Skin Deep


Emma Hack is one of my favourite artists.  I got to meet her back in about 2000, before her “rise to fame”, when I visited her house with my friend who was getting his make up done for his first appearance as a drag queen.  I doubt she’d remember but she made a lasting impression on me.

At the time I met her I thought she was “just” a make-up artist but she gave me this awesome calander of her body painting work which featured one of my (then) fitness idols Patsy Tierney.  I sat in her room waiting for her to finish my friend’s transformation and alternated between gawking at her obvious skill in action, marvelling at the calendar she gave me and envying her art supply collection (I’ve always had a penchant for stationary and art supplies!)  She was my introduction to face and body painting.

I forgot about Emma for a while after this but looked her up when I commenced my intersest face painting (I should mention that I would never want my work side-by-side with hers!!).  I was pleased (but not surprised) to find how much her career had exploded, and continues to do so.

I am quite taken with the fact that Emma has evolved into a “real” artist as in that’s how she makes her living.  I’m even more stoked to find that it is not just a myth that you can to get paid to do something you love – there is hope!

I love that she has carved an artistic niche for herself by using a completely different medium – skin.  A moving, living, breathing canvas which she uses to her full advantage to create stunning, elegant and intricate art.  I wonder if she feels sad when the models wash it off?  Like when you build an epic sand castle and then the tide washes it away?  Thankfully one of her chosen mediums is photography so her pieces are documented before they vanish.

While I love all of her creations, here’s one of my favourites:

Artist: Emma Hack

I love this because, first up, it showcases her amazing talent and ability.  She’s created an illusion as you can barely notice the model as she has blended her seamlessly into the background.  I love that it’s a mixture of mediums too – photography, body art, acrylic on canvas.  It fascinates me how she got the colours so vibrant and bold.

I adore that she’s used a real joey, for me it adds further “meaning” to the art and speaks to me on a personal level.  The gesture of “hugging” the joey, seems to be almost like a reminder to protect those who can’t always protect themselves and I’ve always been a sucker for that.  And I love the colour combination – my three favouite colours in one piece!

I’d be really keen to see the staged process of creating this – step-by-step, how it’s done, what the model looks like away from the back drop and the project separated into pieces etc.  From a project management perspective, it would be invaluable to see how it all comes together to understand how the key players interact with the art process.

Emma’s work has recently gained more publicity as she is also the body painter for the Gotye’s “Somebody I used to know” music clip, now number 1 in Australian charts, currently hitting 2.5 million views on on Youtube and Triple J’s Hottest 100 winner for 2012!  It apparently took 23 hours to create.

She’s done so much more, both in Australia and internationally, too.  Click here to visit her website and view her extensive portfolio or here to follow her blog.  Be sure to check out her Florence Broadhurst wallpaper collaboration too!

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