[2D] My Line is Emo: Abstract Expressionism (art movement research)


Abstract expressionism is an art movement originating from New York City in the 1940s and 1950s. This art movement is best-known for breaking away from traditional methods of painting. Artists took their large-scale canvases off their easel and used unconventional materials to paint. The purpose of this movement is to convey strong emotions and expressive content through abstract art.

Abstract expressionism is also known as ‘action painting’. Like this term suggests, artists painted with gestural and big movements using their arms and legs. Once again, artists broke away from the traditional method of painting, which is using fingers and wrists to paint precise strokes. By using these free gestural movements to paint, the result of the paintings reflected the artist’s emotions, expressions and mood.

Driving Force: Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock at work

Jackson Pollock was well-known for pioneering the action painting style, where he allowed paint to drip from a can onto a canvas set on the floor. Instead of using a traditional brush to spread the paint, he used unconventional tools such as knives and sticks to do it instead. Pollock took the risk to diverge from traditional art-making means and hence inspired future artists to be bold and experimental with their artwork.

Why Abstract Expressionism?

I chose Abstract Expressionism as my reference art movement as I am inspired by the creativity and boldness that these artists had. Instead of sticking to the traditional norms of creating art, they used unconventional means to do that instead. The process of creating art is art itself. The greatest challenge for me will be to let loose, be experimental and go crazy with the process of evoking my emotions onto my chosen material.


  • The Art Story. (2017). Abstract Expressionism Movement, Artists and Major Works. [online] Available at: http://www.theartstory.org/movement-abstract-expressionism.htm [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].
  • Moma.org. (2017). MoMA | Abstract Expressionism. [online] Available at: https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/abstract-expressionism [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].
  • https://www.jackson-pollock.org. (2017). Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) – Biography and 100 Famous Paintings. [online] Available at: https://www.jackson-pollock.org/ [Accessed 24 Aug. 2017].

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