Smoking Guns

We all know Jackson Pollock, right? The abstract painter from the 1940’s and 50’s that turned the art world upside down with his paint dripping technique?

You do?

Oh.

Well I didn’t, so I’ve recently become an internet-certified Pollock expert of sorts the last few days (impressive, I know). His methods of drip painting were unconventional for the time (one pictured below), but ultimately won over the critics; Life magazine even featured him on the cover in 1949 asking “Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?”

Pollock2
Shimmering Substance by Jackson Pollock 1946

Surprisingly this was even after he created “Full Fathom Five” (pictured below), a work comprised of his unique drip style, as well as some coins, a key and cigarette butts.

That’s right. Cigarette butts.

If the coins and key didn’t catch your attention, I’m sure the idea of cigarette butts did. If you’re anything like me you’re probably concerned that he might not have been telling apart the dustpan from the paint can. But indeed it was on purpose that this seemingly chaotic mixture was created. Pollock used these various materials in with the paint he piled, dripped and splattered on the canvas for this work.

 

And I’ll even admit it does have a certain kind of beauty, though I might not completely understand his motivations (that still requires further research). Pollock has certainly influenced artists around him and those that came after him, regardless of my own naivety about his technique. His style specifically reminded me of a young artist that uses a similar approach to paint-the-object-on-the-canvas technique: Charles Gitnick.

Gitnick is currently a 13 year old artist who uses replica guns and acrylic paints on canvas. He attempts to portray his stance against gun violence through these creations, and even credits Pollock in influencing his style.

You can easily see from these examples above how the drip technique initiated by Pollock in the 1940’s is present in Gitnick’s work today.

Personally, I think Gitnick has taken Pollock’s style and organized it in a way. Less dustpan and more intentionally placed objects. This is a reflection of my own style, though, I don’t usually make very busy and action packed artwork, so I might just be a little biased.

I hope this has shed some light on an interesting connection of new and past artists and their artwork. I will leave you with a thought-provoking quote from the late Pollock, which will either help you understand his art or confuse you more.

“I can control the flow of the paint; there is no accident…”

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