Edward L. Hankey is a sculptor whose heart and soul guide his work in porcelain, bronze and terra cotta. With an eye for detail and precision, he infuses the essence of life into his sculptures.
A group of Korean War veterans recognized his insight as well, and in 1999 they commissioned him to create a fitting memorial for those killed or missing in action during the Korean War. With painstaking precision, he created a bronze bald eagle about to land on a five-pointed granite star. With his talons, he holds the helmet and dog tags of a fallen soldier. The monument, which symbolizes the price Americans have paid for freedom around the world, rises majestically in the center of the grounds of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.
Other works include a porcelain sculpture of victims' rights advocate Pam Lynchner and her two daughters. It captures a loving and tranquil moment between mother and daughters months before they perished in the crash of TWA flight 800. Ed also created a poignant terra cotta bust sculpture of a homeless mother and her two children which is displayed in the lobby of Houston's Star of Hope Mission. The work is dedicated to the real victims of poverty and serves as a reminder of the resilience of family bonds and the love that God has for us.
A sculptor whose passion for his art is clearly reflected in his work, Ed has created several commercial pieces varying from awards to advertisement props. For example, the Houston chapter of Women in Film and Television recently commissioned him to design and produce a porcelain award given each year to honor women in Texas that have successful careers on the screen. Over the past several years, he has also completed numerous portrait sculptures in clay and bronze of prominent businessmen. One such piece is of Galveston entrepreneur, Robert L. Moody, which was commissioned by the Texas Chiropractic College to adorn the lobby of a new heath center. Most recently, South Carolina's Sherman College asked Ed to complete a twice life-sized bust of Dr. Tom Gelardi, which now adorns the new wing. The Moody and Gelardi sculptures are now among Ed's body of work that includes over twenty busts of men, women, and children.
Ed also works with the media of porcelain and is known for his limited-edition series which consists of hunting and fishing scenes. These highly-detailed figurines capture such scenes as a duck hunter with his faithful dog in pursuit of his game to a quail hunter flushing Bobwhites from the brush. This last twenty-seven inch long piece is called "Fenceline Bobs" and is one of six pieces that make up the sportsman collection, which includes a deer , pheasant, and goose hunter. Also among this series is "Specks are Runnin," which depicts a salt water fisherman in the surf with a speck on line. Ed can meticulously customize each work to favor the person it will portray.
Originally from Perry, Ohio, he moved to Houston with his family in the seventies. He graduated from Spring Branch High School and then went on to study art at the University of Houston. His interest in art goes back to when he received a learn-to-draw kit for Christmas when he was 10 and took up drawing and pastel and charcoal painting through college. He later picked up some clay and hasn't stopped sculpting since . Ed says he can't remember a time that he hasn't been interested in art. One of the first commercial sculptures to earn him income was that of a reproduction of the gold funerary mask of King Tutankhamun. First completed in the late seventies, it now is sold the antiquities gift shop of the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. When he is not working on art, Ed is involved in remodeling a fifties ranch-style Spring Branch home and studio, a project that allows him to use his artistic skills with renovation and design. Among his other passions is his love for the outdoors and particularly snow skiing. A ski enthusiast for over twenty years, the sport call for him to return to his Ohio roots where he grew up on Lake Erie.
His current projects range from a five-foot sculpture of Gen. George S. Patton, created for a Houston area businessman, to an additional bronze eagle with a nine-foot wing span commissioned by Stephen F. Austin High School. The high school monument was designed to honor a former student, killed in the Pentagon attack on September 11th. In addition, Ed sculpted a life-size scene in bronze of a family of wolves, a male and female with two pups, for Langham Creek High School in Houston.
The casting is of his most favored piece, a twenty-six inch replica of the nine-foot eagle, holding the American flag in his talons as he is about to land atop a rocky cliff. A symbol of patriotism for those who view it, the sculpture has been named the "American Spirit".