Pollock's Shovel

“It doesn’t make much difference how paint is put on, as long as something has been said. Technique is just a  means of arriving at a statement.” 

- Jackson Pollock


The “statements” Pollock made through his work elevated him to a plane few artists ever achieve. He became an instrumental figure in the world of Abstract Expressionism through his paintings, many of which were done in an old barn.


Having grown up in Iowa, I have a fondness for old barns, and I’ve wondered if Pollock’s barn was like all of the old barns I have been in. If it was, there were surely some tools leaning against walls and lying on workbenches. With that thought in mind, I considered what Pollock would do while painting if he knocked over a shovel and it landed on his canvas. Would he be enraged, or would he just go with on and keep painting, allowing the incident to play a role in the work he was creating?


"Pollock’s Shovel" answers the question of what that painting would have looked like if he left the shovel in place and kept dripping paint. It also allowed the opportunity to apply two drastically different techniques Abstract Expressionism and Photo Realism, on the same canvas to create a piece which makes its own statement.

Pollock’s Shovel detail

Pollock’s Shovel


Acrylic on canvas

48” x 60” (122.9cm x 152.4cm)



Johnston, IA, USA

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© 2020 Keith A. Nelson