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

Monday, July 6, 2015

Two people died in Ladywell, south east London this morning after being caught in a garage fire, the London Fire Brigade said.

Monday, July 6, 2015
Prince William cleans a toilet (Picture: PA Images)

London’s ultra-wealthy are paying thousands for their offspring to get ‘real world internships’ even if that involves scrubbing loos, according to their merchant-bank advisors.

Monday, July 6, 2015
We may see repeats of these scenes at West Hampstead last year (Photo: Nigel Sutton)

TfL say if the planned industrial action goes ahead, “there will be no Tube service from late afternoon on Wednesday July 8 and no Tube service at all on Thursday July 9.”

Monday, July 6, 2015
A man has been bailed pending further enquiries

A man has been arrested after a 12-year-old girl was allegedly sexually assaulted at Liverpool Street Station.

Monday, July 6, 2015
Swans are protected under UK law  (Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

A swan has been found dead and mutilated near railway lines in north London, in what officials are calling an ‘offensive’ and ‘very distressing’ crime.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Good times with Greenall's!

Good times with Greenall’s, a Great British gin sponsors Great British racing.

Read more
Escape to the picturesque sights of Cornwall

Summer is finally here, and what is the number one holiday location in the UK during the warmer months? Cornwall, of course!

Read more
Adrenalin junkies, this one's for you!

An icon of British engineering and a consistent favourite of James Bond, there are few names quite as legendary in motoring as Aston Martin.

Read more