Sponsored by Oregon Business

Arnold Schwarzenegger cast in bronze in Oregon

| Print |  Email
Articles - December 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Tim Parks wears the cast arms he created for the bronze statues of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
// Photo by Sam Summers
By Dan Cook

Tim Parks does not impress easily. The founder and owner of TW Bronze in Enterprise comes across as laid back and unpretentious. But even Parks felt a bit of a thrill when Arnold Schwarzenegger rode shotgun with him to take a tour of his bronze foundry in September.

“Yeah, it was pretty cool giving Arnold a lift,” he admits.

Here’s how Parks got hooked up with the former body builder-turned-California-governor: Schwarzenegger commissioned three statues of himself in a body-building pose, one of which was to be displayed in a museum in his hometown of Thal, Austria. Idaho artist Ralph Crawford, who had met Parks at a show, created the clay model for the statue. “He asked around about foundries to cast the statue, and the fingers kept pointing at me,” Parks says.

Parks got the gig and got to work casting Schwarzenegger’s image in “heroic” fashion — meaning somewhat larger than life. It took 14 separate molds to cast the 25 pieces that were then welded together to bring Schwarzenegger to bronze life.

Once the statue was completed, Schwarzenegger wanted to inspect it. He flew into La Grande in his private jet, and Parks was there to collect him and drive him to his studio. “He spent about an hour and half here, inspecting the statue and touring the foundry,” Parks says. “He liked it a lot.”

Parks says he got a fair amount of notoriety from Schwarzenegger’s visit, but casting heroic statues of celebrities is not what pays the bills at TW Bronze. Most of his customers are working artists, and the pieces he casts for them are much smaller. Parks himself is a bronze artist and casts his own work for sale. He says he often puts in 60-hour weeks during peak production season. An order like Schwarzenegger’s is great for the foundry’s reputation but isn’t representative of 90% of its output.

Wallowa County is well known for its local artists, and is a center for bronze-casting foundries such as TW Bronze. Parks and his two brothers moved to Joseph 27 years ago to work for Valley Bronze of Oregon, then left to start Parks Bronze. They went their separate ways, with Tim founding TW Bronze and brother Steve staying at the helm of Parks Bronze. Tourists motoring through Joseph have doubtless seen examples of the Parks Brothers’ among the many pieces of public art on display in the town.

The statue was officially unveiled by Schwarzenegger in Thal on Oct. 7, but Parks wasn’t on hand for the ceremony. “I thought about going, but it just didn’t pencil out,” he says. “I gotta spend $3,000 just to get there to see it in place? I couldn’t see it. And the timing was all wrong — I’m just too busy.” Busy casting, among other orders, the next two Schwarzenegger statues.


More Articles

Seven questions about mandatory sick leave

Contributed Blogs
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
102815-contributedthumbBY DIANE BUISMAN

Many employers have questions about what mandatory sick leave means for their company. Take a look at the top 7 questions Oregon employers are asking.


Photo Log: #TillamookSmile

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015
103015-cheesethumbBY CHRIS NOBLE | ART DIRECTOR

Against a changing backdrop Patrick Criseter’s infectious grin remained constant. It’s a cheesy (pun intended) beam that begs for a hashtag.


The death and life of American cities

Linda Baker
Monday, November 02, 2015
housingoldpdx thumbBY LINDA BAKER

The hollowing out of the American city is now a bona fide cultural meme.  Newspapers, magazines and digital media sites are publishing story after story about the morphing of urban grit and diversity into bastions of wealth and commodity culture.


5 facts about the teaching profession in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, October 08, 2015

Based on several metrics, Oregon has one of the lowest performing K-12 education systems in the country. Teacher compensation is part of the problem.



November/December 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The world's second-largest wind energy project yields costs and benefits for a sheep-farming family in Eastern Oregon.


Insurance pulse: health care and Export-Import banks

Linda Baker
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
111715-healthcarelindathumbBY LINDA BAKER

The past month has been marked by upheaval in the health insurance markets. I also check in on clients of the Export-Import bank, a federal credit agency that subsidizes, and insures, foreign exports.


Meet Me at the Crossroads, ESPN

The Latest
Friday, October 30, 2015

Worldwide Leader in Sports struggles to cope with new media landscape, forcing us to adjust our behavior as consumers.

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02