Rod Jones Artist vs Jackson Pollock

Overtly I wasn’t influenced by any one style…and the same can be said about Jackson Pollock.

Pollock’s work evolved into a style that was light years away from his early work. Especially when you consider the influence Thomas Hart Benton had on Jackson when he attended the  Art Student League of New York. After the usual trials, tribulations and angst all artist go through in trying to discover a style of their own Jackson in the early 1940′s developed his Compositions with Pouring. Thanks to an article published in Life Magazine, August 1949 his style all of a sudden became known as “Drip Painting”. A term that he never really embraced and his wife Lee especially abhorred. In an interview she was asked once if it’s not drip painting, then what would you call it? She fumbled around and could never really give a name to that painting style.

The 1950′s were some of the most productive years for Pollock. Many of his most famous Compositions with Pouring evolved at that time. The Tate Modern in the UK has one of my favorites Summertime and probably everyone’s all time favorite is Lavender Mist which currently resides at the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

Jackson Pollock - Summertime - Tate Modern

Jackson Pollock - Summertime - Tate Modern - This painting gives off tremendous energy

Jackson Pollock - Lavender Mist

Jackson Pollock - Lavender Mist- You have to experience it in person

I’ve studied the works of many abstract painters and I chose Pollock to compare myself to over Albers, Hoffman, Clyfford Still, Willem DeKooning and others because Pollock hit the proverbial wall. What do I mean by this?  The tighter your style the less latitude you have for future development and evolution. Once Pollock started the dripping it was a blessing that ultimately led to his personal locked cell. No one can argue that his style made him famous and there were millions of artists trying to copy him world wide. I read that you couldn’t pass a corner in Manhattan without some artist trying to sell you their knock-off version of a Pollock. Fortunately the forgers of his style never could pump the emotion and spiritual awareness that Pollock brought to these amazing & original works of art.

Milton Resnick a member of the 10th Street Artist Group understood the dilemma of boxing yourself in creatively. He observed Pollock and many other artists, at the time, who developed a style and then the style became unpopular and their careers were pretty much over. Some recovered emotionally but many didn’t. Being known solely for one particular narrow style that isn’t flexible enough to adapt to all of the influences artists experience throughout their careers is a death knell. This is true for all the arts. You must reinvent your style but you must retain a resonating theme.

(Be sure and watch part 1 & 2 available on

The question becomes…what do you do? There are numerous examples of artists who have made radical changes in their styles and never recovered the recognition that they once had. Gallery owners select artists based on their style and if they dare make a change their popularity quickly wanes. If you develop a unique style it’s critical that you as an artist make it as prolific as possible. You don’t want to be boxed in…but you do want to have a style that is easily recognized. Every painting should have somewhat of a common theme that can stand on its own and still be identified with the artist, while separating you from everyone else.

One of my earliest abstract paintings Hiway - Acrylic on canvas board Rod Jones Artist

One of my earliest abstract paintings Hiway - Acrylic on canvas board Rod Jones Artist

Fortunately for me I developed my style rather quickly…for better or worse. My style which we’ve named Receptive Abstract Patternism (RAP) has a beginning but it has no end. I have only scratched the surface of this style. It’s flexible, dynamic, welcomes the creative use of artistic tools, has no color boundary, the only restrictive element is my imagination. Although I very much admire Pollock the artist (not so much the person), he boxed himself in. He even tried to reinvent himself by moving back to an earlier style but that never really jelled for him. The surviving girlfriend in the car accident commented that Jackson went out at the right time. It would have been painful to watch his talent fade. I suppose he could have come up with a new incredible innovative style, but I guess one will never know. It would have been interesting to see how he would have faired on the Internet and Web 2.0.

Another very early painting- Pandemonium- 48x48-Acrylic on Canvas- favorite painting of my younger sister- Rod Jones Artist

Another very early painting- Pandemonium- 48x48-Acrylic on Canvas- favorite painting of my younger sister- Rod Jones Artist

I spent a good part of my life making money with a camera. Not weddings & portraits, but advertising and fashion. You learn a lot about the creative process in that intense environment, especially when you succeed. I keep looking for the influences from that career and how that knowledge was transported into my style of art. The only correlation I can find and it’s loose at best, is composition. As far as color goes, I preferred black & white photography over color. My color sense probably comes from having a father who made and sold paint. There’s nothing like playing with color paint chip samples when you’re a kid. Something just gets imprinted. In fact..the use of geometric shapes probably is an extension of the paint chip. But like colors and shapes there always is a beginning and with luck, there may be no end in site. I know as my work develops there will be an ebb and flow from complicated to simplistic. But the nature of my somewhat thematic style will always be there. A dear friend once told me that I can recognize your work, but yet no two are alike. Leave it to a good friend to give you a comment that I will cherish and hopefully nurture.

Jazz Elation - 30x40- oil on canvas- Rod Jones Artist -This depth and gives off some pretty amazing energy in person

Jazz Elation - 30x40- oil on canvas- Rod Jones Artist -This depth and gives off some pretty amazing energy in person

Loosely Contained Thoughts- 60x48-oil on Canvas-Rod Jones Artist - Simplicity with my signature style

Loosely Contained Thoughts- 60x48-oil on Canvas-Rod Jones Artist - Simplicity with my signature style

Rosa Mystica- Oil on Canvas- 24x36-Rod Jones Artist-Layered Old Holland Paint manipulated with tools

Rosa Mystica- Oil on Canvas- 24x36-Rod Jones Artist-Layered Old Holland Paint manipulated with tools

Evolving…there are many new pieces that haven’t hit my website yet. Some are simple and some are painfully complicated, with literally hundreds of brush strokes. They each adhere to Receptive Abstract Patternism. I guess for now I am luckily stuck in the exploration and development of this style. The good news for me is it’s open ended.

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About Rod Jones

Rod Jones is a Contemporary Abstract Artist in Lake Arrowhead, California. From camera to brush. To learn more, go to:
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15 Responses to Rod Jones Artist vs Jackson Pollock

  1. artbynemo says:

    Speaking as one of these artists who have drawn myself into a box like pollock did, I feel it’s one of the best things I ever did. I talk about pollock all the time when talking about artist’s voice and how for the rest of art history any time some one drips paint they well say your copying pollock, sure he wasn’t the 1st but he was the most know. I could only hope to leave such a legacy when im gone. Great post and great art.

  2. Rod Jones says:

    Our dear friend Jackson left 2 legacies. For you I wish adulation for your brilliant artistic abilities & your humanity. Most people that knew Pollock always said great artist, but a true (expletive). Thanks for your comment Rod

  3. Rod – it is so nice to meet you through your artwork. I am continually amazed by the volume of talented visual artists I’ve met through blogging!

    I love your pieces and can certainly see your “paint chip inspiration” — especially in Pandemonium. Your use of color and shape is eye catching!

    Welcome to our new blogging group, Rod!

    Heidi (& Atticus)
    “commentary to give you paws… “

  4. Rod Jones says:

    Dear Heidi ~ Thank you for your kind words. It’s wonderful to meet you also. Looking forward to learning more about you through your blogs.

  5. Hi Rod,

    I have studied the Pollock phenomenon and he was definitely a pioneer in modern art. People like him enabled us today to be free, we can express ourselves in any way we can imagine.
    Over the years, I can see how I, as an artist, have developed and evolved and I found a style that is 100% me. For now. It is important to find your own unique style that makes you recognizable as yourself, but gives you enough room to develop. Just like I change and grow, my art will follow my personality and philosophy.

    Thanks for the art history retrospect and insight into your artwork,

    Franziska San Pedro
    The Abstract Impressionist Artress

  6. Rod,
    Your blog is wonderfully enlivening to me. The colors and shapes really speak to me–as a child I was so drawn to work like this (I was a frequent visitor to MOMA), and I find looking at the work sparks a connection in me that extends a long time back. Your topic–of being “in a box” artistically–gives me pause, as it is something I’ve thought about only indirectly (finding it a bit scary). But an artist has to create and produce considerably to even get in a box, so perhaps it’s a step that speaks to depth. Then, as you say, reinventing and creating off of that is required.

    Really enjoyed this, and looking forward to more.

    Judy Stone-Goldman
    The Reflective Writer
    “My cat owns me, my clutter stymies me, my writing frees me. Word maven loves—and learns from—ordinary life.”

  7. Fiona Stolze says:

    Hi Rod,

    Lovely to meet you through your blog. By the way, I wanted to say straight away that I love ‘Rosa Mystica’. I think it really stands out and makes me want to put my hands in it.

    You know, I never did any formal training and have been painting mandalas on silk for 11 years now. I have my own style but never really looked for it. It just sort of happened. As I proceeded on my spiritual journey, they just poured out. I have absolutely no idea how this will go on. I only paint when I feel moved to and have never approached galleries or the like.

    I really enjoyed reading this post and am looking forward to seeing more of your work as time goes by. Great to have you in the group Rod.

    Fiona Stolze
    Inspired Art and Living

  8. Rod Jones says:

    Judy, As one would expect from a wordsmith like you, your comments are very special and I love the fact that it triggered such warm memories. The great art that resides at MOMA impacts millions of people in so many ways. A single image mixed in with hundreds can trigger emotions & thoughts that can be life changing. It’s always fun for me when someone says “OH I remember that museum” and they quickly follow up with “My favorite painting was….. and it made me….. happy, scared, vulnerable, sorry, elated”…well you get the picture.
    Your comment about being in and out of the box is pretty much the human condition. Somedays your in it, on it, outside of it…and if you are lucky you have surrounded it. It’s just all part of maturation but fortunately it triggers thinking and makes the venture of life all the more worthwhile. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight. I really enjoyed your comments.

  9. Rod Jones says:

    Well Fiona, whatever your inspirations…don’t change a thing! You’re Mandala art is exquisite! It’s very motivational and driven from your spirit. It will always evolve as you grow and one can see that special light of positiveness and wholesomeness you are projecting. Like me, your one of the fortunate ones, you have no classical training in art and you are in good company. Commercially speaking, there are thousands and thousands of people that would love your art. But if you don’t want to part with it, I would suggest the world of textiles. They’re always looking for beautiful art and I think your work could be a real hit! The other thing, for what it’s worth…is your art elevates the spirit for all those that take the time to really immerse.
    I’m very much looking forward to reading your blogs and looking at more of your work. Oh yes…thank you so much for your kind words regarding Rosa Mystica. It does create a nice feeling when you approach it. Thanks again Rod

  10. I am loving the fact that I am attracting so many artists into my life right now and two blogs that speak to the personal development of an artists style. I’m not an artist but I love to learn about and enjoy art so I found your blog very interesting. I too love Rosa Mystica, very beautiful.
    Louise Edington
    Fearless For Freedom

  11. Laine D says:

    Hi Rod,

    Fascinating! I hadn’t thought of people getting stuck or pidgeonholed in a style but I can see how if people expect paintdrops giving them anything else might be considered inappropriate.

    I’ll have to admit I’ve never quite ‘got’ completely ‘abstract’ work connecting far more with realistic or impressionistic art, maybe it is because I have a literal mind?

    Even doing Art in high school I couldn’t express myself without solid form and representation. I can still relate to some pieces, maybe its the emotions of Pollack, the movement of Hockney’s swimming pools, loved the interview with Resnick (quite a character), made me think of cave or manuscript art. Maybe the latter two are safer for me being more representative or would it be less abstract (?) allowing me to bridge the fear of getting it wrong… oooo art becomes analysis!

    Your ‘Rosa Mystica’ had a definite effect, something about the fluid nature and tonal quality – made me think of depth. The vibrant colors made me think of Fiona so its funny that she connected with that one too.

    Thanks for the mind broadening, I look forward to continuing the journey with you so I understand more.

    Laine D.

  12. Rod Jones says:

    Louise, We are all artists…some with words some with kindness some are great teachers…and the best artists of all are the ones who truly care for others. I’m enjoying exploring your blog and I decided to dust off that bottle of HP sauce we have in the fridge and my wife will have it prominently placed next to our morning eggs & toast. Your mom’s day breakfast looked tasty! You’ve got a great family!!

  13. Rod Jones says:

    Oooo…I like analysis, and abstract art is certainly not for everyone but that reality is usually a result of no one ever taking the time to explain what to look for. But like everything else we all have ways of looking at everything we’re exposed to. I never judge anyone else’s art, I only know what gives me a sense of gratification. Fortunately I’ve been able to visit most of the major and not so major museums around the world and I had the opportunity to sit in front of famous paintings for as long as I wanted to. This gave me a real education. The thing I noticed was that abstract paintings left an impression that I just couldn’t duplicated while sitting in front of the Nightwatch by Rembrandt. God knows I have a phenomenal respect for his phenomenal talent, and the sheer size of that painting is imposing in spite of the fact that somewhere along the line the painting got cropped so it would fit on the wall. In representational art what you see is what you get. In an abstract painting they changes constantly and really can psyche your mood. I’m so glad you took the time to comment and I’m glad you enjoyed Rosa Mystica. Very much looking forward to commenting on your blogs.

  14. Swarez says:

    Fantastic view Rod. For someone who got into art through seeing Pollock I can readily understand the need fr influence but not for typecasting. I think that the desire to want to push ourselves into new areas is fundamental to pushing our creativity forward.

    Some of the pieces you have included are stunning – your use of colour as a form of it’s own shapes and molds the painting even before the figuration kicks in; fascinating and very inspirational if I may say. Like many other comments – I think Rosa Mystica is breathtaking.

    Anyway, keep up the great work and thanks for a very engaging post.

    Modern Art by Swarez

  15. Rod Jones says:

    One thing I can say for sure…you certainly were influenced by Pollock…and I suspect like Pollock’s work when your in it’s presence it gives off a wonderful energy! I also suspect you’re not like Pollock on the personal front. Your work is very dynamic and could fill any room or office with tremendous joy. It makes me happy just to look at it on my laptop. Thanks for commenting your insight into the world of abstract art is much appreciated. Without color there is no life.

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