British artist Tracey Emin’s It’s What I’d Like to Be from 1998 is a delicate lithograph on heavy wove paper. This honest and humorous early print by Emin features her jagged handwriting and a minimalist line drawing of a deer. The work was executed as part of a signed and limited edition of 50.
Emin was born in south London in 1963, into the thick of a blooming technicolour age referred to as ‘The Swinging Sixties’. The period marked the beginning of a youth-driven cultural revolution, besides marking the birth of third-wave feminism.
Emin’s drawings, which lie at the heart of her most vulnerable artistic creations, are filled with allegories and manifest how outstanding of a draughtswoman she really is. Her jagged lines convey pure emotion, technical proficiency and genuine interest in her craft. The rough, rapidly scrawled contours and scratchy handwriting at once articulate raw anxiety as well as carefree amusement. The many realities of our human lives are brought into question here as Emin utilises the most fragile art form to reflect sentiments and intellect. She reveals both the unique beauty and the disarray of existence.
Preceding Little Owl, It’s What I’d Like to Be is a delicate lithograph executed by Emin in 1998. This work is an early example of her intensely personal, honest and humorous artistic practice. Featuring the image of a baby deer, Emin here relies on the animal’s symbolic connotations alluding to gentleness, innocence and luck. The image of a deer is considered a good omen and represents the loving presence of a guiding spirit. Emin’s confessional drawing manifests herself as her own guardian in mammal form.