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Artist Shatters Glass to Create Striking Portrait of History-Making VP Kamala Harris

Shattered Glass Portrait of Kamala Harris by Simon Berger

Vice President Kamala Harris

Artist Simon Berger creates striking portraits by shattering glass. Sitting atop a fresh pane and brandishing a hammer, he makes strategic taps onto the surface to produce spider web-like motifs and render a three-dimensional form. The human face, for instance, is a perfect example of how this works. Anything in highlight—such as the forehead—is done by him striking the same part of the glass time and again. The fractured areas turn white and help convey a sense of form. Berger refers to this as “painting with targeted fine hits.”

The artist has spent years perfecting his approach. “The first glass picture was created in 2016 while experimenting,” Berger tells My Modern Met. “I was immediately enthusiastic about this possibility because I was always striving to find a new form of representation. I like creating beautiful things through destruction.”

Since that time, he’s created large-scale pieces that hang in galleries and adorn store windows. But one of his most exciting projects involved Vice President Kamala Harris. A shattered glass portrait of her was created by Berger in just one day and displayed at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in early 2021. This medium is particularly fitting for Harris as she shattered the proverbial glass ceiling by being the first female, first Black person, and first Asian American to hold the title of Vice President.

Scroll down to see a video of Berger producing Harris’ portrait as well as his other incredible works.

Artist Simon Berger creates shattered glass portrait art by strategically hitting each pane with a hammer.

Simon Berger Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Simon Berger Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Simon Berger Shattered Glass Portrait Art

Watch Berger create a portrait of Vice President Kamala Harris:

Simon Berger: Website | Instagram | Facebook

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Simon Berger. 

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Sculptor Ben Young on His Glass and Concrete Sculptures and Creative Process [Podcast]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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