James Pollock Art main page

James Pollock has been drawing and painting for as long as he can remember. He was born and raised on a farm-ranch on the Great Plains of South Dakota, USA. His home town, (Pollock, South Dakota) was named after his great grandfather.

Following graduation from South Dakota State University, Pollock entered the U.S. Army. While in the army, Pollock was chosen from army-wide competition for assignment to the U.S. Army's Vietnam Combat Artist Program. Art works completed during this assignment to five man Combat Artist Team IV are in the U.S. Army Center of Military History permanent War Art Collection in Washington, D.C.

Pollock has exhibited in many group and one person shows. His work can be found in many private and corporate collections throughout the U.S. Pollock designed the first issue South Dakota Bison gold and silver pieces which were sold in the national and international gold and silver marketplace. Pollock has served on the South Dakota Arts Council and was named South Dakota Artist of the Year the first year the award was given.

Pollock believes exploring new artistic horizons comes naturally to most artists. The Bauhaus movement, which was started by Walter Gropius in 1919 and unfortunately ended prematurely in 1933 by the Nazis, has been an influence in Pollock's work.

"I do quite a bit of experimenting. If one were to casually flip through samples of my work one might conclude from the variations of styles and subjects that it is the work of more than one artist. Not so. Some of my images are the result of the study of nature. Some images are derived from the realm of the subjective imagination rather than being based on literal interpretations of nature.

Ideas for my art can come from almost anywhere--nature, history, emotions, other people, books and sounds. Any stimulus that leaves an impression on my conscious or unconscious mind is a potential source for an idea. I believe our minds assimilate these varied stimuli into ideas and interpretations, sometimes without conscious effort or awareness.

Some of my own art ideas are generated in a more free flowing manner from the more enigmatic subconscious. I cannot always pinpoint exactly where these intuitive ideas come from. Sometimes ideas present themselves in my mind at other times I develop images by roaming spontaneously over paper with pen and ink. This sort of idea development is creatively exciting and its potentials are limitless.

I usually work quite small when using the intuitive method of idea development. I draw impulsively and have literally thousands of these intuitive beginning sketches. For me these original idea sketches are very important. The initial sketch is the point which the creative impulse is most active. From these small sketches I scale up those ideas I choose to make into finished works of art.

Deliberate idea development, such as I use when making literal interpretations of nature, is more controllable and also requires a different sort of discipline and approach. I might utilize the following steps: First I develop my objective, next I define the subject I want, next I make preliminary studies and last I execute the final work of art.

Regardless of the methods used, I am continually ask myself if there is another way expressing this idea."


Between 1966 and 1969 the U.S. Army, Office, Chief of Military History with the logistics support of the Army Crafts Program selected by competition teams of soldier artists (5 artists per team) and sent them to Vietnam. They were charged with the responsibility of recording through their art the army's operational and mission functions for inclusion in the annals of army military history. They made sketches, gathered information and impressions while traveling from unit to unit and participating in whatever the unit visited was doing. A second leg of the program sent each U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art team to Hawaii where, under less hostile conditions, they fleshed out their sketches and impressions into finished works of art.

The Army's Vietnam Combat Art Program was unique in that qualified artists were selected exclusively by competition from the U.S. Army's own ranks. Prior to this program military artists, for the most part, had been seasoned, professional and civilian. This was a bold and innovative experiment for the army.

Selected soldier artists were granted freedom to express themselves as they saw fit and were actually encouraged to use a personal style. The resulting body of work from these forty-two artists is an uncommon and compelling look at the every-day life of army soldiers at war.

More than 40 soldier artists participated in the U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art Program and their art is permanently archived in the U.S. Army Center of Military History, Army Art Collection in Washington, D.C.

James Pollock, who went to Vietnam in 1967 as a member of U.S. Army Vietnam Combat Art Team IV, has a web site that includes samples of his art that is in the Center of Military History Army Art Collection. Also on this site are historical documents relating to the Vietnam Combat Art Program, news reports and an article written by the artist entitled "One Day In Vietnam."

Unexpectedly, students have contacted Pollock through his web site and asked for interviews about his experience as a soldier artist for their various class projects. Pollock welcomes questions about his art from students doing school papers. jpollockATpie.midco.net

Thanks for visiting. To send James Pollock e-mail: jpollockATpie.midco.net

James Pollock Art main page