Given that my inspiration is firmly founded in the style of Jackson Pollock it only seems fitting that I offer an appreciation of the style that has been his timeless signature.
The Man ….
There are several things I was not aware of; his name was Paul; he was born 28 January 1912. His father was in fact LeRoy McCoy but took on Pollock as an adopted name following the death of his parents. Had history taken a different turn Jackson Pollock would have been Paul McCoy. Jackson Pollocks career spanned from 1936 – 1954. In 1955 his focus turned to sculpture; so much so no paintings were undertaken in 1956. Alcohol and alcoholism plagued Pollocks adult life, worsened with ‘success’ and resulted in his death. He died in a single car crash at 10.15 pm on the 11 August 1956 whilst driving under the influence of alcohol alongside his mistress.
The Making of Pollock ….
1943 was the first time Pollock came on the scene with the largest of compositions in response to a commission for a mural; electing to paint horizontally rather than on the wall itself. The abstract expressionist movement featured in the post war era where art was subject to political censorship. The fifties in America was a time of subversion and fear of a communist movement. Conformity was a juxtaposition against wealth and massive cultural changes; civil movements, freedom of speech, rock and roll and Elvis Presley! It is Pollock; with his style described as frenetic, undisciplined, uncontrolled and volcanic was without of the ‘right time’ and in the ‘right place’ to indulge and later (much) later feed and capitalise in this post war arena.
His Style ….
Rothko and Pollock are both described as Abstract Expressionists, despite having opposing styles. Both chose art on the grandest of scales, each style required structure and composition to fill the largest of canvases. Pollock defines art without reliance of lines to define shapes. Pollock used household paints (Alkyd Enamels in the main) to splash and pour on canvas (‘dripping’). Pollock’s colourful ‘drip period’ lasted from 1947 – 1950. Ending abruptly, in 1951 his style turned to the pouring of black paint with depiction as shapes. Not at the time of any commercial successes Pollock returned to colours and ‘dripping’. Long after his death his creations are achieving worldwide success and press with 17A reportedly sold for $200 million!
A Legacy ….
Jackson Pollock is not remembered for the short life he led and the ‘odd’ misdemeanour but immortalised in the iconic style he chose to paint. A style that was without boundary and broke all rules of ‘the time’ I wonder if a ‘Paul McCoy’ would have had the same success as Jackson Pollock? as for Elton John (Reginald Kenneth Dwight) or David Bowie (David Robert Jones) come to that matter
A Pollock in Real Life!!
Having the opportunity to see Number 51, a creation from Pollock’s period of ‘black pouring of paint’ alongside a degree of symbolism. It is unsettling to realise a sense of foreboding and sadness in the art. It is not surprising that this style was of least commercial value. That aside standing in front of an original Pollock was inspiring.
Impact on my Art ….
I would hope to emulate Pollock in several ways but not all, no doubt to the relief of my family. As for the similarities in my style, I can recognise that I have progressed from abstract to abstract expressionism, granted not to everyone’s taste. That said having seen a master in close quarters there was so much to see that one-dimensional photographs do not offer. Pollock appear to allow for the drying of the applications of colour; completely opposed to mine do which promote the leaching from one colour to another. Whilst mesmerizingly chaotic there are areas where the mind/eyes can rest; these areas enhance contrast and dare I offer purpose to the piece. This is definitely a trait that now needs to feature in my imagery. In the alternative to areas of less chaos Pollock introduces focal points; in the most recognised and greatest of examples are nothing more than lines rather than images or shapes. Choice and limitation of colour are profoundly bold. One thing I do struggle with is composition, frankly for now this matters not.