CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Like a lot of guys, Scott Wise spends long hours in his garage, jamming out to music, while his hands stay busy.
"It could be Dean Martin, or it could be Metallica," said Wise, who lives in Clarksville. "I’m working and working, and this is over months."
But instead of cars, he's carving creations.
"The hardest part for me to ever do is a portrait because you know, it has to look like them," said Wise.
His garage doubles as his art studio, where he sculpts clay occasionally with tools but more often by hand.
"The best tools are your fingers and just a little wood tools," he said. "It’ll actually pick up in the molds. It’ll actually pick up your fingerprints."
That's fitting considering his fingerprints are all over statues that can be found in Downtown Clarksville. He's the artist behind statues at the Clarksville Fire Department and the John Montgomery statue in front of Clarksville City Hall. He also carved the likeness of Frank Sutton, the Clarksville-born actor who played Sgt. Carter in the TV show Gomer Pyle.
His most memorable work depicts a man reading the newspaper in front of the Montgomery County Courthouse, that marks the 1999 tornado that ripped through the Queen City.
"And that’s what the piece is called 'The Day After,'” said Wise.
But Scott isn't just a sculptor, he's also a Clarksville fireman and a huge Predators fan. That's why, kind of on a whim, he decided a few years ago to reach out to the Preds organization to see if he might be of service.
"I do sculptures, I’m a fan, I thought maybe we can get something going," he said.
But, Wise didn't hear back. At least not immediately. Then about a year later, he got the call that the Predators wanted star goalie Pekka Rinne to be forever enshrined in bronze in front of Bridgestone Arena.
"I mean I am a huge Preds fan, and Pekka for that matter. I just want it to be right. And I want everyone else to say it’s right. I hope they do," said Wise.
It only took Scott a few weeks to shape Pekka's body, but it took months to get his face just right.
"It’s facial features, just making sure they’re right. Because any little bit will just change everything. So that’s the hardest part, at least for me," he said.
After Scott finishes the clay model for the statue, the engraving is transferred into wax, rubber and then eventually bronze at a foundry in Indianapolis.
The Preds are keeping the final form of the statue under tight wraps, but we were able to carve out a few details. For one, Pekka will be wearing a mask raised above his face, but you will get to see his facial expression.
"Pekka is lifesize, of course, he is already 6’5,” and then he’s up on skates, up on a base and then another base," said Wise.
The rest will be a surprise when the statue is unveiled Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. Scott hopes the tribute to his team's favorite player will mean more coming from the hands of a true fan like him.
"It’s pretty overwhelming really, I’m proud of it," said Wise. "It’s just been an honor and I hope everyone enjoys it."