Edward M. Brownlee

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Edward Malcolm Brownlee (1929-2013) was an American sculptor known for his modernist architectural creations with a style influenced by the art of Oceania, Asia, and the Pacific Northwest. [1] He is best known for his work in Hawaii, where he was a frequent collaborator with architect Pete Wimberly.[2]


"Mick" Brownlee was born in Portland, Oregon, on April 23, 1929, and grew up there on the west side in a dilapidated neighborhood where he found many remnants of building materials lying about and began making constructions from them. He joined the Army after three years of high school and was stationed overseas in occupied Japan working as a topographer. Brownlee received his formal education at Oregon State University and at the California College of Arts and Crafts. In 1954, he became the first recipient of a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Hawaii. The Hawaii chapter of the American Institute of Architects recognized Brownlee with a special award for “outstanding contributions of art to architecture”.

He is known for doing many of the carvings for Donn Beach at his restaurants and for the original International Market Place,[3] as well as at many other buildings across Hawaii.[4][5][6][7]

Brownlee wrote an article titled Art: The Complete Education, and it talks about his standpoint on how art is something that can't be taught. If it is taught, it is not taught by artists, but rather by another teacher. He makes a standpoint that this type of teaching does not teach children to stand out and be a leader, an exemplar, or develop artistic abilities. It teaches everyone to do the same thing everyone else is doing.[8]

He maintained a studio on the Oregon Coast and worked in carved stone and cast bronze until his death on November 24, 2013.


Brownlee’s monumental sculptures may be found in Alaska, Oregon, British Columbia, Fiji, and Hawaii. In Honolulu, Hawaii, they are located at the Ala Moana Center, the Honolulu International Airport, River Street Mall, the library of Punahou School, and Orvis Auditorium at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. The 19 foot cast stone sculpture T'sung is typical of his outdoor sculptures. The Honolulu Museum of Art and the Hawaii State Art Museum are among the public collections holding work by Edward M. Brownlee. Some of his works can be viewed online at the Public Art Archive.[9]


  1. ^ "Obituary of Edward Malcolm Mick Brownlee". tillamookheadlightherald.com. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Sculptor paved way for state arts agency". Honolulu Star-Advertiser: A24. Dec 20, 2013. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  3. ^ Bitner, Arnold (2001). Hawai'i Tropical Rum Drinks by Don the Beachcomber. Honolulu: Mutual Publishing.
  4. ^ "Island Idol Sculptor". Paradise of the Pacific. Holiday Edition: 56. 1958.
  5. ^ "Royal Kona Resort hosts second annual Tiki Festival". westhawaiitoday.com. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  6. ^ "Waikikian". tikiarchitecture.blogspot.com. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  7. ^ "RIP Mick Brownlee". tikiroom.com. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  8. ^ Brownlee, Edward M. (December 1967). "Art: The Complete Education". Educational Perspective: 5–8.
  9. ^ "Public Art Archive". publicartarchive.org. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  • Haar, Francis and Neogy, Prithwish, "Artists of Hawaii: Nineteen Painters and Sculptors", University of Hawaii Press, 1974, 26-33.
  • Radford, Georgia and Warren Radford, "Sculpture in the Sun, Hawaii's Art for Open Spaces", University of Hawaii Press, 1978, 92.
  • Yoshihara, Lisa A., Collective Visions, 1967-1997, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, Honolulu, Hawaii, 1997, 140-141.