Jackson Pollack in his Springs, NY studio- 1949.

 

I have chosen to write about Jackson Pollock, an abstract expressionist artist. I chose Pollock because I was exposed to him and his work during my high school education. My teacher at the time was discussing changes in art and influential American artists. I was then interested in abstract expression and recently was reintroduced to his life story. Over the holiday I watched Pollock, an award-winning film portraying Pollock's life of art, addiction, love, and affair. I also found interest in Pollock because of his dual mental illness diagnosis. Pollock, the youngest of six children was born in Wyoming; however he grew up in Arizona, and California. At the age of eighteen, Pollock moved to New York City with his brother. Pollock studied under the instruction of Thomas Benton, whose teachings influenced Pollock's expression through liquid paint and canvas. Pollock expressed himself in ways that were new to American art enthusiasts. By using household paint, sticks, stiff bristles, syringes, and liquid paint, Pollock illustrated art to be active and abstract. A piece of work, titled Full Fathom Five, included nails, coins, tacks, and even cigarettes. Maybe these materialistic pieces fell out of Pollock's pockets while he pranced around the canvas, or maybe it was the intention of a brilliant artist. Pollock's most popular pieces of work were created on canvas, which were created by Pollock moving around them as they sprawled across the ground. Pollock was so active that he floated around the canvas like a conductor orchestrating a symphony. Pollock's paintings may look like blotches of paint to some, or they can depict the life of a marvelous artist to others. Personally, I believe the vastness of expression to be Pollock's best mystery. To understand such abstract paintings is mind boggling. At a quick glance, Pollock's paintings look like layers of spilled paint, as if they were created when Pollock was drunkenly stumbling around his canvas. While a deep glimpse into the same Pollock work reveals layers of tangled colors representing lust and sadness. Through art, Pollock met his wife Lee Krasner, also a popular artist. Together, Pollock and Krasner opened a studio in New York, which is still active today. While married to Krasner, Pollock had other women influencing his life. Pollock had a girlfriend while married to Krasner. However, Pollock was unable to withhold relationships with his lovers and even family. It also seems as if Krasner was only in love with Pollock because of his art, and not for his dual diagnosis of bipolar disease and alcoholism. These two mental illnesses controlled Pollock's life to the extent that they took his life. Alcohol was substantial influence in Pollock's life. Pollock's entire life was influenced by alcohol and the abuse of this substance. Because of his illnesses, Pollock was also socially awkward and had trouble with friendships. Public pressure on his art work has been credited to be a contributing factor of Pollock's abuse. New paintings were always a demand from Pollock. Pollock's wife expressed her desire for Pollock to do nothing but paint, as expressed in the film Pollock. Alcohol was also an escape from his bipolar actions. Pollock was killed in an alcohol-related car accident at the age of forty-four in the year 1956. Also in the accident was his girlfriend, Ruth Kligman, and friend, Edith Metzger. Pollock rests in Green River Cemetery on the shore of Long Island, New York and is closely located to his wife Krasner.
Although Pollock died fifty-three years ago, his art still lives through The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, INC., and the Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center. The objective of The Pollock-Krasner Foundation is to provide aid for active artists for their professional and personal needs. The foundation has aided artists in seventy-one countries and has granted over forty-six million dollars. A large part in the foundation is thanks to Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner. Krasner left in her will her fortunes to future artists through The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, INC. The Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center is run by an affiliate of Stony Brook University, New York. The house and center is open to the public where art lovers can be a part of art history through Pollock's studio. Although Pollock has passed away, his art continues to live and inspire fellow artists. Pollock is also an inspiration to individuals with mental illnesses because Pollock was a leader of society and a creator of a different art. It is a shame that such a talented artist died so young and could not further his masteries of abstract art.

 

'Jackson Pollock' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_Pollock
'Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center' http://naples.cc.sunysb.edu/CAS/pkhouse.nsf
'The Pollock-Krasner Foundation' http://www.pkf.org/