John Hancock has been an art professor at UMHB for more than ten years. He has taught many students and seen many of his students’ art projects become recognized.
On Aug. 26 in the Arla Ray Tyson Art Gallery of the Townsend Memorial Library, Hancock’s featured works were placed on exhibit.
The show’s theme is “The World’s Happiest Place,” which the artist leaves up to the viewer to decide wherever that special place may be.
“The World’s Happiest Place is in my head, heart and hands,” Hancock said.
Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes said he values Hancock as a professor.
“Obviously we think he’s a great teacher,” he said. “He’s a good asset for the department because he demonstrates a strong professional attitude toward his personal art making. A bit eccentric, but that’s somewhat normal with faculty in university art departments.”
Senior art education major Krista Troy has taken Hancock’s figure drawing class and finds him to be very helpful.
“He’s a great man to learn from, and he’s given me encouragement in works I thought were gone,” she said.
To Barnes, the happiest place Hancock is at is when he is creating art.
“I believe when John called this show ‘the World’s Happiest Place’ he was making a comment about his state of mind when he is in the process of making art, metaphorically saying that he is at his happiest when he is making images,” Barnes said.
Troy has a different sense of art, but she still recognizes Hancock’s interesting and unique style.
“I thought the works themselves were brilliant because they truly challenged me to think and figure out the thoughts behind them,” she said.
There are many different ways to interpret art and it may or may not be what the artist intended.
Barnes said, “In terms of content, my reading of the work is that it is about man’s inhumanity toward man. He does this by using common vernacular images in a comical sense to confront those things that are bad.”