According to Fulleylove (1), the extent of British art was limited to the old-types of artworks until two decades ago when a new approach was introduced. In this case, my discussion will focus on the Young British Artists (YBAs) who are a loosely affiliated group of London-based individuals that became prominent in the late 1980s. By the end of this presentation, I hope to enlighten the audience about this artistic movement that altered the approaches in the visual culture. As an art enthusiast, I have seen numerous pieces of art, and I believe that this class of individuals exhibits unique artworks which have changed the common perception of art. As a result, their skills illustrate the contemporary movement that influenced modernization in art history. In this context, my presentation will analyze two main artists who initially demonstrated this kind of modern art movement, the characteristics, and significance of YBA in our current society.

I will begin by discussing the artist, Damien Steven Hirst who was among the original superstars of the YBA movement that developed the 20th century’s provocative and polarizing figures in contemporary art history. Wainwright (1) states that the conceptual artist was born in Britain the year 1965. Besides, he is an art collector and a painter. Most of his works encapsulate the complex relationships between art, religion, science, life, and death. An example of his art piece includes the dead and suspended shark preserved with the formaldehyde chemical in a glass tank. Hirst deployed the application of real and ready-made objects in a shocking manner that questioned the laws of nature in art. Hence, he became the original curator of the “Freeze” exhibition. Alternatively, Wainwright (1) implies that Hirst’s technique was a mere portrayal of mortality and the unwillingness of humans to confront the fact that they are mortal beings. As a result, the method wowed and repulsed a significant number of people who came to view this unusual artistic piece. Also, Damien Hirst harnessed his painting skills and produced artworks such as the Floating Skull and the diamond-studded platinum-cast human skull known as For the Love of God (Wainwright 1). It is presumed that the casted skull is the most expensive work that Hirst has ever created. Apart from being an artist, Damien Hirst is a writer and has allegedly experimented his skills in film works.

Furthermore, the other famous member of YBA I will talk about is the British born artist, Tracey Emin. According to Kuiper (1), Emin was born in 1963, and she majorly used a wide range of media to design her artworks. Moreover, she is known for her autobiographical, confessional and provocative works of art encompassing her various drawings, paintings, sculptures, films, photography, neon text, and sewn appliqué. Just like Damien Hirst, the artist secured a place among the Young British Artists of her time. However, Emin dropped out of school when she was fifteen years old (Kuiper 1). Fortunately, she later joined an art school and graduated with a master’s degree in 1989. Later on, the controversial artist exhibited the first artwork that she ironically labeled “My Major Retrospective.” Besides, Kuiper (1) claims that Tracey Emin represented her life experiences with the art pieces she produced and more so inscribed some of her family members’ names on the pieces. Some of her famous artworks include Exploration of the Soul which majorly explores her childhood life. Others include Everyone I Have Ever Slept With which has the names of every person she has slept with including her mother and My Bed piece which was selected for the Turner Prize (Kuiper 1). Throughout her life, Emin has grown into a successful female YBA with several titles such as “Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

I will also describe some of the evident characteristics of the YBA movement. The YBA technique disregards the traditional ways of differentiating media from other artworks. Instead, the approach uses the multi-material form of creativity that incorporates media with painting, sculpture-making, and printmaking (Fulleylove 1). Therefore, the significant influence of YBA is apparent in our society and modern art, and it is marked by the openness towards the material used in the various forms the artworks take. Additionally, Fulleylove (1) adds that Michael Craig-Martin was the tutor behind this technique of art and he is therefore considered an influential figure in the organization.  Moreover, the artworks done by the YBAs became so popular that it resulted in the utilization of the pieces as a marketing tool for entrepreneurial purposes. Thus, the style has not only benefited the artists economically but also it has significantly impacted the current population. For instance, the approach of using any material within a single artwork to depict openness of the medium continues to be used widely among today’s artists (Fulleylove 1). Alternatively, contemporary societies have accepted this movement as a definitive perspective of British art. Therefore, most aspiring art students or artists have the freedom to curating their experimental techniques, materials, and shows in galleries.

In summary, it is evident that the two artists, Damien Hirst, and Tracey Emin are the primary influencers of the contemporary YBA movement that changed art history. The approach was characterized by the inclusion of media with other artistic techniques and the use of different materials in the same art piece. Also, since the style is acceptable among the British people, it has gained extensive popularity. Despite controversies on the application of dead animal bodies as illustrated by Damien Hirst, I believe the approach significantly demonstrates the aesthetic effects of the visual arts.



Works Cited

Kuiper, Kathleen. “Tracey Emin.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 29 June 2018,

Wainwright, Lisa S. “Damien Hirst.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 June 2018,

Fulleylove, Rebecca. “What Is the Significance of the Young British Artists? – Google Arts & Culture.” Google, Google,