Tracey Emin at Hay Festival


At Hay Festival 2017 Tracey Emin and GQ Editor Dylan Jones discuss the extent to which her personal life has inspired her art, from painting to needlework and drawing to sculpture.


Tracey Emin Dylan Harper Gq


Tracey Emin on voting for women

“I might vote for the Women’s Equality Party. To get one woman in the Houses of Parliament that’s just for women.”


Tracey Emin on sexism in the art world

“I think there’s as much sexism in the art world as there is in any world. Just recently there’s been a series of polls about the disparity of women’s art prices in the art world. I’m talking about Louise Bourgeois. You’re talking about the difference of £80m. Louis, £10m, Francis Bacon, £90m. It's not to do with the quality, the materials, it’s just because she’s a woman.”


Tracey Emin on Jeremy Corbyn

"Never Jeremy Corbyn, I don’t support his… it’s not even his policies. It’s his attitude. I can’t believe how he was about Brexit. I don’t like his general attitude to people, and his arrogance."


Tracey Emin on art vs money

"I know artists who make the same work, day in day out. They make it and they sell it. They make it again, sell it, buy a bigger home. That is not being an artist. Being an artist is about making art, not making money." When asked whether she was talking about anybody in particular, she said, "Well I’m not talking about Picasso... but it tends to happen a lot more with male artists. Women aren’t pushy like that."


Tracey Emin on drugs

"I’ve never taken drugs in my life. People have often thought that you need some sort of stimulus, you need that insecurity, but that’s not true. The more secure you are, the better the work, because you have more time to make it."


Tracey Emin on the self

"As an artist, and to be a serious artist, if you’re not self-focussed then you will be led to distraction and you won’t necessarily have the conviction with what you’re doing. This might sound Van Goghish, if I don’t spend at least three days alone in a week, then I can’t work.


Tracey Emin on social media

"I think out of all the social media, Instagram is probably the nicest and the most usable for keeping in touch. You don’t have to do very much. In general, the big answer to the whole thing, I think people are far too obsessed with gadgetry. People aren’t touching anymore.”


Tracey Emin on criticism

"When I have really bad criticism, it nearly kills me. It’s not the vanity or the ego, it’s that I really believe in what I’m doing."


Tracey Emin on the sex in her work

"A lot of my sexuality in my work is about me not having sex. When I was younger it was because I was desiring it, so I put that in my work. So now my work is about the loss of love and sex and moving on from that.”


The synopsis of her new Hollywood film, in her own words

“For a long time I was known as Mad Tracey from Margate. Mad Tracey From Margate Makes Good.”


Head over to GQ Magazine for the full article.