What happens when you combine your most intimate thoughts with neon? Magic. Tracey Emin, a provocative British artist, uses neon to shed light (quite literally) on what it feels like to love and live passionately. Using neon to mimic her own handwriting, Emin infuses her thoughts of love and lust and hope and desire with color. What we at Write In Color love about her art is that she is bold enough to put her must vulnerable musings out there for all of us to read. There’s no symbolism. Her art just is what it is.
And what it is, is glorious.
Some of my favorite lines from her neon art pieces include, “I listen to the ocean and all I hear is you,” “You should have loved ME,” and “With you I want to live.”
For Emin, the line between her personal history and her art is intentionally blurred, with one directly feeding the other. And neon is only one of her artistic mediums. A founding member (along with Damien Hirst) of the Britartists, or YBAs (Young British Artists), Emin expounds upon her personal story through needlework, painting, video installations and prose. The YBAs often take a sensational approach to their work, using throwaway materials and creating shocking installations (like Hirst’s The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living — a shark preserved in formaldehyde). The beauty of Emin’s neon is that perhaps the most sensational thing about these pieces is her stark candor.
As an artist, you too have the ability to use your personal narrative to create art that inspires, moves, and resonates with an audience. And here’s the best part: as Emin’s art illustrates, less is sometimes so much more.