Giving Up My Art Studio
Tracey Emin | Contemporary Artist

  • Why You Should Care
  • Bio
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  • Made By
Why Should You Care

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 garnered attention, Emin finally made serious traction in her career and finally starting “making a living from art.”

In this interview, Emin talks about her letters, what she believes truly makes you an artist, and her first solo show.

Biography

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.

In 1999, Tracey was a Turner Prize nominee and exhibited My Bed — an installation, consisting of her own unmade dirty bed with used condoms and blood-stained underwear.

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.

Read It

In my 20’s, I mean the first thing I did when I left art school was to get a studio and a studio was pretty tiny, and it cost me I don’t know 20 pound a week or whatever, and that was a lot of money then, and I sacrificed lots just to have this studio and I realized being an artist wasn’t about having a studio it was about what you carried in your head and being an artist was a 24 hour, 7 day a week, every day of your life activity, it wasn’t just when you were in the studio.

I gave my studio up, and once I did that, it made me a true artist for the fact that I was a complete artist 24 hours a day, not just when I was in the studio. So within the terms of my poverty, I was learning a lot as a I went on, and it enforced a set of values in me to do with art that were unbreakable and unshakable.

Made By

Cinematography: Gabe Wilson & Danielle Calodney

Audio by: Andreina Velazquez

Edited by: Danielle Calodney

Interviewed by: Laura Lehmann



Danielle Calodney

Danielle Calodney has been called the Chief Content Officer for 20to30, and that is the closest she has ever come to a proper title. She produces, shoots, and edits most 20to30 videos while also taking care of the site. She is grateful to live in a time when playing on the internet and making movies can be combined into one job.


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