Action Jackson Paperback – Apr 17 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Nicknamed "Action Jackson" for his kinetic style, abstract artist Jackson Pollack takes the spotlight in this outstanding picture book biography. Collaborators Greenberg and Jordan (Chuck Close: Up Close) frame their account around a significant period in Pollack's life in 1950, when he created Number 1, 1950 (also called Lavender Mist), one of his most famous paintings. Readers follow Pollack into his barn studio, watch over his shoulder as he lays the canvas on the floor and begins to work all the while learning about his early life and influences ("Like the Native American sand painters he saw as a boy out West, he moves around the canvas coaxing the paint into loops and curves"). Weaving in quotes from Pollack himself and such child-friendly details as the artist's pets (including a tame crow named Caw Caw), the authors craft an imaginative account grounded in solid research and enlivened with lyrical prose ("He swoops and leaps like a dancer, paint trailing from a brush that doesn't touch the canvas"). Parker (To Fly, reviewed below) suggests the artist's graceful motion with the barest of penstrokes; in one spread, Pollock's body curves across both pages as he paints. Whether capturing the intensity of the creative process and the artist's unique choreography or the spare vistas of sea and sky near the artist's Long Island home, Parker's impressionistic pen-and-watercolor illustrations pay homage to the painter's sweep of line and color ("energy and motion made visible," to quote Pollack). An extensive afterword offers notes and sources, as well as photos of Pollack at work and quotes from his friends and colleagues. Ages 6-10.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-6–Ed Harris, the actor who played artist Jackson Pollock in the 2000 film, Pollock, narrates this award-winning book By Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan (Roaring Brook, 2002). Harris's narration is expressive and warm, as listeners are given a peek into the life of a usually private man. This picture book biography focuses on a two-month period when he created Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist). It explores how Jackson worked, what inspired him, and his daily routine. His groundbreaking techniques were influenced by music, nature, and other artists. Though controversial, his splattered abstract paintings were truly unique and innovative for his time. Sound effects and jazzy musical interludes add richness to the story. Page-turn signals are included on track one. Pauses in narration and before the signals encourage the listener to linger over Robert Andrew Parker's colorful and energetic illustrations. The book contains an extended biography, notes, sources, and a bibliography not included in the audio version. An excellent addition to a school and public library collections.–April Mazza, Wayland Public Library, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Early on, modern art broke tradition, broke stereotypes, and set the art world on its heels. Until this time artists tried to capture a realistic experience--people, objects, landscapes--and put them on canvas. The moderns were the first to ignore the boundaries of the canvas. In fact, iconoclasts that they were, they acknowledged the confines of the canvas and its two-dimensional world and started experimenting with new techniques. The Impressionistic painters were the first, then the Post-Impressionistic painters went jumps ahead. Instead of painting broad realistic pictures, they began defying shapes, colors, time.
Jackson Pollock represents one segment of this new modern art, that which is called "action painting," or "spatter painting." This book, "Action Jackson," details Jackson's technique of creating art and making the viewer feel and appreciate his vision and told simply enough for a child to understand.
How did Jackson work? He lay out a huge canvas on the floor of his studio, studied it, then spattered house paint across it--directly from the can, from a stick, a brush. He worked over a series of days to get everything just right.
His vision was to lay out colors and patterns and the intermixing of colors and patterns to create a canvas that spoke of something more cosmic than a bowl of apples. For Jackson the process of painting said as much as the final product. This book beautifully conveys the idea of his vision and his process and his final product. I never dreamed a writer and an illustrator could capture the essence of Pollock's work in one thin children's book, but this most definitely does.
Perhaps the success of this book in capturing Jackson's style and work earned it an Honor Award in the Robert F. Siebert contest, and a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. "Action Jackson" was published in 2002. Jackson Pollock died in a car crash in 1956.
Reviewed by Mensan Katie, age 6