The Next Jackson Pollock?

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My freshmen year at SHU taught me so much about myself, that I'm still adjusting to my newfound lifestyle.  One aspect that I decided to follow through with was making Art History my major, and main focus.  Don't get me wrong, I love English, but I'm starting to feel that art is becoming my passion in life.  At first, I chose to shy away from art because my parents weren't crazy with me picking it because they thought it would be a 'dead end.'  To their suprise, I landed an internship at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art and shadowed the curator.  The experience was so wonderful and I met so many great people!

This summer, I found myself rummaging through clearnace sales at Barnes and Noble, and Walden Books for art books, and bibliographies.  I grabbed a couple for reference and quite a few for some light reading.  One artist in particular really grabbed my interest though. Jackson Pollock. (If you don't know his work, PLEASE check it out! He's is astounding!)

After reading about his style and life, I thought that it would be interesting to mirror his methods and try to create a work of art myself.  I threw on an old t-shirt and some basketball shorts and headed outside to my backyard with an arm full of acrylic paint, a handful of paintbrushes and my one slab of canvas.  I set the canvas on the ground, far away from anything (haha), and picked out my colors.  I decided to go with black, blue, red, and yellow (gotta love those primaries).  I then proceeded as such:

  1. I decided black was going to be my base, so I took the largest paintbrush I had, and dipped it in.  After this, I stood at a variety of different lengths away from the painting and continued to 'throw' paint at the canvas.
  2. After the base color was put down, and I was pleased, I continued to do the same with the other three colors, but just with smaller brushes.
  3. At the end of expressing myself, I then dipped my hand in the three colors and added in spots of color on the canvas in areas that I thought were lacking.
  4. Now that I was covered in paint from head to toe, I squirted myself off with the hose outside, haha :]

Although this method may seem very unconventional, and incontrollable, it is quite the opposite.  The artist is very much in control because they are placing the paint, and the color on the canvas.  They know/feel when an area is lacking, and therefore take the appropriate steps to fix it.  This method and category of painting is known as gestural abstraction (action painting).

A wonderful reference of this style would be Pollock's piece Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)

-Oil, enamel, and aluminum paitn on canvas, 7' 3" x 9' 10" / located in the National Gallery of Art, Washington


Mike Arnzen said:

Art history and English share a LOT -- you'll see this the further you get into it. And if you study both lit and art equally (double major?), you'll be well-prepared for grad school, if that's your choice.

Best wishes in BOTH, regardless of what your major is! I recommend you keep your eyes peeled for any/all film classes you can get into during your time at SHU.

JACKSON POLLOCK IS GREAT! There's a biopic about his life that you might be interested in renting.
-- Dr. A.

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