London (CBS DC) — Large tapestry portraits of President Barack Obama were unveiled for guests at the U.S. Embassy in London over the weekend.
The recently-installed, large-scale tapestry portraits were created by National Medal of Arts winner and renowned American painter, photographer Chuck Close.
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) December 13, 2013
Close created the portraits by compiling and interweaving Polaroids of the president from an hour-long photo shoot done the summer before, the Washington Post reports. The portraits are nearly 8 feet tall and more than 6 feet wide, with the final piece looking like photos but feeling like textiles.
Close used one photo of Obama smiling and another in which he appears in a more serious, “presidential” demeanor. The artist is also an advocate for arts education in schools.
“I photographed him last week for an hour and a half,” Close told the Village Voice at the time. “And boy, did I take the opportunity to lobby him.”
Last year, a watercolor print made from the same portraits was available for purchase to benefit the Obama Victory Fund, with a few of the pieces signed by Close and Obama. The Mint Museum in North Carolina was unveiled in fall 2012 to celebrate the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Close also designed commemorative posters of the president that were sold during the 2013 presidential inauguration in Washington, D.C.
The tapestry was one of 10 such portraits available for $100,000 apiece as part of a fundraiser also supporting the Obama Victory Fund.
Close had previously done a presidential portrait of Bill Clinton, and photographed presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Al Gore.