Abstract Expressionist painter Jackson Pollock was born on January 28,1912 in Cody, Wyoming. Although he is best known for his large-scale “drip” paintings, one of Pollock’s first art teachers was Missouri-born artist Thomas Hart Benton.
Thomas Hart Benton was part of a group of artists referred to as the Regionalists. His interest was in depicting scenes of normal life in the Midwest. Pollock’s early work was strongly influenced by Benton’s.
In the 1940s Jackson Pollock began placing his blank canvases on the floor. He dripped, splattered and poured paint directly from the can to create completely abstracted “action paintings”. This technique allowed Pollock the freedom to move around all 4 sides of the painting.
Jackson Pollock’s home and studio in New York that he shared with his wife, fellow artist Lee Krasner, have been preserved and made into a study center. You can visit and see the paint splattered studio that Pollock worked in. You can also see the artist at work in this video from the San Francisco Museum of Art.
Jackson Pollock struggled with alcoholism throughout his life. On August 11, 1956 he had a car accident while driving drunk that killed both him and a passenger in his car.