Above: "George Washington." 36x60", Mixed Media on Linen.
Lincoln Hancock is a dynamic Raleigh artist who loves to break implied boundaries. As part of the Band Heads on Sticks, part time professor of Art at William Peace, and a former blogger for Art21, Hancock is throughly immersed in a world of creation. Hancock is also a major thinker, getting very cerebral about his work and what it means to make work. Tonight his show entitled "This Wild Desire" opens at the Morning Times.
David: How big is the show? What time period does it represent?
Lincoln: There are eleven new paintings in this show — all work done this past summer. I worked out of Shaun Richards' space while he was on his roadtrip to Alaska.
David: Where did you grow up? Who are your favorite collaborators?
Lincoln: I'm from Raleigh — born here and lived here pretty much through high school. Went to college in Greensboro at Guilford College, where I studied Philosophy and Art. Lived in Chapel Hill and Durham for a while after college… came back to Raleigh in the mid 2000s. Enrolled at NC State in 2007 to get a graduate degree in Graphic Design.
I love collaborative work. I think this part of being a musician, which for me, has almost always been about working with other people to make something larger than I could myself. In art, I've collaborated with Neill Prewitt and Ellie Blake, most recently on a Town of Chapel Hill-sponsored community art project with the residents of Abbey Court in Carrboro.
David: How does making music change your process for making visual work?
Lincoln: My personal work has to be informed by my relationship with music. The paintings are so much about process. I listen to music while I work. Many of my early abstract paintings were informed by the rhythms of the Afrobeat stuff I was constantly listening to in the studio. As content has infiltrated, lyrics, album art, and other references to the stuff swirling around the making have entered the frame. I'm sure my studio decisions are probably shaped more profoundly than I realize by creative impulses that come from playing music… improvise, find solutions, be loud, be bold, be good, go for it.
David: In writing about the work you reference Pound's poetry. For our readers who aren't familiar- can you expand on that relationship? Are there aspects of poetic structure that are informing this new work?
Lincoln: Pound is one of the perennial ghosts I call upon when I'm looking for some verification of what it is I think I'm doing in the studio. His project had to do with finding what he believed to be a kind of truth in the creation of an image. He developed this idea of the "vortex" as a kind of active apprehension where impressions are converted, directed, and where meanings are created. I might connect this in some ways with the more recent idea of "flow" (Csíkszentmihályi). I try to work in a (psychic) space where I find least resistance, where things happen —where I make things happen — and where I don't deliberate in a linear manner. It's a practice of spontaneity, but it's totally distinct from impulsiveness or randomness. The vortex is a place of consciousness, awareness, and the decisions made within are intentional, and they resonate.
David: For a painter you have created so much sculpture work, do you draw a line between image making and sculpture? The assemblages in this show- at what point do they become sculpture?
Lincoln: Some of the installations I've worked on have had sculptural elements, and I have some more dedicated sculptural work in mind for the near future, but I've never really thought of myself as a sculptor. That said, I'm very much interested in creating tactile surface when I paint and make this 2D work. I think of these very much as paintings — in fact, when I incorporate objects and artifacts and collage and I try to use those elements compositionally in the same way I'd use paint.
The installations, which usually leverage video, are a bit of a different proposition. Because of the amount of planning that goes into those projects, I can't totally equate the process to painting, which for me is much more about working provisionally. Though I think with any of these things I want to create the conditions for an encounter that gives me (and, I hope, my audience) the chance to really look, really see, really be. I mean, we live in a world that's almost entirely mediated by designed images and spectacle. What art can do is bring us more fully into ourselves.