Jackson Pollock: Think Your 5-year-old Could Do It?

Contemporary art can be so misunderstood.


Its seemingly haphazard creation incites plenty of "my 5-year-old kid could do that" consternation among its viewers. Many wonder how a few blocks of color, paint drippings, or random brushstrokes came to be considered fine art? Where is the talent, the intention?


Some will never be convinced. But few can argue with the impact these artists, and their works, left on the art world -- and the culture at large. Jackson Pollock is one of the most well-known, revered, and critiqued modern artists of our time. So today, on Pollock's 101st birthday, we're paying homage to his iconic paint-drip canvasses and bold, unabashed style. If you're already a fan, you could pick up a framed print of one his masterpieces -- we sell both 'Convergence' and 'Number 14: Gray' -- at an attainable price. If you still need some convincing, keep reading. Maybe we can make you a believer.


Biography Convergence Number 14: Gray 


As the leader of the abstract expressionist movement, Pollock was a social recluse with a volatile personality and a big vision; his work paralleled that of beat generation authors like Jack Kerouac (On the Road) and poet Allen Ginsberg (Howl) who railed against capitalism and conformity. His paint-drip masterpieces were inspired by Indian sand-painting, Mexican murals, and surrealism. Though they appear to be a creation of random application, Pollock insisted there was intention in every drop. His technique combined the movement of his body, the viscous flow of paint, the force of gravity, and the paint's absorption on the canvas -- a mixture of controllable and uncontrollable factors. Pollock created each piece by moving energetically around the canvas, flinging, dripping, and pouring paint until his vision was complete. If you're still unconvinced, you can read more about his life and work in this biography -- or check out the popular movie of his life directed by and starring his doppelganger, Ed Harris.


I love the simplicity and open interpretation of modern art, like Pollock's. As an art history major, I learned how these artists' work with intention; each piece is carefully designed and meant to encourage an emotional response in its viewer through careful compositions of color, line, shape -- or lack thereof. The final piece is what it means to you -- and for me, that's better than a duplication of reality.


What is your favorite art genre? Do you buy into the random or abstract nature of modern art like Pollock's?



Posted by Jen Gustavson

Jennifer Gustavson



Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:50 AM

I'm fond of van gogh, myself.

Jan. 29, 2013 at 11:58 AM

I never quite appreciated Pollock until I saw one of his paintings in real life in a museum in Paris. I can still say to this day that it is one of the pieces of art that has most affected me.

Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:09 PM

I love that Pollock's work looks like a mess at first glance, then becomes just sublime the more time you spend with it. I don't know if I could hang it in my house though....

Submit Comment