Heard an interview last night on Radio 4's Front Row with Chuck Close, American painter and photographer (self-portrait right). His story, and his work, are just amazing. He initally became known as a photorealist, painting works with such inconceivable attention to detail it is practically impossible to tell them apart from a photograph.
In 1988 he suffered a spinal artery collapse which left him a quadriplegic. Despite his near total paralysis, he was painting again within 8 months, using a brush clenched between his teeth and creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares which appear as a single, unified image when viewed from a distance. Kind of like a pixelated version of photo-realism.
Since his injury he has managed to gain some movement back in his arm and now paints with a brush strapped to his hand.
As well as pixelated portraits of other artists including Philip Glass, Cindy Sherman and Alex Katz, Close's recent subjects have included his family, and even Bill Clinton. He has an exhibition called "Family and Others" which opened yesterday at The White Cube gallery and runs until the 17th November. It includes some quite amazing Daguerrotypes of Kate Moss.