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troublemag | December 7, 2023

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Social Work: Emma Hack

Social Work: Emma Hack

Prior to her iconic collaboration with Grammy award winning musician Gotye on his film clip for Somebody That I Used to Know (2011), Adelaide-based artist Emma Hack was known best for her Wallpaper series (2005 – 2010), in which she painstakingly camouflaged the human form by hand painting her models into the remarkable wallpaper designs of the late Florence Broadhurst. More recently, Emma has achieved sell out status at the 2013 Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong, as well as successful showings at art fairs in Brussels and Milan.

Emma’s signature medium of body paint installation and photography seems to have blossomed in the larger art world too, with the Melbourne Body Art Xpo now in its 5th year and promising to attract more punters than ever before. Although unable to attend the event herself, Emma agreed to the drill of Trouble’s Social Work interview to celebrate this unique artform’s burgeoning popularity.


Which member of your family influenced you the most?

EH: My mum, she was always there and supportive of whatever I wanted to do.  She also nurtured my ‘craft’ spirit and always had me learning.


Who is the best teacher you have ever had?

EH: Mr Pridgent, from primary school as he was the first to discover my artistic ways and make me feel special by nurturing them.


Do you think its ok to lie?

EH: Not to me!  But I have been known to twist the truth to get my way, my husband would vouch for that.


What does freedom mean to you?

EH: Being able to make choices for where you are in life and enjoying every one of them.


How do you make important decisions?

EH: I follow my gut. Being a freelancer has taught me to listen to my intuition – as I am getting older its more fine-tuned but you must be willing to take risks.


Do you think things happen for a reason?

EH: Absolutely – it’s the only way to reason with anything that goes wrong – or right!


What beliefs do you have that you think will never change?

EH: The belief that anything can be achieved if you believe and visualise it.


Do you believe in the supernatural?

EH: I don’t not believe….


Have you ever come close to dying?

EH: Not that I know of, but I have been in some hairy situations that could have lead to being hurt if I hadn’t ‘listened’ to my inner voice.


Do you have a favourite family story?

EH: Not a story as such but my most favourite family moment was Christmas time when we all at my Nanna and Poppa’s,  loads of cousins and fun!


What do you like the best about your body?

EH: That I am finally fit after not making any effort for so many years, that I am stronger now than I have ever been.


What do you think would be the best thing about being the opposite gender?

EH: Not having to wear a bra?  I don’t know, I am pretty much loving being a woman.


What do you hope for?

EH: Can I say World Peace? I kind of want to – mainly for us to live in a more stable way. We need to be nurturing our environment and the wonderful creatures within it.


Have you ever been lost?

EH: Yes, 2am, pouring rain, Antwerp, Belgium, not a taxi in sight for two hours and being followed by a random car … Not ultimate!


What do you like most about where you live?

EH: Everything is 20mins away, sea, vines, hills, friends, great nature and produce.


What is stopping you?

EH: Not a lot!


Artist Site:

The Melbourne Body Art Xpo is on 31st August at Revolt, 12 Elizabeth Street Kensington (VIC). The theme this year is ‘H2O’. For more info visit