Trenton Doyle Hancock

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Trenton Doyle Hancock
Born1974 (age 48–49)
EducationTexas A&M University-Commerce, Temple University
SpouseJooYoung Choi

Trenton Doyle Hancock (born 1974) is an American artist working with prints, drawings, and collaged-felt paintings. Through his work, Hancock mainly aims to tell the story of the Mounds, mystical creatures that are part of the artist's world. In this sense, each new artwork is the artist's contribution to the development of Mounds.

Early life and education[edit]

Hancock was born in 1974 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and grew up in Paris, Texas.[1] He received a BFA from Texas A&M University–Commerce. As an undergrad, Doyle worked as a cartoonist for the school newspaper. At the time, he thought he would become a professional cartoonist following graduation. The influence of Hancock's early interest in cartoons is still visible in his current work.[2] Following his studies at Texas A&M University-Commerce, Hancock earned an MFA from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University, Philadelphia.[3] Hancock's art was also significantly influenced by his upbringing in Paris, Texas. Church was a fundamental focal point of his childhood, as his stepfather was a minister.[4] Thus, religious tropes and themes are abundant in his works, such as recurring references to Redemption and the Eucharist.


Esther, Graphite and acrylic on paper, 11 1/4 x 10 3/4 inches

Hancock makes prints, videos, drawings, sculptures, individual performances, and collaged felt paintings.[5] His influences include comics, graphic novels, cartoons, music, and film.[3]

Hancock is known for his visual work that focuses on the Mounds and the Vegans, two forces that are constantly dueling with one another and serve as a representation of the eternal battle between good and evil. This extended series also serves to explore Hancock's mythology of the two forces, which gives him the opportunity to develop his concepts at length.[6] He has structured this world to be one he can both occupy and continuously rework, depicting the life stages of a variety of characters, such as the Mounds: ancient half-human and half-plant creatures which were created thousands of years ago when a human male ejaculated into a field of flowers.[7] The Vegans are malevolent beings who seek to destroy all Mounds, especially "The Legend": the original Mound, and the most despised among Vegans. The Vegans are meant to symbolize those who are determined to force their beliefs on others, whereas the Mounds symbolize the Earth, acceptance, love, and progressive behaviors.[8] Other key characters in Hancock's works are Painter, a maternal spirit who governs color, Loid, a paternal energy focused on words, and Torpedo Boy, an unheroic super hero alter ego that Hancock created as a child. Torpedo Boy has superhuman strength, but his human emotions—especially his pride—prevent him from performing his heroic duties to their fullest extent.[9] Additional characters that appear in the work alongside him include Junior Mound, Bringback, Baby Curt, and Shy Jerry.[10]

Trenton Doyle Hancock is known for taking risks in his art, and has stated that he is typically the most interested in his art when he feels he has done something daring with it: whether it deals with social issues, universal dilemmas, or personal matters.[11] Regarding whether Torpedo Boy and the Vegans are meant to symbolize good and evil in his works, Hancock states: "Hopefully there's a range of what the Vegans are, and what Torpedo Boy is. You can choose to identify with that range or not. I came from a household where there were very strict ideas about what good and evil are. When I left home, I realized that didn't really work for me, that life was a huge grey area. That became more interesting."[2]

In 2013 his work was translated to Cult of Color: Call to Color,[12] a ballet created in collaboration with Ballet Austin's Artistic Director Stephen Mills.[5]

Awards and fellowships[edit]

Among the honors that Hancock has earned are an Artadia Award (2003),[13] The Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat (2013), a two-year residency and commission of original work,[14] Art League Houston's Texas Artist of the Year (2017),[15] and Texas Medal of Arts Awards in Visual Arts (2019).[16] Hancock was also one of the youngest artists to be featured in the Whitney Biennial, being selected for two consecutive exhibitions in 2000 and 2002. He was a Core Artist in Residence at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston in 2002.[17]

Exhibitions and publications[edit]


Hancock was included in the American Folk Art Museum's "Dargerism" exhibit, showing the influence of Henry Darger on contemporary artists.


  1. ^ Trenton Doyle Hancock biography. Retrieved February 12, 2011.
  2. ^ a b Lehrer, Adam (March 27, 2015). "Glimpse Inside the Mind of Artist Trenton Doyle Hancock at the Studio Museum in Harlem". Forbes. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing | Contemporary Arts Museum Houston". Archived from the original on August 29, 2014. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  4. ^ Salamon, Jeff (June 2014). "He'll always have Paris: Trenton Doyle Hancock's art may be otherworldly, but it's deeply rooted in his Texas upbringing". Texas Monthly. 42.
  5. ^ a b "BalletAustin presents Trenton Doyle Hancock's Cult of Color: Call to Color - News - James Cohan Gallery". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock, EMIT: What the Bringback Brought". The Ringling. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  7. ^ "Storytelling—Characters and Colors — Art21". Art21. Retrieved May 25, 2017.
  8. ^ Cruz, Melissa (August 12, 2012). "Trenton Doyle Hancock: Coloring Veganism" (PDF). James Cohan Gallery.
  9. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock: Storytelling—Characters and Colors | Art21". Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  10. ^ Bennett, Lennie (May 6, 2015). "Review: Trenton Doyle Hancock's wild world on display at Ringling". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  11. ^ Dziedzic, Erin (February 26, 2013). "Truth or Dare with Trenton Doyle Hancock". Artcore Journal.
  12. ^ Martin, Elliott Zooey (January 31, 2008). "Interview with Trenton Doyle Hancock: 'Cult of Color'". Glasstire. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  13. ^ "Awards / Past Awardees". Artadia. 2 May 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  14. ^ "Greenfield Winners". Greenfield Prize. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  15. ^ Glentzer, Molly (2017-05-03). "Art League Houston names Trenton Doyle Hancock Texas artist of the year". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2019-03-22.
  17. ^ Franklin, John Hope, 1915-2009. (2009). Collecting African American art : the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Wardlaw, Alvia J., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. [Houston]: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. ISBN 9780300152913. OCLC 269282205.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock: Biography". Artnet Worldwide Corporation. Retrieved February 20, 2016.
  19. ^ "Hampton All the events happening in Hampton Roads under one site". Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  20. ^ "Powerful Babies: Keith Haring's Impact on Artists Today" (PDF). SPRITMUSEUM. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  21. ^ "DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death | MOCA Cleveland". Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  22. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock, EMIT: What the Bringback Brought". Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  23. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock: The Re-Evolving Door to the Moundverse". Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. January 2, 2018. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  24. ^ "Trenton Doyle Hancock - Artists - James Cohan". Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  25. ^ "PHILLIPS : AMERICAN AFRICAN AMERICAN, New York Selling Exhibition 10 January - 8 February 2019". Phillips. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  26. ^ "Contemporary Focus Trenton Doyle Hancock". The Menil Collection. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  27. ^ "Mind Of The Mound: Critical Mass". Mass MoCA. 22 February 2018. Retrieved July 1, 2019.

External links[edit]