W. Allan Hancock
Then 12-year-old W. Allan Hancock received a paint-by-numbers kit in 1980. It was a gift from his grandparents. Allan latched on, but it wasn't to the templated scene inside the kit. He latched onto just the paints, which he used for creations all his own. His choice of subject-matter was the wildlife that he had held in awe for as long as he could remember.His parents remember a little boy sprawled out on the floor, drawing and colouring for hours on end.
Art had always been -and remains -his great calling. Allan gained his first career foothold in art by accepting a job with a greeting card company in 1989. He painted watercolours of wildlife, 9-to-5 in a commercial studio space. It was glorious, but the company folded a few years later. Allan turned to full-time shift work at Robin Hood Flour Mill where he had previously worked summers. During that period, he was painting part-time and achieving sales at a Saskatoon gallery. He also succeeded in having pieces selected for limited edition prints released by Ducks Unlimited Canada and other organizations.
Satisfaction with the Robin Hood job dwindled as public interest in his artwork increased, so in 1995 Allan decided to forsake the steady paycheque and to pursue art full-time. He sold his house and car and moved to Vancouver Island, pulled by its abundance of art festivals and wildlife. He reasoned that down the road, he would rather say "I gave it my best shot" than regret the path not taken.
Through it all, gratitude rings daily in his heart. He is honoured and grateful that people purchase his work and embrace it in their lives; that the Royal Canadian Mint has featured his work on multiple coins; that his work was chosen for the book cover of Witness: Selected Poemsby award-winning Canadian author/poet Patrick Lane, and for prominent inclusion in the book Amazing Animalsby Margriet Ruurs; that Her Imperial Highness Princess Takamado of Japan has one of his paintings in her collection; and for much, much else. He was grateful and humbled to receive a postcard in 2011 from the great Robert Bateman himself expressing admiration and stating: "You have a very strong and unique style –easily recognized yet accurate and full of vitality.”