Hans Blank was born in Wormerveer, The Netherlands. He attended the Royal Academy of Expressive Visual Arts in Amsterdam under professors Grégoire, Hund and Esser. In 1975, Hans received the URIOT award for his oeuvre.
Hans came to Ireland in 1990 seeking inspiration from Ireland’s rich history and Celtic mythology. Working primarily in bronze, his pieces depict subjects including St. Brendan’s voyage, Viking ships and Irish fishermen with their Curraghs. He engaged Celtic symbolism and metaphor to unveil the mystery of his subject matter while maintaining a sense of the magical. While Hans addressed all manner of subjects, he found the most inspiration from subjects related to the sea. His pieces maintain a consistent maritime character – a quality that Hans achieved by studying shipwrecks, dike workers, lifeboats, trawler crews, fishermen and various other nautical themes. The result is sculptural bronze pieces that are powerful and evocative, while still being accurately developed from a robust tradition which links Dutch and Irish tradition.
Hans was preoccupied by themes of archaism and decline seen in buildings, foundations, ships, wrecks, people, and materials falling into disrepair. He expressed these themes through primarily figurative representations in which details become secondary to form. Light and shadow bring forth contours that highlight the shape and movement of his subjects. Indeed, every finger impress appears to be in the right place and serves the right purpose.
Before commencing a large piece of sculpture Hans would make small sketches in order to define his ideas. He then would take his sketches to the bench where he transformed them into a three-dimensional rendering in block model wax which he used because of its limitless possibilities and contexts. Sometimes the actual material took over, almost becoming the subject matter. His style was a personal statement of an outward expression, which he said has roots in the visual world. It is a both cultural and national, while remaining deeply personal.