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Jackson Pollock, the artist who created abstract expressionism one splash of paint at a time

A review of the history of a legend in art. Jackson Pollock was the precursor of abstract expressionism.

The art world is full of talented artists who have marked a before and after in history thanks to their characteristic styles or techniques that made them unique such as Remedios Varo, who loved surrealism and kittens, Kandinsky, who was synaesthetic, and Jackson Pollock, who was the precursor of abstract expressionism.

Jackson Pollock not only added a lot of color to his paintings but also revolutionized the way of making art thanks to his method of throwing paint on the canvas to form lines, dots, drops, or any kind of abstract figure that came out. With this, the painter managed to create the first 100% American style which was concretely called abstract expressionism.

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What led him to it? Let’s delve into his history and technique so you can learn a little more about this iconic painter of the 40′s and 50′s.

Who was Jackson Pollock?

Paul Jackson Pollock was born on January 28, 1912, in the city of Cody, United States. While living in Echo Park, Los Angeles, he enrolled in the Los Angeles Manual Arts High School, from which he was expelled. In 1930, he moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League of New York while dealing with his own personal problems and became interested in abstract art.

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In his therapies, Dr. Joseph L. Henderson encouraged him to create drawings, and it was not until July 1943 that he had his first contract with Peggy Guggenheim to create the Mural in her home. Around October 1945, when Pollock moved with his wife to Springs, New York, he was able to improve his “splatter” technique that would make history.

What was Jackson Pollock’s technique?

The method Pollock used to create his paintings was known as “dripping,” which became one of the particularities of Action Painting, which basically consists of spontaneously splashing paint on the canvas. It is said that to execute it, the artist would place the canvas on the floor and let the paint drip. Sometimes Pollock would even step on the work, throw himself on top of it or spread paint from above. Although this technique was questioned by some critics, who considered that this could not be called “art,” over the years, the artist became one of the most important artists in history.

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Pollock and David Alfaro Siqueiros

A very attractive part of the artist’s life is that it is said that he was influenced by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, as he worked with him in his experimental workshop in New York, and it was him who experimented with airbrushes and industrial synthetic paint to do something similar to the dripping technique.

On the other hand, it is said that Pollock was also influenced by the work of Picasso and Jungian psychoanalysis. However, it’s well known that one of his main inspirations was Janet Sobel, a Ukrainian artist who experimented with the dripping technique way before Pollock made it popular.

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Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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