Patricia Casola shares memories of growing up in Coney Island in the 1950s and '60s as the daughter of artist Dan Casola (1902-1990). She recalls her father as a "tinkerer" and "a self-taught individual" who learned by doing. Among his clients were Freddie Garms, the owner of the Wonder Wheel and Spook-A-Rama, and Lillie Santangelo of the World in Wax Musee. The Casola family lived at 2856 Stillwell Avenue in a house rented from Santangelo where the artist had an upstairs and a downstairs workshop and also worked in the yard. There was also a secret studio behind Spook-A-Rama, where Patricia and her brother Wesley would bring him dinner.
Artist Dan Casola moved to Arizona in the late 1970s and was in his eighties when he passed away in 1990. Remembered as a highly regarded painter of sideshow banners, the fact that he did work for Spook-A-Rama and the World in Wax Musee remained unknown until now. The Cyclops along with documentation of the artist who created the iconic sculpture and its mesmerizing human eye will be on the display at the Coney Island History Project this season.