Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), was an American painter and one of the key forces behind the abstract expressionist art movement. He is known for his lively “drip and splash” style, also know as “action painting.” His paintings showed a lack of concern for art critics and championed painting from passion.
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17 Ideas of Jackson Pollock:
1. It came into existence because I had to paint it. Any attempt on my part to say something about it, to attempt explanation of the inexplicable, could only destroy it.
2. The thing that interests me is that today painters do not have to go to a subject-matter outside themselves. Modern painters work in a different way. They work from within.
3. Naturally, the result is the thing (in painting, fh) and it doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.
4. I’ve had a period of drawing on canvas in black – with some of my early images coming thru -, think the non-objectivists will find them disturbing – and the kids who think it simple to splash a ‘Pollock’ out.
5. I don’t work from drawings and colour sketches into a final painting. Painting, I think, today – the more immediate, the more direct – the greater the possibilities of making a direct – of making a statement.
6. Technic is the result of a need new needs demand new technics total control denial of the accident States of order organic intensity energy and motion made visible memories arrested in space, human needs and motives acceptance
7. Abstract painting is abstract. It confronts you. There was a reviewer a while back who wrote that my pictures didn’t have any beginning or any end. He didn’t meant it as a compliment, but it was. It was a fine compliment. Only he didn’t know it.
8. As to what I would like to be. It is difficult to say. An Artist of some kind. If nothing else I shall always study the Arts. People have always frightened and bored me consequently I have been within my own shell and have not accomplished anything materially.
9. Well, painting today certainly seems very vibrant, very alive, very exiting. Five or six of my contemporaries around New York are doing very vital work, and the direction that painting seems to be taken here – is – away from the easel – into some sort, some kind of wall, wall painting…
10. Most of the paint I use is a liquid, flowing kind of paint. The brushes I use are more a sticks rather than brushes – the brush doesn’t touch the surface on the canvas, it’s just above… [so] I am able to be more free and to have greater freedom and move about the canvas, with greater ease.
11. My work with Benton was important as something against which to react very strongly, later on; in this, it was better to have worked with him than with a less resistant personality who would have provided a much less strong opposition. At the same time Benton introduced me to Renaissance art. (on his former teacher Benton)
12. Well, method is, it seems to me, a natural growth out of a need, and from a need the modern artist has found new ways of expressing the world about him. I happen to find ways that are different from the usual techniques, which seems a little strange at the moment, but I don’t think there’s anything very different about it. I paint on the floor and this isn’t unusual – the Orientals did that.
13. The modern artist is living in a mechanical age and we have a mechanical means of representing objects in nature such as the camera and photograph. The modern artist, it seems to me, is working and expressing an inner world – in other words – expressing the energy, the motion and the other inner forces… the modern artist is working with space and time, and expressing his feelings rather than illustrating.
14. Modern art to me is nothing more than the expression of contemporary aims of the age we’re living in… All cultures have had means and techniques of expressing their immediate aims – the Chinese, the Renaissance, all cultures. The thing that interests me is that today painters do not have to go to a subject matter outside of themselves. Most modern painters work from a different source, they work from within.
15. With experience it seems to be possible to control the flow of paint, to a great extent, and I don’t use – I don’t use the accident – ‘cause I deny the accident… it’s quite different from working, say, from a still life where you set up objects and work directly from them. I do have a general notion of what I’m about and what the results will be. I approach painting in the same sense as one approaches drawing, that is, it’s direct.
16. My painting does not come from the easel. I hardly ever stretch my canvas before painting. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. I need the resistance of a hard surface. On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the method of the Indian sand painters of the West.
17. When I am in my painting, I am not aware of what I’m doing. It is only after a short of ‘get acquainted’ period that I see what I have been about. I have no fears about making changes, destroying the image, etc., because the painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through. It is only when I lose contact with the painting that the result is a mess. Otherwise there is pure harmony, an easy give and take, and the painting comes out well.