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Artist Profile: Cris Hager

Creating Beauty with Embossed Metal

Artist Profile

As a child I loved to create, invent new things, and make up my own techniques and paints. I was supported and encouraged by my parents to pursue what I wanted. Life took its course and it was not until my everyday career came close to its end that I considered taking some art classes in Tucson to learn drawing, composition, and color. I tried several forms of art, experimenting with glass, watercolor (which I still pursue), acrylics and clay sculpting. But it was when I made a trip to my home land of Mexico that I discovered the joys and challenges of creating art with metal embossing.

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My work is related to an ancient art form that was originally developed by the Aztecs, who used silver and gold to emboss their artifacts, decorate their temples, tombs, masks, war tools, create seals and make jewelry. The technique was later used by the Spaniards to adorn their homes, churches, buildings, furniture, dishes and personal items. It was used on anything they wanted to beautify with silver and later on with pewter or lead.

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The name of the technique is Repujado, which loosely translated means “push out.”

I came upon this art form 20 yrs. ago, and when I discovered the technique, my mind began to imagine different ways the metal could look, each picture unique to the opportunity the metal was offering. I could create large pictures, make different reliefs, give the work a fine art finish, each with a totally different look. My fascination lead me to remain in Mexico long enough to take a class in this technique. Working with embossed metal has captivated me ever since. The medium entices me, the potential in the metal shows me what it wants. Nature is another place for inspiration, rare forms are probably my favorites, although Southwestern colors and scenery are often featured in my art. Color is my passion, and brilliance is natural to the metal. I keep my work fresh when I travel and visit other places, and consider other cultures and their art work. These experiences inspire me to try new compositions and techniques.

Artist Profile


Every day is a new challenge, and even if I fail, I have learned something. Metal is an unforgiving medium. Any small scratch is hard to conceal, so precision is basic and critical. Learning to think and considering the medium and its design is the most challenging part of my work, but also the most rewarding, because while I am creating I become one with the picture. I am totally content in my studio where the world fades away and it is only G-d and I that exist. It is peaceful and calm, yet full of energy. Nothing is missing in that moment of creation, and all is well in the world.

My work has been displayed in various venues in Tucson, Bisbee and Tubac, from the Tucson Museum of Art to La Cocina Restaurant and in several well-known Tucson galleries. My work can currently be seen at:
Desert Artisans’ Gallery
6536 E Tanque Verde Rd.
Tucson, Arizona
Phone: (520) 722-4412

Desert Artisans

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