trenton doyle hancock on 'mound #1 the legend' for odabashian at MASS MoCA
 

trenton doyle hancock on 'mound #1 the legend' for odabashian at MASS MoCA


trenton doyle hancock grew up in an all-american household governed by christian ideals. pulling from his own personal experiences, art history, myriad pop culture references and an obsession with super hero comics, he has constructed a fantastical narrative populated by characters and plots that explore universal concepts of morality and ethics and everything in-between. he is represented by james cohan, shulamit nazarian and hales.

 

ahead of his solo exhibition at MASS MoCA, (opens march 9, 2019) designboom spoke to trenton about his influences and ‘mound #1 the legend’ – a larger than life sculpture created in collaboration with odabashian.


trenton doyle hancock with ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture at cinnabar fabricators in los angeles, USA
produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by andy butler, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

desigboom (DB): please can you introduce yourself ?

 

trenton doyle-hancock (TDH): my name is trenton doyle-hancock. I’m a painter, but my practice has unfolded into multidisciplinary practices: right now, I’m working on a graphic novel, a large-scale sculpture, animations and some short films.

 

DB: what’s the best moment of the day for you?

 

TDH: midnight, the witching hour. the best time. everybody is asleep except me. it’s easy for me to work at night. I tend to get to the studio around 8pm at night, and then work until 4am in the morning.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: what kind of music do you listen to?

 

TDH: I listen to all types of music. right now, I’ve been listening to a lot of vaporwave music, it’s a bunch of young kids that are taking music I listened to as a kid and running it through some kind of effect system: looping it and kind of making my childhood great again, sonically.

 

DB: do you make music?

 

TDH: yes, I’m a drummer and a vocalist.

 

DB
: does it find a way into your work as a visual artist?

 

TDH: sometimes it finds its way into the lectures that I do; I may stop mid-lecture and sing a song. I play drums before I get into painting mode, so I might play for thirty minutes to an hour to just warm up, and then the muscles are going, and then I can actually paint. and sometimes I collaborate with my wife (jooyoung choi); she is a painter, but also a puppeteer, and she makes puppet videos. I do puppeteering and some of the voices and sing for some of her characters.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: what books do you currently have on your bedside table?

 

TDH: the book I have right now next to the bed is a comic book, of course, and it’s early alejandro jodorowsky – the ones he drew himself, in the sixties.

 

DB: where do you get your news from?

 

TDH: yahoo news and instagram. I usually get my news from people I know and trust.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: do you pay close attention to the contemporary art news?

 

TDH: I hate contemporary art news. it’s just so un-interesting. this thing called ‘contemporary art’ with a capital C, is kind of a joke to me. I follow comic book news, I look at animation news, and toy news, and film news.

 

DB: what type of clothes do you avoid wearing?

 

TDH: these days I avoid clothes with a bunch of pictures on it. I think I stopped wearing them in the nineties.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: do you have any pets?

 

TDH: I have lulu, a fifteen-year-old cat; she’s fun.

 

DB: do you have any superstitions?

 

TDH: never walk under ladders.

 

DB: when did you decide that you wanted to become an artist?

 

TDH: as soon as I could pick up a pencil and make a mark, I was addicted.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB:
 how would you describe your approach to art to someone you just met?

 

TDH: I would describe art as being inseparable from life. many cultures don’t even have a name for art: it’s just life. I’m trying to get back to that, but I do operate in an art world, the one that supports me. it names itself as such and swears that it knows what art is. but I’m trying to live my life in art as if they were one thing.

 

DB: where do you work on your projects?

 

TDH: I make paintings in houston, at my studio: I have a warehouse. lately I kind of have what I call an exploded factory, I’ve definitely kind of been working on the factory model because I work with fabricators all over the world, and at any given time there’s a couple of things that are going. I’m sort of micro-managing those things from my spot in houston, often times. but then I get on an airplane and I go around to kind of oversee production, different places.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: which of your projects have given you the most personal satisfaction?

 

TDH: I don’t think I can quantify in terms of, what gives me the most satisfaction, but I can pick certain projects that challenged me so much that I had a ‘growth spurt’. 

one would be when I worked with stephen mills and ballet austin. the project was in 2005 to 2008 on a ballet that I wrote and design the cut sets and costumes. I was collaborating with stephen, the choreographer to create the dance, the movement of all the characters. and also collaborating with a guy name graham reynolds who composed music to go with it all and the teasley company on the fabrication of the sets. that project transformed my sense of scale.

the mound #1 the legend project has been yet another growth spurt for me, another three-year project. this came about through hales, who connected me with odabashian. I’m not sure I would have been comfortable with something as ambitious as this if I hadn’t worked on the ballet project.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: what particular things have you learned from the collaboration with odabashian?


 

TDH: where do I even begin? every day I learned 100% more than I know the day before about rug making. with odabashian, there was always two or three ideas going back and forth at the same time. that’s the kind of collaboration you want, not one that’s one-sided. I really got to benefit from their experience of with other artists, generations of knowledge and their network. odabashian brought on-board juan corral at cinnabar, who then brought on board his wife laurie corral – a disney imagineer. we really had a great team for this project.

 

DB: has the piece exceeded your expectations?


 

TDH: oh, very much so. you see it on paper, and that’s one thing. but when your body is in front of the damn thing and it’s casting a shadow on you… that’s a totally different experience… and you walk inside of it and it’s cold outside and you walk in and all of a sudden you’re warm… then you understand: ‘oh, this is what the inuit people are thinking, this is what the native americans were talking about’. and it’s not a science lesson, it’s not an anthropology lesson. it’s affecting your temperature, your physiognomy directly.


detail of ‘mound #1 the legend’ sculpture by trenton doyle hancock / produced by odabashian and cinnabar
photo by nicolás gutiérrez, courtesy of odabashian

 

 

DB: do you have any advice for young artists?

 

TDH: my advice for young artists is: take what people say you’re supposed to do, set it aside, and then ask the question of what you want to do. and if those two things are the same, that’s awesome; if they’re different, you have hard work to do… you have to figure out that thing that you want out of all of this. when you identify that, don’t let anyone stop you from getting to that thing.


sketch by trenton doyle hancock / image courtesy of the artist

 

 

DB: what boundaries are you trying to break yourself, or what goal are you working towards right now?


 

TDH: right now, I’m just working towards some deadlines. I just got to get some stuff done, so people don’t punch me in the face.


sketch by trenton doyle hancock / image courtesy of the artist

 

 

    have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
    all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

    comments policy
    LOG IN
    designboom's comment policy guidelines
    generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
    the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

    what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
    let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

    - please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
    - please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
    - please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
    - please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
    - please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
    (there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
    in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
    the best 100-200 entries too.)

    a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.

    PRODUCT LIBRARY

    a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

    art news

    ×
    keep up with our daily and weekly stories
    481,335 subscribers
    - see sample
    - see sample
    privacy policy