Jackson Pollock, or Jack the Dripper

Jackson Pollock

Reading Comprehension for January 28

If you look at one of Jackson Pollock's splattered canvases, your first thought might be, "I could do that!" But it's harder than it looks! Pollock was a revolutionary who woke up the art world with his huge, splattered canvases.

Jackson Pollock painted with unusual tools. He once explained, "I continue to get further away from the usual painter's tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives, and dripping, fluid paint, or a heavy impasto with sand, broken glass, or other foreign matter added." In fact, he liked dripping paint so much that he was nicknamed Jack the Dripper! Freedom of expression was his goal, and he was one of the first abstract expressionist artists.

Jackson had a certain amount of freedom while he was growing up. He was born on January 28, 1912, in Cody, Wyoming. It was said that he had a difficult childhood. He had four brothers, and when his older brother, Charles, began taking art lessons, so did Jackson. When Charles moved to New York, Jackson followed him.

Pollock studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League. Benton loved to paint large Midwestern scenes, but Pollock did not. He also didn't think people were too exciting. He wrote a revealing letter when he was just 18: "I shall be an artist of some kind...people have always bored me!" Jackson was full of fervor for art, but he didn't seem to show much talent at first.

Fortunately, Jackson's art improved, but he suffered from alcoholism and perhaps bipolar disorder and underwent psychiatric treatment. He battled with alcoholism for the rest of his life, but he never gave up on his art. It took him a while to figure out his style, however. He was inspired by the modern artist, Picasso. Pollock traveled extensively around the United States and was also intrigued by the murals of Jose Orozco and David Siqueros.

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