Henry "Hank" Banks Biography


Henry "Hank" Banks was a versatile artist whose work is noted for its deep rapport with the natural world.  He studied in New York City, Atlanta and Washington D.C.  In 1960, after 25 years' experience in producing murals, portraits and sculpture, the appeal of island life brought Hank, with his wife and children, to live on Key Biscayne.

Hank had enjoyed a many-faceted artistic career before moving to Key Biscayne. As a former aerial photographer for the U. S. Naval Intelligence Photographic Unit, he would later entertain friends on the Island with humorous tales of his spying experiences.  He worked in facial restoration and prosthesis at the U. S. Naval Medical Center, lifting morale by molding temporary noses and ears for patients waiting permanent plastic surgery. Included in his many other accomplishments, he created and produced a remote control puppet show for ABC, designed Mark Twainland on Stone Mountain, contributed to the Washington Post and was editorial artist for the Knoxville Journal.

On Key Biscayne Hank became an Island mainstay, with his humorous artistic touch and contributions to community projects. He designed award-winning floats for the Key Biscayne Fourth of July parades and supervised their construction by Island volunteers of all ages.  For the community theatre he created sets and artwork for flyers and programs.  At Halloween, he delighted children and grownups with the annual Haunted House at the Key Biscayne Bank. In Miami, Hank designed Orange Bowl floats and created the massive cobra mascot for South Miami High School.

Prior to his death in 1992 the Chamber of Commerce honored Mr. Banks with a surprise reception and a "This is Your Life" video presentation in appreciation of his many contributions to enriching life on his chosen Island.  Most of his paintings and sculpture were destroyed in Hurricane Andrew shortly after his death.