Windsor sculptor’s heavyweight challenge: Create Phliadelphia’s Joe Frazier statuePHOTO PROVIDED
Windsor sculptor Lawrence Nowlan has been commissioned to create an 8-foot bronze statue of the late boxing legend Joe Frazier. Nowlan grew up in the Philadelphia area during Frazier’s boxing career and the design seen here is inspired by Frazier’s left-hand hook that knocked down Muhammad Ali in Ali vs. Frazier I, “The Fight of the Century” in 1971.
WINDSOR — A Vermont sculptor is taking on a heavyweight challenge for the city of Brotherly Love.
Lawrence Nowlan, of Windsor, was recently commissioned by the city of Philadelphia to create a life-size statue of the late boxing great Joe Frazier. Nowlan is a renowned sculptor from Merion, Pa., who created bronze statues of former Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Harry Kalas and the Wildland Firefighters National Monument in Boise, Idaho.
A Joe Frazier Statue Committee was launched last summer and Nowlan was among eight sculptors short-listed for the project. Nowlan found out he was selected in late April and said the feeling is “surreal” that he will be re-creating a legendary sports figure he grew up following.
“From a sculptor and fan’s standpoint, it’s a dream come true,” Nowlan said. “Growing up in the Philadelphia area, we were all big Joe Frazier fans. He’s a good representation of what Philadelphia stands for: tough, hard-working and determined.”
Nowlan selected an iconic image of Frazier that many boxing fans remember. The image is taken from the first fight between Frazier and Muhammad Ali in 1971 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, best remembered as “The Fight of the Century.”
According to Nowlan, the statue will have Frazier’s famous left hook that knocked Ali down in the 15th and final round. Frazier’s body is torqued, extending his left arm out and his right hand is held back for his follow-up punch.
Frazier is on his toes, moving forward with his head up high and eyes wide open. Nowlan said the statue will be cast in bronze, stand 8 feet high and weigh up to 800 pounds. The statue will stand outside the XFinity Live! Sports Complex in South Philadelphia.
“It’s an absolutely beautiful pose,” Nowlan said.
Nowlan estimates it may take a year to build, but he will meet with the Joe Frazier statue committee in June to discuss a timeframe. He also has other pieces to finish before he can begin the Frazier statue.
Nowlan is finishing up a bronze wildcat statue for Kimball Union Academy in Meriden, N.H. The statue is now being cast at Campbell Plaster and Iron in West Rutland and will be unveiled at the school June 1.
So far, Nowlan has created an 18-inch preliminary model of Frazier and he is now working on a 36-inch rendition. Once the 36-inch rendering is done, he then begins the work on the final version.
Nowlan said every piece takes a lot of research and preparation. Once he has all the relevant information, the sculpting becomes the easy part.
Nowlan said he didn’t have to go far to find the perfect image of Frazier and he said he is happy there will be a statue honoring the boxing legend who made Philadelphia famous.
“I’m focusing on all of his strengths in the ring. I’m looking forward to signing off on it and getting started,” Nowlan said.
For more information visit www.frazierstatue.com or www.ljnsculpture.com.
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