New Years Honours: Tracey Emin’s CBE is like being “pushed in at the deep end”

09:00 29 December 2012

Tracey Emin. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

Tracey Emin. Picture: Ian West/PA Wire

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Artist Tracey Emin said being made a CBE felt like being “pushed in at the deep end”.

The 49-year-old east Londoner, who grew up in Margate, Kent, first made an impression on the wider public outside the art world in 1997 with a drunken appearance on a television discussion show about the Turner Prize which ended with her pulling her microphone off and telling the audience “I’ve had a really good night out”.

Two years later, she was shortlisted for the prize and exhibited one of her most famous works, My Bed, at the Tate Gallery.

The unmade bed, littered with condoms, cigarette packets and a pair of knickers divided the critics but began the process of making her one of the country’s most famous living artists.

Her work sells for high prices around the world and one piece - a neon sign reading More Passion - was installed in Downing Street last year.

Asked about her CBE, the 49-year-old said: “I think they pushed me in at the deep end. But I’m absolutely thrilled. It’s been insane trying to keep it a secret but I’m really looking forward to seeing the look on my mum’s face.

“For me this honour is a symbol of how art can change people’s perception of life and view the world in a different way. Art is a great enabler as it has helped me to achieve many things throughout my life and through my daily life to help many other people. I am pleased and happy to have recognition for this. But always in life recognition is not why we do things. We do things because of vocation, because we have to do them.”

At the height of her notoriety, posters she put up near her east London home appealing for the return of her cat were being torn down and reportedly sold for hundreds of pounds.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London news

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Police hold a man, during the anti-austerity protest in Whitehall, as protesters mark their opposition to measures set out in the Queen's Speech, following the State Opening of Parliament.

Five people were arrested in London last night after thousands of anti-austerity protesters marched against austerity measures by the Conservative government following the State Opening of Parliament.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
If you know this man, please contact British Transport Police on 0800 40 50 40, or text 61016, quoting T/B6 of 27/05/2015

Police want to speak to a “man in orange trousers” after a Southall man was headbutted so viciously in a rush hour altercation at Ealing Broadway that he had to be taken to hospital.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Residents fear the water filled whole has exposed them to sewage  (Pic credit: Nathalie Raffray)

Kingsbury residents who were left without water for almost 12 hours following a burst pipe and a pavement collapse yesterday now fear they may be exposed to raw sewage.

Thursday, May 28, 2015
Friends paid tribute Joe Walker at the spot where he was killed

A teenage boy has been given a 12-month-detention order for his part in the death of Joe Walker, a 17-year-old from Stroud Green who was killed in a road crash last October.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
A new play chronicles the shocking story of sex predator Savile

‘Were there people in showbusiness who knew he was ‘dodgy’? Absolutely’

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

The sell out 2014 event 32 Londoners, returns to the Coca-Cola London Eye!

The Coca-Cola London Eye is proud to announce that 32 Londoners will be returning this June, following last year’s sell out event. The event will feature 32 talks, in each of the London Eye’s 32 capsules on 32 extraordinary Londoners.

Read more
You could take in stunning views of London over brunch at the Sky Garden

Celebrate lighter, brighter days with the chance of winning an indulgent brunch for two with a bottle of bubbles at Darwin, the cool and casual brasserie 36 floors up at Sky Garden.

Read more
Time to experience the dizzy heights of London's tallest attraction!

Morgan Pryce, commercial property experts based in London are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a pair of tickets to The Shard viewing platform in the city itself.

Read more