By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item
BEAVERTOWN — Altoona artist Chuck LaMark is getting a second chance to honor Monkee Davy Jones, his music idol, with a life-size statue to be unveiled next June in the late singer’s adopted hometown in western Snyder County.
The first version was a bit of a disappointment to fans and LaMark, who blamed the imperfect end result on his poor choice of materials.
“I used oil-based clay this time instead of water-based clay and it’s much easier to work with,” he said.
LaMark, who is doing the work for free, will coat the statue with a synthetic material that costs about $2,000 — or one-tenth the price of bronzing — and deliver it to Beavertown next June when an annual celebration in Jones’ memory is planned. Jones died at 66 in February 2012.
The statue is destined to be displayed in a former church Jones purchased years ago with plans to convert it into a community center or theater in the small town where he owned a home and raised horses for more than 20 years.
Using photographs of Jones at the height of his popularity in the late 1960s, LaMark aims to capture the singer’s exuberance in clay.
“I think I know his face better than his mother did,” he said.
Keeping Jones’ memory alive is LaMark’s focus. He briefly met the singer at one of his concerts in Pittsburgh six months before his death and became an instant fan.
Since then, LaMark has met other avid Jones admirers, including Thomas Rigel, of Beavertown, who called the singer a friend of 27 years.
After LaMark’s disappointing statue unveiling last summer, he had no hesitation about what he would do with the art piece. “When you make a statue of Davy Jones, it’s kind of like a flag or a cross. You don’t throw it away,” LaMark said of his decision to give it to Rigel.
Rigel now has the statue in his garage as he works to repair the cracks and smooth out the features. He even found a vintage tambourine on e-Bay that he’ll attach to it.
“I just couldn’t see the statue getting scrapped. It’s art,” he said.
All four of Jones’ daughters attended the memorial celebration last June and his youngest child, Annabel, wept as LaMark’s unfinished statue was unveiled to the sound of about 250 fans singing one of her father’s hits, “Daydream Believer.”
The four women said they would attend the 2014 celebration and LaMark said he’s grateful for a second chance to get it right. “Next time, all four of Davy’s daughters will be in tears (of joy),” he said.