Artistic Influences: Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin: darling of the Establishment. Yet, her sketches, her installations and her appliqued artworks have no doubt inspired a generation of feminist artists such as art student Natasha Mitchell.

Emin’s nuanced vulnerability – her ability to communicate a tonne of raw emotion through a rough sketch or a casual phrase in neon light – has shattered a glass ceiling for women in the UK’s art world and for that, if nothing else, she deserves credit. By being obnoxious, uncompromising and unafraid she leaves space for the rest of us in her wake.

By no means perfect, Emin nevertheless makes artwork that speaks of our ugliest desires, our painful memories and our truths – showing herself as who she really is and challenging us to do the same. One sketch, ‘A Cunt Is A Rose Is A Cunt’ from 2009, is reproduced below for comparison with Natasha’s sketches. A limited edition print signed by Emin herself costs £325 (inc VAT) from her online shop

Greyscale. An outline of a woman's naked body, from her ankles to just above her breasts. She is on her back.
Tracey Emin
Greyscale. A drawing of a naked woman on her knees from behind. Her hair is falling down her back. The word "girl" is at the top.
Natasha Mitchell

Natasha Mitchell says of her sketches, “These were produced earlier this year along with 46 other prints as explorations of the objectification and sexual repression of women (both cis and trans) using a medium similar to Tracey Emin’s I created these images quickly in succession in order to reflect the sense of freedom and sexual liberation I wanted to evoke.”

Emin was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1999 for her installation piece ‘My Bed’, but lost out to film director Steve McQueen of ‘Shame’ and ‘Hunger’ fame. Their successors for the award can be seen at the Tramway, Glasgow from Oct 1 to Jan 16, 2016.

Words: Ana Hine

Images: Tracey Emin & Natasha Mitchell


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