Earl Hooks was among the most significant Black ceramic artists of the 20th Century and the founder of Studio A, one of the country's first Black owned and operated fine arts galleries in Gary, Indiana. Born August 2, 1927 in Baltimore, Earl Hooks received a BA degree from Howard University in 1949, attended Catholic University in Washington, DC from 1949-51 and then received graduate certificates from both Rochester Institute of Technology in 1954 and the School of American Craftsman in New York in ceramics in 1955. He served as both professor and chair of the art department at Fisk University from 1961-67.
Hooks gained recognition for his use of monochromatic forms that maximized the inherent properties of his materials - creating his quiet and somber sculptural works. Artist and art historian Amalia Amaki has described Hooks as "committed to portrayals related to the African American experience and creative techniques that emphasized his keen understanding of the relationships between balance, light, harmony and space."