Jackson Pollack was born in Cody, Wyoming on January 28, 1912. He was the youngest of five children. Raised in Arizona and in California, Pollack was expelled from two different high schools. In 1930 he moved to New York to study under Thomas Hart Benton at the Art Students League of New York. The rhythmic use of paint and fierce independence that he learned there were lasting influences on Pollack's work.
In 1936 Jackson was introduced to liquid paint by Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros. Later he began to lay his canvases on the floor and developed the "drip" technique. There he used the synthetic resin - based paints called alkyd enamels. He said it was " a natural growth out of a need. " His applicators for this process were harden brushes, sticks, and basting syringes.
From 1938-1942 James Pollack worked for the WPA Federal Art Project. There he was one of hundreds of artists to contribute to over one hundred thousand paintings and murals, along with eighteen thousand sculptures. This project was a part of Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal during the Great Depression. Included in one of the WPA's first art gallery's exhibition were rare water colors by Jackson Pollack.
Among Jackson Pollack's influences were his wife Lee Krasner, the Ukrainian American artist Janet Sobel and Jungian therapy concepts. Pollack used his whole body to paint in what many have called "action painting".
In 1949 Life magazine did a four page spread that asked "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?"
1951 Pollack abandonded the drip style and his paintings turned dark in color favoring the color black on unprimed canvases and he moved into a more commercial gallery. Demand for his work was at an all time high. In response to this pressure along with his personal frustrations his alcoholism deepened.
His last two paintings called "Sent" and "Search" were done in 1955. Following this in 1956 Time magazine deemed him Jack the Dripper as a result of his unique painting style.
On August 11, 1956 Jacskon Pollock passed away from a car crash where he was driving under the influence of alcohol. His wife of almost eleven years and biggest influence of his career Lee Krasner managed his estate and ensured the Jackson's reputation remained strong despite the chang in art world trends.
By defying the convention of painting on an upright surface, Pollack added a new dimension by being able to view and apply paint to his canvases from all directions.