Insta vs. I.R.L.: Jackson Pollock's "Sea Change" 1947

Thanks to Instagram anyone is able to see an artistic masterpiece and continue swiping without paying a $25 admission fee. I have been a fan of Jackson Pollock for a while since his art pieces allow a viewer to interpret it any way they would like. I was shocked to find my favorite painting ‘Sea Change’ was on display at the S.A.M. and thankfully my friend took a picture capturing my excitement. 

Later in the week, I went to a party where an attendant asked me what I felt when I saw 'Sea Change' for the first time. My honest response felt stagnant, I took pictures then walked away. I felt a strong desire to document the fact that I saw the piece instead of experiencing it in person. Seeing the image so much online the painting did not feel new, it felt familiar like an old memory. I took a picture with it as if I was at a family reunion and met an aunt that brushed my hair, I know basic information about her and am not eager to learn more. I looked at the piece but did not allow myself to become engulfed by it. Since that encounter, I have been wondering if I am numb to the image since I have seen it so much online or should I have researched the image further and gone alone to see it?

Instagram is amazing as I can see new art pieces and different creation methods that easily motivate me to produce my own. Thanks to this social media network a free member can save an image and scroll for hours looking for different art pieces under multiple tags. Try it! One can search #jacksonpollock, #jacksonpollockinspired, #jacksonpollockinspired, #jacksonpollockart, #jacksonpollockpainting or #jacksonpollockwannabe. Any of these hashtags and one will have the American painter at their fingertips. Unlike other artists on the network we cannot see a video of Pollock creating a piece which would definitely inspire viewers to paint.

Jumping to real life one can see the brush strokes, finger prints, even bits of rocks in ‘Sea Change’. Actually seeing the small details that come together to generate such staggering piece is inspiring. The fact that another human created this masterpiece in 1947 hopefully motivates others to produce art. Pollock used action painting which is a subsidiary of abstract expressionism, the “abstract art form that aims at subjective emotional expression with particular emphasis on the creative spontaneous act” as defined by Google. Like any art piece staring at it in person one could feel enveloped and according to this art form receive an emotional response to the painting. Like me one could feel a personal connection to the splatters of paint; the use of black reminded me of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Through Instagram more individuals could see the painting, receiving likes could increase Pollock’s awareness amongst Generation Z, and using a hashtag another artist could relate themselves to Pollock. By visiting a museum one could see the texture of the painting bringing awareness to the 3-D form and viewers may generate an emotional connection to the piece. Having done both, looked at Insta and I.R.L., I believe that both viewing styles present a different artistic outcome. On Insta I can see the thin rings of paint and be inspired to create a similar piece myself. I.R.L. the colors seem brighter, the paint feels real, and I became overwhelmed with emotions even though I did not look at it for long. Personally, I.R.L. generates a more elevated emotional and cultural essence. However, with Insta I can see the painting and similar paintings anytime I want. In my opinion Insta is great for seeing the multitude of art in the world. And if one gets the chance, go see it in person. Since I did not expect to see ‘Sea Change’ there is no way to do research prior, but I should have spent more time looking at it thankfully I went with a friend that would have done the same.

So my friends, if you haven’t already, check out the art featured on Instagram and visit the art museums here in Seattle. You may love it or hate it, but only by trying will you know.