(Picture courtesy of wallyg at flickr.com.)
Known for his ‘drip’ method of painting, Jackson Pollock was an individualistic painter who took influences from artists breaking with convention to develop a uniquely recognizable technique. He was shown in action a few times, rhythmically splattering paint onto large canvases.
Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s, such as Male and Femaleand Composition with Pouring I. After his move to Springs, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor, and he developed what was later called his “drip” technique.
He started using synthetic resin-based paints called alkyd enamels, which, at that time, was a novel medium. Pollock described this use of household paints, instead of artist’s paints, as “a natural growth out of a need”. He used hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes as paint applicators. Pollock’s technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term action painting. With this technique, Pollock was able to achieve a more immediate means of creating art, the paint now literally flowing from his chosen tool onto the canvas. By defying the convention of painting on an upright surface, he added a new dimension by being able to view and apply paint to his canvases from all directions.
Pollock’s work has been the subject of important critical debates. The critic Robert Coates once derided a number of Pollock’s works as “mere unorganized explosions of random energy, and therefore meaningless.” 
In a famous 1952 article in ARTnews, Harold Rosenberg coined the term “action painting,” and wrote that “what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event. The big moment came when it was decided to paint ‘just to paint.’ The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value—political, aesthetic, moral.” Many people assumed that he had modeled his “action painter” paradigm on Pollock.
Controversial as his work was in his lifetime, Pollock established his permanent place in our pantheon of art.
(Picture courtesy of RMH40 at flickr.com.)