One of my most popular posts ever was about the artist Chuck Close reinventing himself after a blood clot left him physically unable to use his hands the way he used to.
So of course I was intrigued to start seeing AOL ads featuring Chuck Close.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary, AOL commissioned Close to do a “Project on Creativity.” When it kicked off earlier this year, artinfo.com covered the launch party:
The artworks, some in black and white, some in color, depicted the Dalai Lama, the supreme figure in Tibetan Buddhism; Dean Kamen, the inventor of the Segue, the insulin pump, and Close’s state-of-the-art mechanized wheelchair that allows him extraordinary flexibility to paint; the MacArthur “genius grant”-winner Kara Walker; Oscar-winning film director Gus Van Sant; and the actress Claire Danes.
Not only will you rarely hear Claire Danes mentioned in the same sentence with the Dalai Lama and the inventor of the Segue, but you’ll rarely hear Close mentioned as a corporate image maker. As AdAge wrote:
In nearly 40 years of creating large-scale iconic images, American artist Chuck Close had never taken a commission, or allowed his work to be used commercially. That will change this year when Mr. Close starts shooting an ad campaign for AOL.
Sadly, I didn’t look into the Project on Creativity in time to share the part where you can get involved — AOL is awarding grants to creatives but the deadline was in September.
AOL is looking for 25 creative thinkers. We are awarding twenty-five, $25,000 grants to tomorrow’s ground breakers and visionaries—individuals with a creative spark to ignite. 25 for 25 is a call to journalists, artists and innovators who believe in the power of ideas.
The AOL Grant Program (25 for 25) is part of AOL’s Project on Creativity, launched during AOL’s 25th Anniversary year. We want to connect, empower, and support the next generation of creative thinkers. Inspired by Chuck Close’s philanthropic work in art and arts education, we will be awarding grants to tomorrow’s brilliant creators.