that seems
    rampant as our culture becomes more enmeshed with imaging technology.

    I believe this story is really about a thief who worked way to hard to
    create something that was never his in the first place. And like all squeaky
    wheels Scott Blake is going to keep whining until he gets the compensation he
    does not deserve. The whole thing is pretty tired.

  • http://twitter.com/NikAngel7 NikAngel

    yeah, basically pop art in response to the digital now. Neat filter. But don’t take on Chuck Close for the purpose of being a hipster smart ass…

  • http://www.facebook.com/artbyretta Loretta Stephenson

    Oh for heaven’s sake… Scott Blake, grow up! You done wrong an’ got caught, now act like a man and accept responsibility for your actions. Get on with your own life and OWN creative endeavors. Leave Chuck Close alone. He’s too busy with real artistic output to have to mess with your childish attention getting manipulations.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.b.elizabeth Bunny Elizabeth

    Why would someone want to antgonize Chuck Close? Dude is paralyzed and still a badass artist.

    • Den Hickey

      To try to get famous and get representation at a blue chip gallery where his work will sell for huge prices no matter how derivative, insipid, and shallow it may be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mjudgeny Mary Judge

    (Close) My gfriend “and I” like digital art and video….subtext: I’m a man,( I got a chick here) and I’m a hipster too ya know. Sad. If you really wanna make the App go (but why would you?) just unhitch it from Close’s name because the formula is based on PIXELS not PAINTING. But no this App is about gaining celebrity nothing else. Hence, the not really very interesting premise of the Close work. Its based on a formula, no different than using points (like the pointillists) and who would want to be like Seurat by just copying his technique? The ART is in the ARTIST not their technique. Its meaningless to copy technique: like this App. All art students to a CC project. Its just sophomoric. The fact that Close has made a career out of applying a certain technique formula into painting language just speaks to those who purchase it. Anyway, mostly they are just buying celebrity. Seems shallow to me. Early Close was interesting….now it seems mechanical. That said, you wanna take that and make an App of it and slap Close’s name on it? You deserved to have some sense slapped into you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Balhatain Brian Sherwin

    Just a reminder: You can’t copyright style. If someone painted in the same way as Close… there is not much he can do about it. You can’t copyright style. Period. That said, there is a difference between working in the same style… and creating derivatives of specific images. If Blake called his program something else… and made works with it that did not involve Close’s images — there is nothing Close can do about it. Copyright infringement is a hot issue today — and an easy one to ‘cultivate’ press with.

  • Den Hickey

    Chuck didn’t start this and from having met the guy I can tell you he seems like a great guy. He should be happy someone is stealing his style for their own career advancement? I think not. Plenty of people talk about his art… because it is wonderful and not just a digital copy of what someone else did using their name because otherwise that fame and blue chip gallery representation would never come their way.

  • http://www.facebook.com/emily.b.elizabeth Bunny Elizabeth

    I doubt Mr.Close was aware that digital art was going on before he was painting with grids. At taht time, digital art making was in its infancy, the first stages and probably not that well known. Shit, I never learned that and I have a BFA. However, the issue is that Mr. Blake made a website call FreeChuckCloseArt, which trivializes the work of Close, an artist who was and continues to be prolific. It is understandable as to why he’d be offended. What we have here is a young and clever artist not appropriating, but copying, the style of a famous artist. To appropriate something you have to give it new meaning. I see no new meaning in Blake’s art.

    • http://www.facebook.com/emily.b.elizabeth Bunny Elizabeth

      plz excuse my syntax errors

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Gepford/1293844775 Robert Gepford

    perfect example of a young buck (scott) attacking the big guy hoping to elevate himself by demeaning the the big buck(Chuck)….careful you can get quite a fall from that unless you really are better…

Previous post:

Next post: