I studied Chuck Close briefly during my Abstract Art course last summer (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Days 4-5) and was really intrigued by his life. After doing large-scale hyper-realistic portraits, he had to adapt to a new process for his art after suffering a seizure and dealing with partial paralysis. In short, by griding out his work and treating each space as a painting in itself, he is able to create portraits that are possibly even more beautiful than his older hyper-realistic works.
Beautiful Decay posted a short interview with Chuck Close about why a crappy economy is actually good for artists. It’s short & sweet at 3 minutes, so give it a listen!