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Philip Hanna worked as an engineer for decades. In the late 1990s, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, artist Boyd Hanna. Boyd was a well-known wood engraving artist whose prints are owned by such prestigious institutions as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Library of Congress, and the Boston Library. Upon deciding that he wanted to become an artist, Philip attempted sculpture because of the tactile sensation of working with clay and his appreciation of three-dimensional shape. He started with a class in clay portrait and figure sculpture. After nine years experimenting in a variety of clay sculpting, he worked part-time in the Georgia Gerber Bronze Foundry on Whidbey Island. There, he learned the process of clay molding, pouring waxes, plaster investment, pouring bronze, welding, metal chasing, sand blasting, and patination. Philip enjoys bronze casting because of its ability to capture his artistic expression with a beauty and permanence not afforded by other mediums.
Philip is interested in the hidden qualities of his subjects. Crows, for instance, are not as revered as the eagle, but Philip chooses to sculpt the former because he is fascinated by their cleverness and strength. Philip often sculpts the human figure, especially portraits, because he feels that each face tells a story of a life that is completely foreign to his own. Through his work, he gives the viewer a face-to-face connection with that other life, and an opportunity to imagine another reality.
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