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Thursday, June 4, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Elmira artist one of those feeling the “Bern”

Brent Schreiber a booster of Bernie Sanders, the subject of a portrait he sent to the Vermont senator during 2016 campaign

After leaving 15 years in the advertising world behind him, Brent Schreiber set out on a new path, and followed his passion to create artwork.

Today the Elmira man is more than 40 pieces into his current series ‘Listen,’ an exploration of faith through the figure in the portrait that he has been working on for more than four years.

While he has created many pieces for this series and is now internationally recognized for his work, one of the best moments for him came three years ago after he sent one of his paintings to American politician Bernie Sanders.

During the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Schreiber painted a portrait of the Democratic Party candidate, and decided to send it to the Vermont senator.

While he thought he may get a form letter or something similar back, what he got instead was a personal note from Sanders thanking him for the work he did.

It blew me away, he’s an interesting looking guy, so as a lark I thought I’d send it to him, and about six months later I got a personalized letter – that was the last thing I expected, said Schreiber.

“I’m a Canadian without a vote to cast in the States, you know, for him to take the time to do that … blows me away.”

The inspiration for the painting came from Sanders’ message during the campaign, with which Schreiber says he could identify.

“I was always very politically and civically apathetic … and I just really liked what he had to say,” he explained of the motivation behind the painting.

Today, Sanders’ message continues to be a resonating factor in American politics.

Currently he is facing off against former vice-president Joe Biden for the nomination of the Democratic Party and the chance to face Donald Trump for the White House this fall.

For Schreiber, his support of the candidate has not changed and he believes he has a much better chance this time around.

“I think what resonated was his authenticity and the fact his platform was so different from an American political point of view,” said Schreiber. “It definitely has more of a Canadian/ European set of social principals. In regards to his 2020 run for the Democratic nomination I’m obviously biased – I feel the same way about his platform and the manner in which he carries himself. I hope he does well.”

Schreiber says the extra four years has given Sanders time to build upon his message and whether he wins or not, he has been an agent for change drawing attention to issues such as health care, education and the right to a reasonable standard of living.

He says he has no current plans to paint a Canadian politician, but he does plan on continuing the ‘Listen’ series until he no longer feels like there’s more to say.

Schreiber has multiple upcoming shows this year, starting with one at OBJX studio which runs from March 15 to April 15. The Westland Gallery represented artist will also host a show in June.

His drawings can range from $500 to $1,000 and paintings from $1,000 to $10,000.

For more information on his artwork visit his website.

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