Trenton Doyle Hancock’s Universe of Weirdness

Studio 360

In artist Trenton Doyle Hancock's work, evil is on a vegan diet. His drawings, now on view at the Studio Museum in Harlem, feature the abstemious eaters as villains. They're the antagonists to the meat-filled characters Hancock calls "Mounds." But to be clear, Hancock doesn't have anything against real-life vegans. "It's a tough lifestyle," he says.

Hancock's weird universe was shaped by the science fiction he was obsessed with as a kid. "I was lucky enough to have grown up in a time when there was this explosion of really weird, sci-fi based toys," Hancock says. "And it was always good against evil."

Hisfictional world is colorful, abstract, and wacky --- something like Hieronymus Bosch, with some Fisher Price and Marvel mixed in. But Hancock isn't all fantasy. "On the surface, my work is like little boy art --- goblins and good and evil. But I think at the heart of the work is that I don't really know what good and evil actually are. It's up to the viewer."

(Originally aired December 12, 2008)

'Give Me My Flowers While I Yet Live,' Version #1, acrylic, mixed media on paper, 2010

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