Meet the sculptor who created Hoboken, NJ’s new Frank Sinatra statue
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On Dec. 12, Frank Sinatra would have turned 106 years old. To celebrate Ol Blue Eyes', Sinatra's hometown of Hoboken will be unveiling a life-sized bronze statue of him, courtesy of an internationally acclaimed sculptor.
Carolyn Palmer, who has a main studio in Saddle River, has been sculpting since 2000.
She said her personal inspiration for doing the statue came from her love of Sinatra's music, movies, videos, and photographs.
Palmer said Hoboken officials approached her about doing a sculpture of Sinatra after seeing a picture of the statues of the four popes she sculpted on the cover of Catholic Magazine.
Hoboken does not have a sculpture of Frank Sinatra, said Palmer. Since the Hollywood legend was born there, the city felt it needed a sculpture of him so the bronze piece will be placed in Frank Sinatra Park, near the amphitheater overlooking the Manhattan Skyline on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Palmer is thrilled to have been given the opportunity to create such an iconic masterpiece.
"It's an honor and also a challenging position to be in because you know you must perform in a way that will make everybody feel that it's the Frank that they remember," Palmer said.
While some people might see Sinatra as holding a drink in his hand with a cigarette, Palmer decided to portray him tipping his hat and leaning against a lamppost.
"Frank always said to have his hat tilted sideways, showed attitude," Palmer said.
It took her more than a year to create the sculpture.
First, she had to build the armature or the skeleton – the bones of what goes under the clay. On top of the skeleton, she built it up with foams and clays and then she sculpted it until she was happy with the details.
Following that is the mold. After the mold, there is a lost-wax casting process to make it a bronze. Palmer said a hollow wax duplicate must also be done. That hollow part is then brought to the foundry where there is a lot of engineering behind it.
From where Sinatra stands to the top of his hat, is about 6 feet tall. Palmer said she made the piece taller than life-sized, since Sinatra was actually 5 feet, 7 inches. But he wore elevated shoes which shot him up another 2 inches.
Palmer also put a pinky ring on Sinatra that he always wore. Sinatra's daughter sent her one of his rings so she could include that in her piece.
Sinatra's closest friends and family will be on hand for the unveiling Sunday. His daughter Tina Sinatra, Saturday Night Live alum and comedian Joe Piscopo, New York Tenor Christopher Macchio, and many others will take part in the celebration. Members of Sinatra's School of Music will be performing some of his classics such as "Fly Me to the Moon" and "Come Fly with Me."
Palmer's bronze sculptures have captivated millions with her famous replacement statue of Lucille Ball's "Scary" Lucy a few years ago, which appears in the comedienne's hometown of Celeron, New York.
From FDR to Pope Francis, Palmer's larger-than-life figures appear in prestigious museums and other prominent places throughout the country, such as St. Patrick's Cathedral, the FDR Presidential Library & Museum, and the Papal Residency in New York City.
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