Trenton Doyle Hancock

Trenton Doyle Hancock
Sketch of Tiled Skin Face Mask
Pen and ink over graphite pencil.
15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)
Gift of Martina Yamin
© Trenton Doyle Hancock 2021. Courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York.

As a young boy in Paris, Texas, Trenton Doyle Hancock invented a Black superhero called Torpedo Boy. This character, the artist's avatar, would later join the Moundverse, a complex mythological universe of Hancock's creation. The story of the half-human, half-plant Mounds, their nemeses the Vegans, and the flawed protagonist Torpedo Boy, is interleaved with the artist's childhood influences--the Bible, comic books, and action figures--and his later admiration for artists like Philip Guston, particularly Guston's cartoonish paintings of hooded Ku Klux Klan figures. "Sketch of Tiled Skin Face Mask" is part of a shift away from the Moundverse and toward more directly autobiographical art. The figure, which may be a self-portrait, is endowed with a third, all-seeing eye. He gazes at the viewer from behind a pattern that resembles a chain link fence, but in fact refers to the tile floor that covered Hancock's grandmother's home when he was a child. He remembers it as the place where he first learned to draw.