Dripped: An Animated Tribute to Jackson Pollock’s Signature Painting Technique

To make an excit­ing movie, do you real­ly need much more than an art thief and his capers? With Dripped, ani­ma­tor Léo Ver­ri­er sees that can’t-miss premise and rais­es it in an explo­ration of art his­to­ry. In its 1940s New York City set­ting, paint­ing-swip­ing pro­tag­o­nist Jack lives not just to make world-renowned can­vass­es his own, but a part of him. When he gets these works of art back to his apart­ment, he does­n’t even con­sid­er sell­ing them; instead, he chews and swal­lows them, thus enabling him to assume in body the forms and col­ors famous­ly expressed in paint on their sur­faces. We are what we eat, and Jack eats art, but even becom­ing the art of oth­ers ulti­mate­ly leaves him unsat­is­fied. Deter­mined to paint and eat a can­vas of his own, he finds his stom­ach can’t han­dle his work in progress. Thrown into a bout of frus­tra­tion, an angered Jack toss­es one of his paint­ings to the ground, ran­dom­ly splat­ter­ing it with every col­or at hand. And thus he dis­cov­ers, in this ani­mat­ed fan­ta­sy, the tech­nique that Jack­son Pol­lock would pio­neer in real­i­ty.

To see the real artist — one not known for his eat­ing, though his drink­ing did gain a rep­u­ta­tion of its own — in action have a look at Hans Namuth’s 1951 footage of Pol­lock paint­ing with his sig­na­ture “drip” method above. To learn more about the how and the why of it, see also the 1987 doc­u­men­tary Por­trait of an Artist: Jack­son Pol­lock, which we fea­tured in 2012; and below, see the Muse­um of Mod­ern Art’s short exam­i­na­tion and re-cre­ation of Pol­lock­’s “action paint­ing” tech­nique. Chance may have led him to dis­cov­er this prac­tice, but it hard­ly means he gave up con­trol. Film­mak­er Stan Brakhage liked to tell the fol­low­ing illus­tra­tive sto­ry, which came out of hang­ing out with var­i­ous artists and com­posers in Pol­lock­’s stu­dio in the late 40s:

They were, like, com­ment­ing, and they used the words “chance oper­a­tions” — which was no both­er to me because I was hear­ing it reg­u­lar­ly from John Cage — and the pow­er and the won­der of it and so forth. This real­ly angered Pol­lock very deeply and he said, “Don’t give me any of your ‘chance oper­a­tions.’ ” He said, “You see that door­knob?” and there was a door­knob about fifty feet from where he was sit­ting that was, in fact, the door that every­one was going to have to exit. Drunk as he was, he just with one swirl of his brush picked up a glob of paint, hurled it, and hit that door­knob smack-on with very lit­tle paint over the edges. And then he said, “And that’s the way out.”

via Jux­tapoz

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Watch Por­trait of an Artist: Jack­son Pol­lock, the 1987 Doc­u­men­tary Nar­rat­ed by Melvyn Bragg

Jack­son Pol­lock 51: Short Film Cap­tures the Painter Cre­at­ing Abstract Expres­sion­ist Art

MoMA Puts Pol­lock, Rothko & de Koon­ing on Your iPad

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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