Chuck Close vs. Chuck-Close-like art-making

The famous artist, known for his portrait mosaics composed of tiny pictures, has threatened legal action against Scott Blake, a man who came up with a Photoshop plug-in that allows the user to create similar tiled portraits. Blake wrote this in response [Salon via Doctorow, BoingBoing]


  • Blake’s “response” is less than responsive.

  • For generations, art has progressed based on the work of previous artists. Artists studied each other’s styles and created more art using the same style and technique.

    Chuck Close may believe that he invented this mosaic style he uses (he didn’t, it is a derivative of previous mosaic techniques), but why does that give him the right to prevent other artists from working using the same style/techniques?

    Blake should change the name of his filter and continue to publish and create art with it.

  • If I’m reading this article correctly, it’s not just a matter of doing a work that looks like Chuck Close – it actually takes his paintings and extracts the individual cells to be re-used to make other images. That does seem like it’s getting into sketchier territory.

  • Also, it used Chuck Close’s name in both the name of the filter and the website (freechuckcloseart). If he had just called it artistic pixelation filter and made his own pixel art, he wouldn’t have had any problems.

  • It’s curious that Close uses the false argument that he has to defend against Blake or he will be unable to defend against others, which confuses copyright law with trademark law. It sounds like he has not consulted a lawyer.