James Pollock (born 1943, South Dakota) is an American artist currently living in Pierre, South Dakota. Pollock has been characterized as a "South Dakota painter whose work is a bridge between the abstract and the concrete. His style varies widely, sometimes drawing on the abstract styles reminiscent of artists of the early 20th-century Bauhaus school, characterized by strong lines and bold colors, sometimes resembling ancient cave paintings, and sometimes straightforward renderings of landscapes and objects." Pollock is an active plein air painter and member of the South Dakota Plein Air Artists movement.
Pollock grew up in Pollock, a small town in North Central South Dakota, named after his great grandfather Robert Y. Pollock. Pollock had an early interest in art which was encouraged by an aunt. In 1965 He graduated with a major in art from South Dakota State University, Brookings, South Dakota.
In 1966 James Pollock was drafted into the U. S. Army. In 1967 while working as a postal clerk at Camp Ames army base in South Korea Pollock applied for assignment to the U. S. Army Vietnam Combat Artists Program. He was accepted into the program and from 15, August 1967 through 31 December 1967 he served on U. S Army Vietnam Combat Artist Team IV (CAT IV). Art completed by Pollock during his assignment as a Vietnam soldier-artist is in the permanent U.S. Army Art Collection, maintained by the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH), Washington, D.C. Pollock's art has been included in traveling exhibits organized by the U.S Army Center of Military History. The collection of the Emil A. Blackmore Museum in Indianapolis, Indiana also includes a piece of Pollock's art from the Vietnam era.
From October 27, 2000 through January 7, 2001, Pollock's work produced while a member of the Vietnam Combat Artists Program was exhibited in THE ART OF COMBAT: Artists and the Vietnam War, Then and Now, mounted by the Indianapolis Art Center in Indiana.
In 2003 James Pollock presented a lecture about the U. S. Army Vietnam Combat Artists Program at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. sponsored by the Library of Congress Professional Association (LCPA) Veterans Forum in the Mary Pickford Theater. This was the first public presentation where the historical collection of Vietnam war art was presented in the context of individual artists and their particular teams and time frames.
In 2010 the National Constitution Center in partnership with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Museum of the United States Army presented a major exhibit entitled Art of the American Soldier that included pieces done by Pollock during his service in the Vietnam Combat Artists Program.
After discharge from the army, Pollock worked as staff artist for Dakota North Plains Corporation, (publishers of the DAKOTA FARMER magazine) in Aberdeen, South Dakota. In 1973 Pollock went to work as a graphic artist and illustrator for the State of South Dakota making design and illustrative contributions to state publications including the SOUTH DAKOTA CONSERVATION DIGEST.
In 1976 Pollock produced a set of 10 limited edition silkscreen prints depicting the terrain and wildlife of South Dakota that were exhibited for sale at Mount Rushmore. DAKOTA SURVIVAL, a print of a pen and ink drawing of three bison in a prairie blizzard proved the most popular.
In the mid 1970s eight South Dakota artists, including Pollock, banded together and formed the South Dakota Western Artists Association (SDWAA).
James Pollock was named Artist of the Year by the South Dakota Cowboy and Western Heritage Hall of Fame (now known as South Dakota Hall of Fame) in 1980, the first year the award was given.
In 1983 Pollock was commissioned to produce a series of posters for the South Dakota Centennial Project.
In 1985 Pollock began experimenting and creating art with a computer.
In 1987. Pollock was chosen to design the first issue gold and silver bullion pieces for the State of South Dakota. The design of two bison standing on the prairie (referred to as the double bison) appears on one side, the official South Dakota State Seal appears on the other side. Pollock was appointed to the South Dakota Arts Council in 1988 by then Governor George S. Mickelson. In 1992 James Pollock and two other South Dakota artists, (Mick Harrison and Norm Feugen) traveled to Calgary, Alberta, Canada and exhibited their art in the USA Pavilion at EQUI-FAIR 92.
In 1999 Yugoslav artist Zlatko Vasic organized an exhibition titled The Last Waltz at the Greek Cultural Center in Stockholm, Sweden to raise money to restore the Museum of Modern Art in Belgrade. The exhibit featured original art by 11 artists from four countries including the United States, Sweden, Italy and Yugoslavia. James Pollock was one of 4 Americans invited to participate.
James Pollock was one of seven South Dakota Plein Aire Artists (SDPAA) invited by the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra to sketch, paint and interpret music live on stage during the performance of Pictures At An Exhibition at a 2005 concert in the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This mixing of live symphony music and artists painting live on stage in front of a public audience was the first of its kind in South Dakota.
Pollock is a founding member of Artists of the Black Hills (ABH), an association of professional artists and other interested parties that organized in 2005.