All images courtesy of Emma Hack
Artist Emma Hack has no chance of blending into the background of the global art scene with her quirky, yet awe-inspiring installations. But
can you tell what it is?
The Australian-born body illustrator creates staggering ‘wallpaper’ works of art using a decorative backdrop and featuring the nude form painted in minute detail to match.
She takes inspiration from each background she uses and continues the patterns and designs from it on to the body, carefully fitting the design to the contours of each model.
Some of her installations feature only a partially painted person so the full scale of the work required to paint the body is revealed, while some of the artworks completely disguise the human form so that it is unrecognizable against its background. In these cases, only the vague shadows cast by the model’s body give away the true nature of the installation.
The award-winning body artist has taken the concept of paint and canvas and radically reinvented it, while at the same time creating the standard
for the nude portrait for the 21st century.
Emma has predominantly used Florence Broadhurst wallpaper as the backdrop to her themed pieces of work. Florence, who was a singer and artist, was somewhat of an entrepreneur in Australia between the 1920s and 1970s. She produced ground-breaking wallpaper designs that defied artistic conventions, not unlike Emma’s art installations today.
Some of Emma’s later creations utilize a hand-painted canvas as the background with three dimensional butterfly cut-outs added to the human
body to give a feeling of depth.
In her Native Mandala series of work, Emma even added Australian creatures such as a koala and a baby kangaroo to her installations, held in the
arms of the nude, painted model so that these creatures appear against a
background of foliage or vines.
As an art innovator, Emma hasn’t restricted herself to using animals in her work, she’s also painted on to them. Emma, who initially worked as a children’s face painter and then trained as a make-up artist, has painted on to both ponies and cows in collections she called Painted Ponies and Cowscape.
The ponies were painted with decorative saddles and bridles, reminiscent of carousel horses, while the cows had more abstract works painted on to them. This surrealist tribute even includes a reinterpretation of Salvador Dali’s dripping clock draped across one cow’s back.
With thanks to Emma Hack for her kind permission to use images and details from her website.