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When Art Meets TheArnoldFans!

Bodybuilding is art and nothing is better than seeing an artist paint/sculpt a unique painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Every month we seek artists to share their work with us and love to hear their story on what inspires them. 

Our first artist is Silvia Schmidt “Topenga” from Germany.

TAFs: Hey Topenga, thank you for taking the time to interview with us. Tell us a little bit about yourself?

Topenga: Hi everybody, I am very glad for this opportunity, thank you! My name is Silvia Schmitt aka Topenga and I am a self-taught (coloured) pencil artist. I live in Friedberg, Germany with my husband Steven and my little Chihuahua girl Zelda :)

TAFs: We noticed you have some really great drawings including one famous one with Arnold smoking a cigar. How did it all start?

Topenga: My journey began in kindergarten. I was passionate about art and movies as long as I can remember. I depicted everything that fascinated me or what I loved and eventually found (coloured) pencil the best fit for my figurative works. Inspired by various artists, I developed the ambition to create photorealistic drawings in October 2014.

TAFs: What type of materials did you use for your drawings?

Topenga: I am working with artist colour pencils like Faber-Castell Polychromos, Prismacolor Premier or Caran d'Ache Luminance. The paper I am using is Bristol drawing board which is a very soft and smooth paper that is ideal for this kind of drawing technique.

TAFs: I saw that you met Arnold and he has seen your drawing of him. Tell us about your encounter with Arnold.

Topenga: It is still surreal to think about this enormous milestone in my life and I could not have achieved this without his best friend and actor Ralf Moeller. In 2016 he showed my drawing to Arnold while being on a skiing holiday with him in Sun Valley, Idaho. Arnold was immediately drawn to my artwork and wanted to meet me in Munich, Germany. He was very interested in my art, asked a lot of questions and took the time to look through my whole portfolio. At the end he even suggested taking a photo together. I will never forget this special day! And as if this was not enough, my favourite drawing is now part of Arnold's private art collection.

TAFs: I see that your work is going to be featured at the Arnold Schwarzenegger museum in Graz around his birthday. Do you know what date it will be featured exactly? This must be an honour.

Topenga: My artwork will be featured on 27 July 2019. Yes indeed, it is an enormous honour. For Arnold's birthday fans and friends organize a party every year at which an attraction is showcased to the guests and the press. This year my drawing will be presented and placed in the museum. I feel blessed that I was chosen and that my drawing will soon be one of the exhibits.

TAFs: Do you have any future projects regarding Arnold art?

Topenga: I have at least three ideas for further artworks. One of them is already in the making and is Predator themed. I am also attracted to the world of bodybuilding and of course I am always open for suggestions ;)

TAFs: What are your top three Arnold Schwarzenegger movies?

Topenga: Wow, that is a tough call, because there are so many good ones. But if I have to pick I choose Terminator 2, Predator and Twins :) 

TAFs: Every year at the Arnold Sports Festival there is a Art of The Arnold competition. Is this something you’d be interested in?

Topenga: It is a great event and competition and I would love to be there, but actually only as a visitor. To be honest I am a pretty shy artist and I am not very good at performing live. I was already scared of my art teacher at school when she tried to look over my shoulder while I was working. Maybe there is another way for my art to be seen at the Arnold Sports Festival, it would be phenomenal in any case!

TAFs: Where can someone purchase a print of your artwork? Thank you and we look forward to seeing what you do next. 

Topenga: Most of my prints can be ordered in my Topenga online shop. The Arnold print is available in three different qualities: standard, high-quality and premium. If someone is interested in purchasing it, please write an email at 

Thank you for the great interview, it was a blast!

You can follow Topenga on the links below.





Do you have any Arnold Art you wanna share, we would love to hear about us. Contact us at 

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