Andrew Hancock is a conceptual British artist working in a wide variety of artistic materials and media.  He graduated from Manchester University in 2006, where he studied History of Art, with emphasis on Surrealism and its legacies.  After a fulfilling early career in the professional art world, including at Christie’s Auctioneers, Frieze Art Fair, Saatchi Gallery and the Royal Academy of Art, he turned wholly to creating art in 2012.  He has subsequently exhibited and created art across the world, from art installation and performances in L.A. to Moscow’s ‘National Centre for Contemporary Art’, Beijing’s ‘Chinese National Art Collection’ and Malta’s ‘Mdina Cathedral Contemporary Art Biennale’. He currently has an art  piece loaded aboard a NASA spacecraft ‘OSIRIS-Rex’ heading to near-Earth asteroid Bennu.

“My art practice is constantly evolving, heavily steeped in the mythologies of artistic practice and a continuous refinement of and struggle with the specificities of key art materials. In my work I make paintings, drawings,
sculpture, documentation, video, time-based performance, print, photography and installation, which all sit within the unique context of the piece whilst engaging the wider conceptual themes under investigation. I like to mix an evolving overlapping series of ideas in a variety of medium, exploring diverse subjects from the surreal, the absurd, humorous and satirical, to aesthetics, sex and sensuality, the corporal body, art historical legacies, relational aesthetics and anthropology.”

Andrew Hancock

close up of sculptural Black and white chess pieces by Andrew Hancock on matching board
Art Chess by Andrew Hancock ‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy
sculptural black and white chess pieces on matching board by Andrew Hancock
Art Chess by Andrew Hancock ‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy
Art Chess by Andrew Hancock ‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy
Andrew Hancock Art Chess at Painted Pieces exhibition photo credit World Chess Hall of Fame
Andrew Hancock Art Chess at Painted Pieces exhibition
(photo credit World Chess Hall of Fame)

‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy’ – 2018

‘Poem for Chess Temple IV’
Squared-to the Apollonian oeuvre; every symbolic stone is a cypher to the Ultimate,
Confronting the Altars of White and Black, hearing you the Voices of Inside Beyond Unseen.
Temple. Oracle.
Fantastically given to riddles, showing truth through visions moves ahead of time.
And deception, the Voice of this Mistress strikes obliquely now?
Them what dwell in the diamond, dust of ether play.
Masters of the Universe or die.

“For Purling London and the World Chess Hall of Fame I wanted to create something that was new to me. As with all of my artworks I approach them as a unique interaction with the structure of the concept in competition with thematerial manifestation of my expression.

The board came first and I was determined to use real diamond dust which I sourced from diamond-cutters in London’s Hatton Garden. This did cause some problems. One shouldn’t complain about an overabundance of diamond dust in one’s life, but the delicate and carefully sprinkling of the shining particles across the board’s surface did lead to ‘finger cramps’, so, be warned anyone attempting some similar endeavour! 

When I approached the concept for the chess set and the figures I drew upon my longstanding idea of investigating tangential ideas of ‘Temples’ or sacred spaces within my own idiom in the milieu of contemporary art. It occurred to me to conceive of the dimensions of the chess game, the board and the hierarchy of the chess pieces that there are certain mathematical and social hierarchies contained within the plane of play that may be universal and which could be theoretically drawn upon. And so I created a miniature world with figures inhabiting a parallel ‘sacred’ deep-space grove or other dimensional plane of sorts.

Each piece of this set is built from elemental materials in a Black and White hieroglyphic language. My motivations for its construction came when contemplating black materials and white material sources. I used the darkest, flattest, most matt black acrylic paint in the world ‘Black 2.0’, a new creation made by Stuart Semple’s art laboratory and its counterpoint, ‘Saint’, a titanium white acrylic. Incorporating real diamond dust and high-grade printers ‘diamond dust’ made of shards of glass in both clear and black for the two sets, I also used modelling clays and plaster and moulded reliefs from household objects and sea sponge to create the idiosyncratic, surreal, fantastical, absurd fractal elements, giving the individual pieces each their unique characterisation.

The ‘Temple’ is built in another dimension. Where players, immersed in a temple of crystals and interstellar tides, conquer a world of mysteries, of minds that pulse and move ecstatically enshrined in magical asymmetry. Amongst these avenues of laser-death, levitation, extra sensory sight and chaos, players, priests, rooks and royalty waltz and attack in harmony with the musica universalis. In a zone where all is dedicated to a new Check Mate! To determine Who will be the master for the Universe?”

Artist, Andrew Hancock, 2018

eccentric portrait of a Andrew Hancock in black and white holding Chess pieces in his hand, on his shoulder,l and on his head
Photograph of Andrew Hancock by Vudi Xhymshiti.

We are delighted to be able to offer a bespoke service for our Art games. If you would like to enquire further about commissioning Andrew Hancock to create a unique hand-painted Art Chess, Backgammon or Checkers set specially for you, please get in touch via our Contact Form below.

black chess knight
Black Knight from ‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy
Andrew Hancock photo credit World Chess Hall of Fame
Andrew Hancock Art Chess at Painted Pieces exhibition
(photo credit World Chess Hall of Fame)
Andrew Hancock 'The Crossing Over' (extract)
Andrew Hancock ‘The Crossing Over’ (extract)
Chess inspired by Space – Sculptor, Andrew Hancock’s Purling London Art Chess set
Art Chess by Andrew Hancock ‘Temple IV: Diamond Dust Dimension – Space Temple Fantasy
Chess set at Bergdorf Goodman, NYC
Andrew Hancock Art Chess in Bergdorf Goodman Department Store, NYC