Park Tower Profile
Laurie Shaman and Ed Hinkley, Artists “in Residence”
by Bob Shamo
The most interesting people live here. Take for instance Laurie Shaman and Ed Hinkley, Chicago artists and Park Tower residents. We met one crisp January morning to talk about their work, their lives together, and their many shared interests.
Laurie is a potter, Ed a painter. Each has a studio nearby, but as I learned that morning, their careers are multi-faceted and have developed from rich life experiences.
Ed is a Chicago boy, growing up at the southernmost tip of the city. Music and art were appreciated at home, and by age five he was drawing and painting in his own small “studio.” He attended Fenger High school, was interested in art and architecture, but found the class offerings uninteresting. To this day, Ed is a self-taught artist.
Laurie comes from Dayton, Ohio. She, too, drew as a preschooler, and her fascination with the arts grew in an afterschool program that she attended for five years. She remembers it as a rare and wonderful opportunity for kids from all over the city to develop interests in theater, dance, writing, music, art and the like. She took many classes and, as she remembers, “living there as much as at home.”
Needed at home, Ed stayed in Chicago after high school, taking some college courses, working part time, and painting as time allowed. One definitive opportunity started modestly but grew to be a full-time job. During his twenties, Ed traveled throughout the Midwest to appraise and sell property owned by the Illinois Central Railroad.
He left corporate life In the late 1970’s to pursue painting full time, moved into an historic artist residence in Old Town and, a few years later, began exhibiting work locally and nationally.
Looking to add another dimension to his work, he enrolled about this time in the University of Chicago’s Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults. Years later Laurie would follow Ed in that same four-year program, which they credit now with broadening their general knowledge of classical texts and informing their work as artists.
After high school, Laurie attended Webster University in St. Louis, where she received her art degree. Her painting and pottery professors were mentors, and to this day they remain very close.
Upon graduation, she accepted a position with the Wisconsin Art Board, living in Madison but traveling throughout the state to oversee the creation of public art works. She loved the work and for the next ten years combined it with her own pottery career and another major passion, theater.
In 1988, and seeking new opportunities, Laurie moved to Chicago. She and Ed met in French class at the Alliance Francais on Dearborn Street. She was refreshing her conversational skills, and he was preparing for a trip to France where he would paint and study.
Ed’s trip got postponed, but the two found themselves to be soul mates. They’ve been together ever since, living first at his artist residence in two large, skylit lofts overlooking the city.
At the time, Laurie’s studio was at Lillstreet Art Center, where, concurrently, she also served as education and gallery director for twelve years. Later, she was to work at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Museum Education department.
Ed and Laurie moved to Park Tower in 2000. Location was key — near both the Lake and the Red Line — as was our pool and Health Club. Indoor parking and elevators were also very important, as they had just relocated their elderly mothers to the city.
Laurie’s current ceramics studio is at the corner of Irving Park and Ravenswood. She produces vessels, tiles and drawings, while also working full-time as a senior administrative assistant to executives at the Federal Reserve Bank on LaSalle Street.
The Ed Hinkley Studio is on N. Western Avenue near the intersection with Belle Plaine. Besides painting there, Ed also teaches small classes in watercolor and oil. His students pursue subjects of their own choosing and, over time, seem to regard Ed as their mentor. Workshops are another teaching interest, and he gives one each summer in England.
Both artists exhibit at galleries throughout the Midwest and show their work at open houses here in their Chicago studios. They accept residencies, receive grants, contribute to juries and panels .. and welcome commission inquires.
Diversity and excellence, on display at Park Tower!
These paintings by Ed Hinkley are mixed media on paper (left) and oil on canvas (right).
Below are hand-built porcelain vessels with original, drawn imagery using ceramic stains By Lauire Shaman