Middle school students have been busy this winter learning about the life and work of the contemporary artist Chuck Close. Students learned about the numerous challenges he has faced through his life and how he overcame them. His incredible paintings inspired them to create their own self- portrait collages.
Everyone had a chance to use a SLR camera to take a picture of a classmate. We used these photos to carefully observe and draw our faces using a grid to break them down square by square, just like Chuck Close does. Students then made collages using images of things that represented themselves and their interests. We painted over the collages using a gradient wash method to create a semi-transparent background for our finished drawings. Students added their names and their artwork was complete. The finished pieces were wonderful and the students were very proud of their works.
We ended this multi-week project by watching a short video of a Chuck Close interview on a CBS This Morning series called “Note to Self”. In it, the artist writes a letter to himself when he was in middle school. It was the perfect conclusion to this lesson focusing on an artist who is so inspiring to so many. You can check it out here: