Jackson Pollock was an influential American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement. He was born on 28th January 1912 in Cody, Wyoming, United States. He was born the youngest of the five sons of his parents Stella May and LeRoy Pollock. As a child, he was named Paul Jackson Pollock. He was grown up in Arizona and Chico, California. He attended Los Angeles’ Manual Arts High School. He was expelled from there. Pollock explored Native American culture during his early life, while on surveying trips with his father.
Following his older brother, he moved to New York in 1930. There, they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. During the Great Depression, Pollock worked for the WPA Federal Art Project from 1938 to 1942. He was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop operated in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
Later, he used paint pouring as one of the several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s such as “Male and Female” and “Composition with Pouring I”. By the year 1947, Pollock was doing a ‘drip and splash’ style which many of the people believed he introduced to the art world during this time period. In addition to that, the all over method of painting is also one which is tied to Jackson Pollock, and many of the art work which he created.
In the process of making paintings, he moved away from figurative representation and challenged the Western tradition of using easel and brush. As a result of his unique painting style, Tome magazine dubbed Pollock “Jack the Dripper” in 1956. Pollock underwent a change in emphasis in his work in 1951. He gave up the use of color and instead created a serious of black paintings on un-primed canvases. He continued to struggle for the next five years with his drinking and his art continued to undergo changes and he returned to using colors. Pollock painted Scent and Search in 1955 which would be his last two paintings. He did not paint at all in the year 1956. During his life time, Pollock enjoyed considerable fame and notoriety.
To talk about his personal life, Pollock was married to the American painter Lee Krasner. The couple got married in October of 1945. One month later, they moved out of the city to the Springs area of East Hampton on the south shore of Long Island. Apart from that, Jackson Pollock is mostly known for his Action Painting. It is a technique where paint is spontaneously splashed, dribbled or smeared onto the canvas as opposed to being carefully and mindfully applied with a paint brush. This style was wide spread in 1950s and 1960s and it is closely linked with Abstract Expressionism.
Jackson Pollock died in August of 1956 when he was at the age of 44. He was killed in an alcohol-related, single car accident; he was driving. One of the passengers, Edith Metzger was also killed in the accident. The other passenger, Ruth Klingman, an artist and Pollock’s mistress survived. His widow, Lee Krasner, for the rest of her life, managed his estate and ensured that Pollock’s reputation remained strong despite changing art-world trends.
Several months after his death, he was given a memorial retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in December 1956 in New York City. His work was honored with large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMa and at The Tate in London. Jackson Pollock was the subject of an Academy Award-winning film Pollock in the year 2000 which was directed by and starring Ed Harris.