Tracey Emin: Where to draw the line

I want my time with you — Tracey Emin at St. Pancras

I’m a fan of Tracey Emin — her as a person, her art and her as an artist.

Just a few months ago I sat down to do research into artists that work with text and ended up getting hooked on Tracey Emin documentaries. Though I knew of her, and a lot of her work, I did not know her biography, nor the details of her art path.

The BBC programme last night has reinforced my admiration, and gave me further insight into how she developed as an artist. Emin has a solid art school background having studied BA Printmaking, and then coming to London to do her MA Painting at the Royal College of Art, but it was her experience with abortion that set her on the path to be one of the icons of confessional art.

“And I realised if I was going to make art it couldn’t be about a f-ing picture, it couldn’t be about something visual, it had to be about where it was REALLY coming from.”

I was really taken by how self-aware and honest she is — I guess it’s only logical given that she has spent at least 30 years of her life digging deep and reflecting in order to create.

Using her life experiences and feelings as building materials for her work earned her a tabloid notoriety, but also that’s exactly why we still love her and talk about her today. She pushed boundaries not only in subject matter, but in her varied used of mediums too (quilts and embroidery to subvert the notions of traditional ‘women’s work’ for example).

Today Tracey makes paintings that are based on drawings of the body — absolutely gorgeous canvases that are both minimal and expressive, showing off her technical skills. It was great to see one of them at Frieze, as well as her birds sculptures. I highly recommend this talk she did about the birds project, because she goes far beyond the birds and shares a lot of very powerful personal philosophy.

I will continue to watch everything about her that I come across, and following her art journey. Huge inspiration to me as an artist, but also a guide for life in general. I ❤ you Tracey Emin!

PS: One of her first solo shows was at a small experimental project space called White Cube… Yup… SMALL EXPERIMENTAL PROJECT SPACE… That is now one of the international MEGA galleries… Just let that sink in…