PUNXSUTAWNEY — Local Artist Kelly Porada unveiled the newest Phantastic Phil, this one for the Punxsutawney Borough Police Department, with an added furry creature next to Phil.
Porada accepted the projects of refurbishing the old McDonalds Phantastic Phil into the police department’s Phil about a year ago. While considering the project, she began to think about how to represent the new K-9 Officer Fury with the statue as well.
“I talked my husband into trying to see if he could do the fiberglass thing, and we figured that out, so now we’re the new fiberglass constructors,” Porada said.
Initially the only addition to the statue was the police hat on top of Phil’s head, but after some thought and talking with her husband, Critter Porada, the pair decided they would try constructing a police dog to stand next to him.
She said they started constructing, and as the dog started to take shape, she got more excited.
“He does the hard part. He works hard at it. I can envision it and I can do the shape and all that, but then he does all the sanding and fine tuning,” Porada said.
The first time the pair used fiberglass was when Porada was working on the firemen’s Phil. They added a firefighter’s helmet to the Phil, which Critter was familiar with as he is a local volunteer firefighter. They had never worked with fiberglass before this.
She said with fiberglass, they have to form a shape out of a base, then use the fiberglass to make the hardened shell. Then it has to be sanded and primed for the painting process.
Porada said she and her husband worked on the project over winter, then took a break, and then got back to it over the summer. She realized it would be done during the Festival in the Park, which she said was great to be able to unveil it to a group of people.
She said she searched on the internet for photos of fury, police, and Punxsutawney-specific emblems to ensure the details of Phil represented the department.
With the addition of a police dog, she told the police they might need a larger cement pad than what was there. About a week before the statue was placed, police Chief Matt Conrad got to work and had the borough crew down to make the pad larger.
“It was cool for people to see what was added to it,” Porada said.
Now that their capabilities with fiberglass have been shown, she has had two more projects come to her that she and Critter are working on.
The Porada’s have a large garage that they do the work on the Phil statues in. Porada’s focus is typically on painting, so this new shift into creating her own 3-D art has been a new experience for her.
“I told him (Critter) it’d be cool to tackle other projects and see if you can do it. We always try, and you figure it out in some way,” Porada said.
She said she looked things up online every step of the way because of how many methods and factors there are to fiberglass work. Porada said they’ve learned along the way and found easier ways as they work.
Porada said when Fury came out for the unveiling, he sat right down beside the statue K-9 officer.
She said she is blessed to live in a small town with such a major reputation, and that there’s always something new to work on.