Tracey Emin is no stranger to hardship. Surviving below the poverty line in order to pursue art, Emin's tenacious and industrious spirit kept her focused during the most challenging time period of her life, her 20s. After a letter-writing campaign and successful solo show got her art noticed, Emin finally made her first paycheck from art at 32. In this interview, Emin talks about her letters, what she believes truly makes you an artist, and her first solo show.
Iconic London-based artist Tracey Emin has been has been recognized as one of the leading figures of the ‘90s YBA (Young British Artists) movement. She is noted for her provocative and sexually explicit work and was inducted into the Royal Academy of Arts in London in 2007.
Tracey Emin was born in 1963 in the seaside town of Margate on the English coast. After leaving school at an early age, Tracey enrolled at the Maidstone College of Art, Kent, to study printmaking and continued her studies at the Royal College of Arts, London.
Emin lived in poverty throughout her twenties, struggling to sustain herself as well as pay off her student debts.
Tracey, however, broke through the art scene in her 30s with the following works:
In 1997, her work Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963–1995, a tent with names sown on it, was shown at the Royal Academy in London.
Today, Tracey is regarded as one of Britain’s most significant contemporary artists. She is internationally recognized for her blunt, personal, and revealing style, which elicits a broad spectrum of emotions ranging from shock to empathy to self-reflection. Drawing on personal experiences, Tracey often portrays painful situations with brutal honesty and poetic humor in a wide variety of media including painting, drawing, embroidery, neon, installation, sculpture, and film.