Short Biography of Jackson Pollock
Agreed upon by many critics as one of the greatest painters in the United States in the 20 th century, Jackson Pollock would devise a new art, free from brushes and easels, where his body and mind worked to produce an abstract image. It was his early studies in art that led him to his discovery and his influence can still be seen in America’s avant-garde art movements.
Born in Wyoming, but growing up in Arizona and California would have an impact on the colors that Jackson would use later in his life. He attended the Manual Arts High School and by the age of 18, he moved to New York City to study with his brother under artist Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. There, he learned to focus on what he had known as a boy, a rural America as his main subject matter. Having seen and studied the work of artists from Mexico had a great impact on Pollock’s work when he was in his early twenties. Pollock had shown some of his art alongside other artists of the day, but his first personal showing was in 1943.
Before 1944, Pollock’s art was sometimes considered partially morbid. His style changed one day while he was working on a mural in his converted-barn studio outside Long Island in New York and some paint dripped from his brush onto the floor. No official autobiography of Jackson Pollock was ever published, but he revealed to sources that the drop of paint was an epiphany. He knew that his brush, although it never touched the ‘canvas’ on the floor, had made art. He began painting abstract works using his dripping methods and was dubbed ‘Jack the Dripper’ by the press. By the time he had perfected his art, he wasn’t using brushes at all, but anything that would create an impression, he would throw sand, glass, and drip paint from the ceiling by a towel onto the matter until what resulted was the image he had foreseen in his mind’s eye.
Into the 1950s, Pollock’s art again turned into something less colorful, more abstract, and quite dark. He began to re-introduce figures into his art. He died in a car crash that killed him and another passenger; however, his girlfriend survived. His works were all sold upon his death. His painting entitled Blue Pole sold for over $2 million in Australia in the 1970s and his painting called White Light was used on the album cover entitled Free Jazz.