Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England in 1965. He was a rebellious teenager, twice being arrested for stealing. He went on to study art at Goldsmiths College and in his second year at the university, he organized and independent student exhibition called Freeze. The show was visited by Charles Saatchi who would go on to finance some of Hirst’s most memorable works. Hirst would go on to become a member of the group known as the Young British Artists or YBA. The group took the 90s art scene by storm and powerful work would grow out of it like Tracey Emin’s “My Bed.” This led to a renewed interest the in art as the 80s New York scene made may to London’s 90s dominance.
A consistent theme in Hirst’s work are the subjects of death and religion, in many forms. Arguably, his most famous work entitled, “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” was one of the 20th century most controversial and mesmerizing work that left audiences with the sense of wanting to look away, but being unable to. The work, a suspended shark in a tank of formaldehyde, was something the art world had never seen before. Hirst played on people’s fear by allowing the viewer to walk around and particularly in front of the shark. Hirst being raised Catholic, played on the idea of mothers and children, the Madonna and child. One work that represents this idea was “Mother and Child Divided” (1993). Four glass tanks, each with bisected half of cow and calf. Legs of corpses hanging limply, and the tongue hanging out. You are able to see the inside of the animals and walk between the tanks. A focus on the physical consequence of death reminds the viewer of our own immortality. Skulls are part of his repeated imagery, as in his work “For the Love of God,” a platinum cast of an 18th century skull encrusted with 8,601 flawless diamonds. Hirst is also a painter, known for his spot paintings. No one knows what they are all about.
Love him or hate him, there is little arguing the impact he's made in the art market. One thing is is certain, Damien Hirst captivates his audience and we will always be paying attention to what he'll do next.
Well, it’s really difficult to find words to describe Damien Hirst’s art. Misunderstood? yes. Daring? definitely. Good? depends who you ask. Captivating? Fuck yes. The advertising tycoon Charles Saatchi, brought Damien Hirst to the limelight. Giving Hirst an unlimited budget to create. It was the rotting animal corpses that intrigued Saatchi. Other collectors might have run away, but Hirst was able to convince Saatchi on the credibility of the work and how it would change art forever. The bet paid off, as Damien Hirst launched to like a rocket to superstardom. With his unusual and polarizing body of work, Hirst’s work has caused an uproar in the art world, and he loves every minute of it. With his recurring themes of death and religion, Hirst, ever the showman, has wowed and repulsed audiences since the early nineties. A body of work that includes dot paintings, rotting animals, skull sculptures and medicine cabinets. There is no question that Hirst is an artist that looks to shock his audience, but is he looking to create art that is profound and makes you contemplate? maybe.