Jackson Pollock Working Methods





Jackson Pollack was a complex man who brought many things into the forefront of impressionism. Although he led a very short life of 44 years he was known as one of the pioneers of abstract impressionism. His abstract painting techniques and unhealthy psychological being made him very sought after, studied and critiqued. Within his complexity came out a brilliant artist that was widely considered the most influential painter of the 20th century.
Pollack’s first documented adventure into the art world was in 1929 when he began to study painting at the Art Students’ League in New York City. Jackson, by this time in his life had already become a full-blown alcoholic. His brother, Sanford who taught as an apprentice at the school, was living with him in 1937 while Jackson continued attending school, wrote to Charles Beard a family friend.
Jack has been having a very difficult time with himself. This past
year has been a succession of periods of emotional instability for
him which is usually expressed by a complete loss of responsibility
both to himself and to us. Accompanied, of course with drinking.
It came to the point where it was obvious that the man needed help.
He was mentally sick. So I took him to a well recommended
Doctor, a Psychiatrist, who has been trying to help the man find
himself. As you know troubles such as his are very deep-rooted,
in childhood usually, and it takes a long while to get them ironed
out. He has been going some six months now and I feel there is
a slight improvement in his point of view.1

Jackson Pollock was a very troubled man with deep personal issues. He tried to express himself through his paintings, his only release valve for his troubles and issues. He had had troublesome behavior from the time he was an adolescent and had already developed a drinking problem by the age of sixteen. By the age of twenty-five he had been in a car accident which was his fault, and had been arrested in Martha’s Vineyard for drunkenness and disturbing the peace.2 Jackson was definitely headed down the wrong trail. One of Jackson’s good life influences was Thomas Hart Benton who not only gave him his first true guidance in painting, but also introduced him to popular literature on psychology and to literary friends with special interest in the mind and its workings. Shortly after starting to study under Benton, Pollack became a family friend by spending part of each summer at the Bentons’ vacationing cottage on Martha’s Vineyard.3 In his early works he was mostly dedicated to Regionalist work being heavily influenced by Mexican muralist painters Orozco, Rivera, and Sizueiros. Although he did experiment with abstraction of objects in line type paintings. Even with being trained under a realist in Benton, Jackson branched out to explore the expression of himself through his abstract paintings. In 1936 Pollock worked in a experimental workshop where he worked on floats and banners for the Communist demonstrations, but shortly his interest in politics diminished and the one for psychological arose. 1939 brought Jackson’s his first psychological treatment from psychoanalyst Dr. Joseph Henderson. From 1938 to 1942 Pollock worked for the Federal Art Project, and by the mid-40’s he was painting in a completely abstract manner. In 1944 Jackson met and married his Lee Krasner, also an abstract impressionist of great influence in the 20th century. In 1947 Pollock abruptly started working in what he was famous for, his "drip and splash" method. He continued painting throughout the early 50’s, and in 1956 Time magazine named Jackson "Jack the Dripper".4 Later in 1956, Pollock would shock the world when he was in a fatal car wreck which added to his already legendary status as an artist, and was a demonstration of the harsh violent displayed in his paintings.
Jackson was most well known for his drip paintings, which were created in a very unheard of…unusual way. He attached his canvases to the wall or floor dancing around them attacking it from all four sides. He would use about anything but a paintbrush to apply the paint to the canvas. He most often stood over the work slinging paint with sticks, trowels, or knives. He would also embed things onto his