The Austrian Oak Meets James O’Neal’s Oak!
Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 11:51AM
Ryan Gillen in Amanda Rosenblatt of TAFs, arnold classic, exclusive, interviews

James O’Neal, a very talented wood carving artist, spoke to TheArnoldFans at the Arnold Sports Festival. James is based out of New Jersey, where he uses reclaimed wood to make his insane pieces. The Arnold piece, in particular, is made froO’Neal:m black oak, took 6 months to complete, and was admired in person by Arnold himself during the show! We obviously had to chat with him about his epic, life-sized carving of Arnold, circa his Pumping Iron days. Read on to hear more about his work and his favorite Arnold movies! 

TAF: I see this amazing wood carving behind you. How long did it take to create that?

O’Neal: Just over six months, start to finish.

TAF: How long have you been attending the Arnold Classic/Sports Festival? Is this your first time?

O’Neal: This is actually our first time here. 

TAF: How much of an undertaking is it to bring your sculptures here to this show?

O’Neal: It’s a lot of work. The total weight of all five pieces behind me is about 1400 pounds. We drove about 500 miles to get them here.

TAF: That’s amazing! How do you source the wood to be able to sculpt these pieces?

O’Neal: It’s all found wood, local to where we live in New Jersey. Any time a tree comes down, I’ll see if I can get it. 

TAF: Are you enjoying your time here at the show? 

O’Neal: I’m having a great time. Great crowd. My favorite event has been Arnold coming by yesterday morning to see the statue.

TAF: Especially since he said he was going to come by today and he came by yesterday. Talk about the true element of surprise! I have to ask, because you took all that time to sculpt the Arnold statue – what’s your favorite Arnold movie?

O’Neal: That’s a good question, wow! I always liked the Conan movie that I saw back when I was a kid. The Expendables are good, Kindergarten Cop was always a favorite. Yeah, I like a lot of his [films]. 

For his next bodybuilder sculpture which he’ll complete, he promises us a Franco Columbu! Check out O’Neal’s other wood sculptures including his current Rocky Balboa in development by going to his Facebook page HERE!


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