AIE Virtual Exchange Series

Elizabeth Hack

In May 2020, Elizabeth Hack started off the Art in Embassies Virtual Exchange Series. In the new digital format, which was created to continue to amplify the program’s cross-cultural exchange mission, Hack spoke to students and other community members in Tunisia about her background, her process, and Wave X2 and Wave X14, two abstract paintings that are on display at the United States Ambassador’s Residence in Tunisia.

This virtual exchange was organized in coordination with U.S. Embassy Tunis’s Public Affairs team, which set up and moderated the video conference call. The participants in the virtual exchange were able to observe Hack in her California studio. At the end of the talk, the artist took questions from the audience about her art education, her inspirations, and her personal journey as an artist. “You exchange cultures, and it brings the world closer together,” said Hack about sharing her work with Art in Embassies.

Read more about the Artist

Full Transcript

In just a few minutes, we will go ahead and get started, we’re working on admitting everybody in. Welcome to the virtual American center in Tunis, I should say. I know we have people who are in Tunisia, but also people who are in the United States.

So welcome to all of you. We are thrilled that Elizabeth Hack is part of the exhibition and joining us virtually from California. Elizabeth is a long time partner of art and embassies, and we truly appreciate her ongoing support, which continues here tonight.

Greetings from the San Francisco Bay Area. And I’m so delighted and honored to be presenting and to have my paintings on exhibit in Tunis. It’s just such an honor for me. And I’ve been looking at images of Tunis, and I’m really struck by the images of the coastal waters in the mountains, in the lush landscape and desert

, the incredible beauty of the country. I know you have a long history of culture in the arts. But I do want to share with you what it’s like to be a California artist. And, of course, the big questions.

Do you have any questions? So the San Francisco Bay area here in California, it’s filled with people from so many countries, people who have come here, moved here from other lands, is a culture of diversity. It blends in cultures from all over the world.

Many, many people who come to California in the Bay Area, particularly northern California, they’re seekers. Oftentimes, they’re looking for changes here in California, even more so than the East Coast. And so there’s so much creative innovation here in San Francisco.

It’s a place where you have the opportunity to recreate yourself. So now I will talk about my background and paintings. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and a master of media arts. My course studies cover different disciplines of the arts.

I also took classes and studied with artists, Fred Reichmann, and he was very instrumental in making me pursue painting as a as an artist. But I have to say, my 30 plus years of experience has been my greatest teacher of all.

So My Way series, paintings, which you will see soon. We have images. They they’re inspired by CMH. And that’s three hours north of San Francisco. And it’s really. I find it to be one of the most beautiful places in the world, there are good cliffs and rough waves, and it’s good for walking, not for swimming.

And watching the waves go in and out and observing is key to my paintings. So I use media and acrylic paint and ain’t got a wood panel or paper and several colors, he replied with a palette knife, as I do the blending in the mixing.

It’s like an excavation, and I dig in a blend and layer upon layer. Excuse me. Of paint is placed upon the surface. And then at the end of that final application of titanium, white is put on there and that that creates more texture and definition.

So now I’d like you to join me to my studio and I want to show you a couple of paintings, my most recent paintings. And I can. Can everybody see that? It can’t. Good. Excellent. So. This is this is my most.

This is my most recent work and it is part of the week series, I don’t have a title yet for the series, and it’s there’s no ink on this. And I need to show you what I do with the ink was very polone up here and.

Did you get a sense of this? So what I do is I going to just put some ink right here. And this is exactly what happens after the painting is dried. I apply the age just like this and it’s actually the quiet part of my.

Of the way I work, I go like this. And I’ll put it right up there. So you’ll get a feeling for it. It’s hard to see, but it does create some definition here. Another question that we would like to be sure to ask you.

So we have you here as an accomplished artist, but we also have the Art and embassies program. And we know that you were part of the Art and embassies program. So we are wondering about your motivations for joining this program.

Why did you decide to join and then how was your experience with the program? If you can tell us more. You know, the experience has been amazing for me. I showed in Fiji for the first time, you know, after I had to apply, of course.

And so I was thrilled when they chose this. You know, my painting for Fiji and my motivation is that I just think it’s really important to exchange, you know, to for culture, cultural exchanges. And I like the base of it where you exchange cultures and it brings the world closer together.

And and it’s you know, I learned so much about Tunisia doing doing this. I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of research on Tunisia. You know, even more so because my work is there in Tunis. And so I would say just sharing cultures and the world becomes smaller and everybody can learn from each other.

So it was really that that that did it. I just like the whole premise of it. And, you know, and then the paintings are you know, there are the embassies and the artists, the embassy residences, too. And so that was my motivation.