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Copper & Brass
Wednesday | 30 May, 2012 | 1:26 pm

Bronze bodybuilder

By Julie Sammarco

Metal artist recreates Arnold Schwarzenegger statue out of bronze

June 2012 - Tim Parks, owner of TW Bronze, Enterprise, Ore., is responsible for making the 8-foot-tall bronze Arnold Schwarzenegger statue that was unveiled in March at Columbus, Ohio’s Veterans Memorial.

TW Bronze specializes in art sculpture. “We mostly do bronze but have done lots of silver sculptures as well,” says Parks. “We’ve also done some aluminum castings.”

Parks made a mold of artist Ralph Crawford’s original statue. Crawford made the piece for Schwarzenegger.

“Arnold had to be done in many parts—about 30 parts total,” he says. After using silicon rubber molds to make an exact duplicate of the sculpture, Parks pours wax patterns to get the details. Wax patterns are dipped in a slurry solution, sanded and dried up to 10 times, building a shell. The wax is then burned out, leaving the shell and all details of the statue. Bronze is then poured in, cooled and solidified and cut into manageable pieces for fabrication work.

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Most projects take approximately two months to complete from the time the customer puts in an order, as was the case with the Schwarzenegger statue.

Parks’ statue was made mostly from bronze he gets from a foundry in California. The company alloys the material for him, which makes it easier to use in artistic applications. “It’s silicon bronze,” says Parks. “To be exact, it’s made from about 95 percent copper. It’s 94.26 percent copper, 4.2 percent silicon, 1.19 percent manganese with traces of lead, zinc, iron and nickel.”

Bronze is the most popular metal for sculptures because of its strength and lack of brittleness, according to the Ringling Museum of Art. Copper is also popular for similar reasons.

There are roughly seven copies of this statue all over the world. The statue, a molding of the original statue in Austria, shows Schwarzenegger striking a typical bodybuilder pose, flexing his muscles and leaning forward.

Back story
The 8-foot-tall statue of the movie star, fitness icon and former California governor during his bodybuilding heyday in the 1970s was installed in Columbus to commemorate Schwarzenegger’s ongoing commitment to that city.

For the last 24 years, Arnold Sports Festival has been held in Columbus. This year, the event was expected to bring 170,000 people to Columbus and pump more than $42 million into the local economy.

According to a report by The Columbus Dispatch, Schwarzenegger said he was proud to have the statue installed at the center because it represents not only his long history with the city—he won his first Mr. World title on the Veterans Memorial stage in Columbus in 1970—but also because the building is dedicated to military veterans.

He promised to continue to hold the sports festival in Columbus even as plans are made to expand it to cities around the world. “I’ll be back,” he said.

For Parks, this was an exciting opportunity for him and for the small Oregon town he works in. “I picked up Arnold from the airport for the very first sculpture,” he says. “Arnold flew into La Grande/Union County Airport because our airport wasn’t big enough for this plane. We don’t even have a traffic light in our county.”

Parks drove the 65 miles from Enterprise to the airport where he picked up Schwarnezegger and brought him back to the foundry to check it out.

“Not a lot of people can say they got to spend a few hours with him ... and make a statue of him,” he says. MM

 

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