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Anna Kern

hammering man northpark

Jonathan Brofosky, Hammering Man, 1984-1985, painted steel plate, cort-ten steel, and motor

Jonathan Borofsky’s Hammering Man depicts the profile of a seemingly anonymous worker with a bent head and motorized arm hammering away at his work. The repeated hammering motion reminds us of the tedious tasks of assembly line-workers, but can also be seen as a nod to Borofsky who, as an artist, considers himself to always be thinking, working, and creating.

The larger-than-life figure can be seen in many of Borofsky’s artworks. The artist states, “the Hammering Man is a giant, and it goes back to my childhood. I liked to sit on my father’s lap and have him tell me giant stories—especially about friendly giants.”

Did you know?

Although the large figure in Hammering Man appears anonymous, its face is actually based off of the artist’s profile. Instead of a signature, Borofsky “signs” each work with a number; in Hammering Man, the numbers can be found on the foot of the figure.

numbers on hammering man

Let's Create! 



Hammering Man template print-out (download here)
Paper or cardboard*
Glue, hot glue, and/or tape*
popsicle sticks
Paint or markers


1. Cut it out - Carefully cut out each item on the Hammering Man template which consists of two sides of the Hammering Man sculpture, and movable hammering arm (you will need to cut out the small circle on this arm). For the DIY paper hinge, cut along each line and fold in the sides with the two arrows. The blank circle which will be your “cover” for the hinge.

2. Trace and cut out - This step is optional. The thicker the paper, the easier the sculpture will stand up on its own. If you have cardboard or thicker paper (we used a file folder for ours), trace each item from step one (except the paper hinge) and cut it out once again.

3. Time to decorate - Paint or color the paper parts!* We painted ours a dark gray, similar to the Hammering Man on view at NorthPark. If using paint, take some time to let the paper dry.

4. Put it together - Fold each rectangle base of the two Hammering Man cut outs. Glue two popsicle sticks on one side of the hammering men and then glue the two sides together. Take your paper hinge and put it through the small hole in the hammering arm. Glue just the paper brad portion to the sculpture—you want to make sure the arm can still move! Glue the circle “cover” on top of the paper hinge. For extra structure, you can glue popsicle sticks on the bottom of the sculpture to help it stand.


*Hot glue works best in general, but especially for the popsicle sticks; feel free to use tape if you prefer.

*This is your sculpture! Get creative. Feel free to decorate and color yours in any way. Choose your favorite color or pattern. Borofsky made his sculpture personal by incorporating his profile in the silhouette—you can make yours personal too!