It’s a talent you develop and feel.

You know how a bat can fly around in the dark – he’s got a sonar.
Well, you have a built-in sonar that develops a sense for proportion
and by discipline you have trained yourself.  –Edward Chesney

In April 2008, the world lost a most unique and talented individual: Detroit-area sculptor Edward Chesney. With wood, stone, clay and bronze, he left his impression on many places and many people. His vast body of work includes portrait commissions for noted public figures, life-size bronze works, and larger than life-size heroic sculptures – the largest being 23 feet tall. And, of course, his personal studio creations, which speak to his never-ending flow of creativity. He was a true artist.

During his remarkable life he was a soldier, fine carpenter, wood carver, versatile artist and devoted husband and father. Ed was a very organized and disciplined man – traits that hail from his upbringing. He grew up on the Detroit east side nearly 80 years ago, the son of Polish immigrants who gave him the gift of faith, taught him the value of hard work, and the lasting beauty his talented hands could create.

After serving in World War II, Ed's hands went to work in wood. In fact he built a number of the beautiful staircases in some of the areas most fashionable homes. "At some point in woodworking, someone came to me and said I should take some sculpting lessons. There was a sculptor [in Detroit]; I studied with him for eight years."

Shortly after, Ed was off to Italy to study and learn what the masters had taught. When he came home again, he was not just Ed the woodworker; he was Ed the sculptor.

His artist hands have kept a marriage strong, raised a proud family, and brought timeless beauty to bronze carefully cast in his foundry. Ed's hands speak silently to all of us, from a towering fire-fighters monument to the gentle likeness of a well-loved Catholic priest in Detroit's Corktown, and the agony of his latest work: a tribute to a fallen soldier, which graces a quiet memorial in Ann Arbor. "That soldier wears your dog tags... Oh, yes. I felt I earned that. I was there and I felt very strongly about how I should portray this... The helmet is touching the ground and the strap is just looped over his index finger, which represents the fragility of life. I mean life is that fragile – even in our daily life."

Select sculptures are available for sale in limited editions. To learn more, or to request a free DVD about the life and work of Edward Chesney, contact Dean Chesney at 313.882.5772, or email

Explore Edward Chesney’s work