So, you want to make a Pollock piece, do you? Well? Do you… punk?
Anyways, when I started painting in early 2017, Pollock was one of the few reasons I started painting. In fact, if you read my story, you can actually see that despite that people don’t “get” his work, some are the most expensive paintings and sought after work in the world.
I’m obsessed with his work for these few reasons:
- No obvious subject matter – it forces the viewer to take in the whole piece for several seconds. It cannot fully be grasped in a single glimpse or glance.
- No where for the eye to rest – A piece like Pollock’s commands the eye to be run over many, many lines, splashes and spots. It basically pulls you along for a looping, never-ending ride.
- No matter how many times you view it – you can notice something new.
- Depending on the colors and size, it can pull a room together or contain focus all of its own.
While his work might have been (and still is) highly criticized by many for its technique, really, I think that it’s the technique itself that really makes it what it is. The technique is really what sells it.
And while 70 years ago, Pollock made waves with his drip and splash techniques, many have had the desire to replicate his work.
And now, so can you.
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE A JACKSON POLLOCK STYLE PIECE
TYPE OF PAINT
First off, let’s talk about the most important piece: The paint.
Pollock used an alkyd oil-based gloss enamel. This is a very shiny, very thick paint that was used for extreme weather and wear applications like vehicles, bridges, and farm equipment.
Using this type of paint allows you to cover a large area very easily – easier than say normal (artist grade) oil paint – and creates a very vibrant image.
But, while oil-based paints were the norm 70+ years ago, since then latex based paint (and acrylics) have surfaced and even surpassed the availability of many oil-based paints.
Why? Latex is easier to work with and cheaper to produce.
Because of this, you basically have two choices:
- Seek out oil-based gloss enamel from paint dealers
- Use latex based gloss enamel
But what to do?
Here are some differences between latex and oil based than may help you decide:
- Easier to dilute – just use water
- Generally cheaper and more widely available
- Sets and dries faster, usually within 24 hours (in my experience)
- Not as toxic for your lungs or the environment
- More vibrant colors
- More time to manipulate (dries much slower)
- More manipulation options available (more ways to change the paint for desired effects using chemicals)
So what’s the winner here?
For me, it comes down to what’s readily available, and the look you’re trying achieve.
One of my favorite current modern artists, Swarez, uses ONLY oil-based gloss enamels that he special orders and manipulates heavily with chemicals. Based out of the UK, and he does some amazing work, but he’s even said that he really dislikes water based gloss enamel.
Me on the other hand, being in the Arizona (US) I actually don’t have a lot of oil-based gloss enamel options around me, so I use water-based paint myself.
This limits me on some of the things that I can do with it, but if you’re simply looking to match the similar style of Pollock, it should suffice.
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