By Derrick White
First, ‘Happy New Year’ and may all of your dreams and wishes come true for you and yours this coming year.
“Nothing is true, everything is permitted.” – William S. Burroughs
Standing in a dimly lit, Kubrick-long hallway on the third floor of a tattered Ramada Inn in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana, after attending an evening reception for artist Wayne White, I knock on the door for room #308. Through the cracked space of the creaking, slowly opening door, appears a small, oxidized yet powerful handgun gripped in an ink stained hand. Suddenly, this feels like a scene from a B horror movie. Then the door widens and artist (and legend) John Hancock warmly greets my friend Paul and I saying, “Hey guys, come on in. Would you like a drink?” John has his signature thick, dark beard. He is dressed in a plaid shirt, wears a western belt buckle, custom made cowboy boots, and straw bowler hat. He is relaxing with some chewing tobacco, and a glass of whiskey. This night is about to get strange and entertaining. We go out to a few casinos, get some food, and talk long into the night about art and other strange topics until John eventually decides to go to sleep on the floor under the hotel room desk.
John Hancock is an expert printmaker, visual and performance artist, and a printmaking professor at Mary Hardin Baylor in Belton, Texas. John attended Baylor University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Texas Tech University. Together, with his brother Charles – who also earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Baylor University and is also an expert printmaker, visual and performance artist, currently living in Austin – are the dynamic duo of the The Amazing Hancock Brothers creating, collaborating, performing, and printing images and mash-ups on anything and everything. Charles and John are two Texas outlaw (outsider artist) printmakers producing and exhibiting their unique, collaborative, and powerfully raw prints and collages for the delight and horror of viewers. Their work has a strong visual punch one can feel right behind the eyes. The Hancock Brothers conduct demonstrations, spoken word poetry events, printmaking workshops, participate in exhibitions nationally and internationally, and have work in numerous collections. They are both members of the Mid-America Print Council, Southern Graphics, founding members of the DPA print organization, regulars at Austin’s Annual Ink Slingaz Ball, and inspiring supporters of Drive By Press.
The Hancock Brother’s mash-ups are a sight to behold. Using screen-printing and acrylic paint they will lay out papers, fabrics or, in most cases, blocks of wood and, using a wide variety of screen-printed images, begin to create spontaneously on the surfaces. In a ferocity of commotion they collaborate on twenty to fifty artworks simultaneously. They randomly choose colors of ink and the placement of different images. Their library of Hancock representations is immense. The juxtapositions are endless – skulls next to eyepatch lady faces with fishnet stockings combined with vintage advertisements, zombie faces, snakes, sexy skull women in short skirts, monsters, devils, robots, panties, monkeys, wieners, etc. They use images of animal and human mutations, sombrero-wearing Mexican sugar skulls combined with different text and hidden meanings from words like ‘porno vampyre’ to the peculiar text RU486 (the abortion pill). The Hancock’s colors are bold and intense. Their images are horrific, subversive, and tantalizing. Their art is vexing, eye catching, and pleasurable. There is an uncertain enticing mischief to their images reminiscent of finding a dirty magazine down in a creek bed when you were eleven. Their process is disordered, expressive, explicit, and prolific. They make a lot of work. The end results of their work are unpredictable. “The dream is a spontaneous happening and therefore dangerous to a control system set up by the non-dreamers,” is a quote from William Burroughs (oftentimes a Hancock subject).
John and Charles are master woodcut printmakers with thousands of custom hand carved blocks of their signature style images. On one recent trip to East Texas to attend a workshop, Charles sat in the passenger seat of John’s pickup and fearlessly carved several blocks during the ride. He carved several astonishing blocks. The floor was littered with wood shaving ankle deep by the time they arrived. The Hancock’s art has an edgy aesthetic to those unfamiliar but do not let their expertise in printmaking get lost in their eccentric imagery. I’ve watched them carefully and clearly explain the process of printmaking to a room full of students and onlookers. They inform and entertain, and act as print missionaries with their message, ‘art and art making is for everyone.’ Don’t let any elitist, high art, self-proclaimed culture-maker tell you otherwise. Make art. Do you want to be a weirdo? Be a weirdo.
John and Charles celebrate the frivolous and the low brow, but with a visual whack upside your head, and behind the graffiti art aesthetic is a proficiency in process.
I leave you with another William Burroughs’ quote I find fitting to the Hancocks and their artistic philosophy, “You were not there for the beginning. You will not be there for the end. Your knowledge of what is going on can only be superficial and relative.”
Drive By Press is a touring woodblock printing company visiting college and university campuses nationwide, conducting print workshops, and touring with popular bands. They discuss on their website about the inspiration behind a new Hancock image t-shirt, “John Hancock is a founding father of 21st century printmaking in America. This shirt is for anyone who has ever had the pleasure of knowing or working with this amazing artist. We decided to pay tribute to this great man who has done so much for Drive By Press and American printmaking. Taylor designed and carved this one, and we are proud of it! We printed this wood block with Drive By Black ink onto a super soft slightly heather t-shirt.” Get some!
More information can be found at www.drivebypress.com/collections/mens-collection/products/john-hancock-tee
The Amazing Hancock Brothers visit us behind the East Texas Pine Curtain every couple of years or so. They had an exhibition and conducted an intense workshop at Tyler Junior College back in April, 2015. Now we eagerly await their next return. I can feel the thunder gathering even now.
Stay tuned. Stay informed. Stay weird.
UT Tyler Graduate Student Exhibits Feature Steel, Wood Creations
The University of Texas at Tyler Department of Art and Art History is proud to announce three exhibitions featuring three-dimensional artists seeking a master of arts and master of fine arts degrees this spring.
“Students and visitors to our galleries will be in for a special treat as this semester’s master-level artists craft wood and steel into their own unique artistry,” said Gallery and Media Coordinator Michelle Taff.
The Meadows Gallery currently features “With Wood and Paint” by masters of fine arts candidate Jake Arnold of Bullard. Arnold’s work is centered in additive and subtractive wood-working, and it incorporates both aggressive geometrical and softer voluptuous forms touched with paint. A public reception with artist talk will be at 6pm on Thursday, March 22 at the gallery.
The Fine Arts Complex Gallery currently features “Finding Place” by master of arts candidate Kirsti Smith of Canton. Smith’s wooden sculptural forms explore relationships and community and how well individuals fit and find place in their own surroundings. A public reception with artist talk will be 6 p.m. Thursday, March 29 at the Fine Arts Complex gallery.
Both exhibits conclude Friday, March 30.
In addition, master of fine arts candidate Brandon Witschi of West Virginia will display his sculpture in an exhibition titled “Beyond Compression” in the Meadows Gallery. Witschi combines steel and other media to create forms that emphasize balance, stability and individuality. A public reception with artist talk will be 6 p.m. Thursday, April 12 at the Meadows Gallery. The exhibit will conclude Friday, April 13.
Gallery hours are 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and by special appointment. For more information, contact Taff, 903.566.7237 or
A member of the prestigious UT System, The University of Texas at Tyler focuses on student success and innovative research in the more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs offered. With more than 10,000 students, UT Tyler has facilities in Tyler, Longview, Palestine and Houston.
On Exhibit at The University of Texas at Tyler Art Galleries
UT Tyler hosts several galleries with a variety of art on exhibit. For more info, call (903)566-7237 or email email@example.com. On exhibit this month:
There are several galleries. The Meadows Gallery is located within the R. Don Cowan Fine and Performing Arts Center on the campus of UT Tyler and features rotating exhibitions. The Meadows Gallery exhibition schedule includes nationally known guest artist exhibitions, the Annual International Exhibition, faculty curated exhibitions, MFA thesis exhibitions, and a student juried exhibition each summer.
The UC Gallery is located on the second floor of the University Center. This gallery is dedicated to exhibiting student work.
The Fine Arts Complex (FAC/ARC) Gallery is located in the new Fine Arts Complex. The FAC Gallery provides a place for invited artists, undergraduates, and graduate students to display their works. In conjunction with art history courses, students have curated exhibitions from the Tyler Museum of Art’s permanent collection, given talks on the work, and hosted opening receptions in the gallery.
Exhibits scheduled are:
Thru March 9th – 33rd Annual International Exhibition
March 22nd (6pm) – MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Daniel Jake Arnold (Meadows Gallery)
March 29th (6pm) – MA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Kirsti Smith (FAC Gallery)
April 7th – 4th Annual Art History Symposium (ARC 112)
April 10th (5:30pm) – MA Thesis Presentation by JoBeth Cox (ARC 112)
April 12th (6pm) – MFA Thesis Exhibition Reception: Brandon Witschi (Meadows Gallery)
April 19th (5:30pm) – BA Thesis Presentation by Cree Summerfield (ARC 112)
April 19th (6pm) – 1st BFA Thesis Exhibition Reception (FAC Gallery)
April 26th (6pm) – 2nd BFA Thesis Exhibition Reception (FAC Gallery)
May 3rd (6pm) Annual Juried Student Exhibition Reception and Juror Talk (Meadows Gallery)
Call for Artist: “Unfettered” Exhibit April 7th
Call for Artist:
“Unfettered” Exhibit April 7th at Wagner Auto Group, Tyler
Attention artists: submission for the Art Show “Unfettered” to be held Saturday, April 7th (7-11pm), Wagner Auto Group, Tyler. This one night curated art show will have a scene like no other. “This will be an extremely exciting evening out to peruse original art, watch live art demos, and check out some extremely talented art vendors,” said Kerian Massey, curator of the show.
“We are looking for a variety of art with the theme of ‘Unfettered.’ To be unfettered is to come undone, to let go or to become free, without ties. Any artwork that carries this theme in any loose fashion will be considered.”
For more info contact Kerian Massey at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (903)714-7414
All art will be juried in by a panel of judges. Notice of Acceptance will be given Monday, March 26th.
For those who want to be a part of the show but would like to sell more, there will be an area for select fine art for sale. All artwork is subject to review for quality and content. Absolutely no resale items with the exception of canvas prints and fine art prints.
EGuide Magazine’s Gig Guide
Date Night: From Fancy to Simple, Tyler Offers a Lot of Romance
March 24th – Tyler Azalea 10k, 5k, and Kids Run plus MORE!
Theatre Guide: March 15-18th, “The Lucky O’Learys” on Stage
The Apple Didn’t Fall Far From The Tree
March 24th: Save the Mayfair Fundraiser, Dinner & Live Music
“Playhouses on the Plaza” Downtown Tyler Through March 22nd
UT Tyler Graduate Student Exhibits Feature Steel, Wood Creations
DATE CHANGES!! April 2nd: Glass Rec. Center, Summer Camp Registration Open
The Skinny on Cooking at Home: The Cookbook Junkie
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