I first met the very talented Emma Hack and her works at ART Sydney show a couple of years back. Wandering through her stand, I felt like grabbing most of her work then. But space and time constraints plus the fact that we were just going to move to France, made us defer the buying decision. We figured we would pick up some pieces once we had figured out exactly what we wanted. Bad mistake. Emma’s stunning images now command far higher prices than she did just a couple of years ago – but she is till a very good buy…
Catherine Lambert wrote in Sunday Herald Sun this January: Unique artist Emma Hack pops into focus thanks to Gotye “…As Australian pop singer Gotye hits No.1 in Germany with his song Somebody That I Used To Know, the artist who helped create his film clip is commanding top prices. Adelaide artist Emma Hack, 39, creates wallpaper body art and her work on the Gotye film clip helped attract 150 million hits on You Tube.
She is about to exhibit 30 of her works at Queenscliff’s Seaview Gallery and is now also represented by galleries in London, Singapore and New York. “I’ve been body painting for 22 years, starting my career as a make-up artist, but it has just recently taken off and I’m finally being taken seriously by the art world,” Hack said. “Since the song hit No.1 in Germany, the whole European market has opened up to me.”
Emma Bergmeier gave additional background on the Gotye video project on the Xpressmag site “…Though body painting and illustration was a niche market 22 years ago when Hack first began plying her trade, in 2011 there are plenty of folks interested in utilizing her skills, Gotye and Kimbra included.
“Natasha Pincus [the director of Gotye’s clip for Somebody That I Used To Know] contacted me and asked me if I would be interested in doing the clip. She’d seen my work and I think for me it was one of those situations where I only get the opportunity to do something like that once. I guess it really has exceeded all my expectations to be really quite honest with you. I always loved the song but it’s just gone crazy, everyone’s absolutely adoring it which is great! The video clip has had about a million views on Youtube which is fantastic, so yeah it’s great!”
[Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ Video has 171 Million Views and as at date has sold 4.5 Million! The song is now No. 1 on the US charts and has topped the pops in more than a dozen countries. The video is sprinting towards 200 million views on YouTube. It’s already hit 171 million and is clocking about 2 million views a day. By the time you’ve read this article, 10,000 more people will have seen it.
Anthony Wing Kosner deconstructs the video in Forbes magazine: “The video is refreshingly different as well. Unlike the standard sex and swag of contemporary pop music videos, the concept of this (it has one!) is as if Jasper John is painting on Veruschka, if you know your 20th century art history. It starts with the camera panning over the singers naked and almost hairless body. It’s intimate, but not sexual. This is a break-upsong. When the camera gets to Gotye’s face, he starts singing, but doesn’t look at us. When he sings the word, “die,” he finally makes eye contact. Clearly this is not going to be a love fest…” “… As the tone shifts, the painting which had just been confined to the wall behind him is now beginning to cover his skin. He is inside of the relationship and can’t get out. “Now you’re just somebody that I used to know,” he sings angrily, completely covered in paint, looking a bit like a muted, arty version of Ace Frehley from KISS.
Then we pull back from Gotye and see how he has become part of the painting behind him. As we pull out more we see that his girlfriend is also part of the painting with her back towards us. Then she turns her head and begins to sing, “Now and then I think of all the times you screwed me over,” the New Zealand singer Kimbra begins. And here’s the surprise that makes the song. We’re going to get to hear the other side of the story.
But not for long. Read more at Forbes magazine.]
Internationally recognised and award-winning Australian multi-media artist, painter and photographer, Emma is currently celebrating over two decades of body art and is Australia’s pioneer in the rapidly growing body art genre.
Through a combination of painting on canvas, body painting and studio-based photography, Emma’s works evoke a rich array of visual narrative and magical realism.
The reaction new viewers have to Emma’s work is usually one of intrigue. Drawn in by the exquisite designs and striking representations of animals, it is not long before there is the realization that a human form, a person, and/or an animal, is present in the work. And the questions arise: How does she do it? Surely it’s superimposed? How long does it take? Does the model really have to stand there the whole time? In the Daily Telegraph she said “The (wallpaper paintings) are a very painful experience. They take between eight and 15 hours to create and the model is literally standing in front of the wallpaper the whole time.” Internationally, body painting is a flourishing art form and Hack, who lives in Adelaide, believes this is partly because of its tribal connotations and partly because of the “voyeuristic element”. “People are fascinated by what they might not ordinarily see in regards to the body,” Hack said. “But I also think people like to look twice and the camouflage work has certainly been the driving force behind interest in my work.”
Emma Hack began exploring the notion of camouflage in 2005,, drawing inspiration from iconic model, Veruschka, who in the 1960s and 70s painted herself into rustic walls and naturalistic settings. When Emma discovered the iconic Florence Broadhurst range of wallpaper designs, it provided the perfect inspiration. Signature Prints, the publishers of the Broadhurst range, gave their blessing for Emma to not only use the designs, but granted her full access to the Florence Broadhurst archives of some 530 designs. So began the Wallpaper Collectionof images that span from 2005 to her recently launched collection in 2010. It was during this time that Emma began exhibiting her limited edition photographic images. Her first ever wallpaper camouflage took 19 hours straight to paint with more recent works taking anywhere from 8-15 hours, depending on the complexity of the design. It is an exhausting process for artist and subject alike; however the results are nothing short of spectacular. Emma’s highly anticipated 2010 Wallpaper Mandala collection featured 10 new images, expertly blending the female form into Broadhurst designs. This new collection was a further celebration of Emma’s skill and expertise, where she merges Broadhurst’s wallpaper designs together with her own gorgeous colour palettes.
She has panted numerous Australian celebrities, from Kristy Hinze, Todd McKenney, Antonia Kidman to Geoff Jansz and Maggie Beer and Vanessa Amorossi. Not on canvas, though, right on to their bodies. She also travels frequently overseas creating live installations for many launches and campaigns including Tiffany & Co in Dubai and Mont Blanc in Beijing.”
Spending hours painting Gotye and Kimbra isn’t all Hack’s been up to recently, with the artist also working hard preparing for her forthcoming exhibition featuring works from her Birds Of Prey and Wallpaper Mandala collections. “I started off doing a Mandala with native birds which I painted my own background for and then I did an exotic Mandala which used butterflies. The Wallpaper Mandala is more of a mix of Florence Broadhurst wallpapers and sometimes it’s the same wallpaper in different colour ways. So I’ve created a circle Mandala feel which is basically a spiritual circle that is created in the moment and basically with my work I don’t necessarily plan a lot of the work I do. For me it’s a feel thing, I like to create in the moment.
“Birds Of Prey revisits my love of animals and birds. I really wanted to work with a wedge tailed eagle, falcons and bring some owls back in. For these ones I created my own background to suit what I felt from the birds and the energy from the birds and I created these pieces back in April; they’ve been shown in Sydney, Adelaide and now in Perth. I’ve combined the two collections, they’re both very different in feeling but it’s always good to play and have a range of things.
She may have started her career as a face painter at kids’ parties many years ago but the artwork Emma Hack creates these days certainly isn’t child’s play. A body illustrator, photographer and all round creative spark, Emma Hack now spends her time adorning naked bodies with intricate, hand-painted designs, creating spectacular work that has to be seen to be believed.
“I was face painting kids when I was first at school earning extra pocket money on the weekend and at that stage there wasn’t a lot of face painting around so I was reasonably busy,” Hack explains of how she first got into body illustration. “Then I studied make-up as I was always interested in it and then my teacher said to me ‘why don’t you look at continuing what you are doing on the face down to the human body and form?’ and so I entered a competition for fantasy make-up and I actually painted a full body with lingerie on and won that competition!”
Emma Hack has been exhibiting professionally since 2002, having held in excess of 20 solo exhibitions and participated in numerous group exhibitions throughout Australia.
Emma has shown at ART Sydney (2008, 2009 and 2010), ART Melbourne (2009, 2010, 2011), and internationally, at The London
Art Fair (2011), ART Singapore (2011) and the Affordable Art Fair, New York (2011).
Emma’s art practice and exhibitions have been widely documented in both the Australian and international press, and in particular, her participation in local and overseas art fairs has been featured on various television programs. In 2011, Emma’s work was highlighted on Australia’s ABC TV’s “Art Nation” program [ See Video below].
Represented nationally throughout Australia, Emma is also represented in London, New York and Singapore and her work is held in numerous private and corporate collections globally.
The ART NATION story on ABC Tv (Australia) gives a bit more detail in an interview with Emma
More on Emma Hack here:
- EMMA HACK’s website
- Emma Hack’s latest exhibition at Frances Keevil Art
- Sunday Herald Sun: Unique artist Emma Hack pops into focus thanks to Gotye
- Anthony Wing Kosner deconstructs the video in Forbes magazine
- Sun Herald on Gotye video process and profiling producer Natasha Pincus