In February of 1956—exactly 20 years after the Experimental Workshop—Time magazine nicknamed Pollock “Jack the Dripper.” But while the artist may be most famous for flinging pigments across canvases, he was hardly the first to do so. Japanese Zen Buddhist painters, for example, experimented with splashed ink as far back as the 15th century, long before Pollock created his first action painting in the mid-1940s.
Pollock’s splatter and drip technique, with its explosive results, captured the curiosity of the American public, especially after the photographer and filmmaker
published footage of the artist at work in his Long Island studio. Placing canvases on the floor, Pollock would incorporate metal rods, kitchen tools, towels, and sticks into his painting process, though these tools rarely touched the canvas directly. “It doesn’t make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said,” the artist once explained. “Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.”