Teens learn about Jackson Pollock


In Charlene Collins Freeman’s teen art class, students looked at paintings by Jackson Pollock. Pollock (1912 – 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the abstract expressionist movement.

He is mostly known for his technique of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface (called ‘action painting’ since he used the action his whole body to paint, often in a dancing style). This extreme form of abstraction divided the critics: some praised the immediacy and fluency of his artwork, while others ridiculed his work.

I showed the teens some of his paintings and we discussed the techniques, the artistic impact, and whether we agreed with the criticisms he received.

Our project was to paint a table in his style. First I asked the teens to come up with the steps involved in putting together a group project like this. They quickly got organized, breaking down our Pollock project into these steps:

Covering the floor to protect it and wearing aprons to protect our own clothes.

Taping the parts of the table that we did not want to paint.

Deciding on a palette.

Mixing the colors chosen.

Painting the table with various drip and spash techniques.

Goals included:

Painting only by dropping paint on the table. Brushes and sticks were not to touch the table at all. Essentially painting in the air and letting it drop onto the table.

Painting evenly so that in the end, there is no one area that commands the viewer’s attention than any other area.

Paint randomly so that every square inch is different than any other square inch.

Setting up a system of painting so that all artists could be involved from start to finish.

They did a super job and we all had such a great time in the process. Here are some photos from the evening. Great job! And now Cloud 9 Art School has one more piece of art in its collection!

Charlene Freeman