Damien Hirst

There was a period of time during the 1990s in England that dubbed certain young and budding artists the “Young British Artists” group. These artists dominated the art scene all throughout the 1990s and became quite noted for their unique artworks, on top of netting millions of dollars from their pieces. One artist from this group in particular would become well known within the art community the world over and would become not only an active artist but also an entrepreneur and one of Britain’s most richest living artists. That artist is Damien Hirst, born on June 7th in 1965.


Hirst was born in Bristol, but spent most of his childhood in Leeds. Even at an early age, he was experimenting with different artistic mediums and generally was “different” from the other children his age. Eventually, he would go to school for fine art at the University of London and then go on to work at a mortuary for some time. It was during his time at the mortuary that he took a lot of inspiration from death and dying and incorporated it into his artwork, which established his name within the art community.


Hirst would also start to showcase his artwork in impromptu student galleries he organized himself in abandoned warehouses with fellow art students. This led to him being completely funded by Charles Saatchi for whatever artwork he created. He would go on to create his first “big” piece, which was the very famous dead shark in formaldehyde and cut in half, titled “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” which went on to initially sell for £50,000.


This would bring in even more fame and notoriety for the unique installations and pieces that Damien Hirst created. All of them dealt with death and included sectioned cows and their calves, a dead sheep in formaldehyde, and other dead creatures. His exhibits became so controversial that public health officials for New York banned one of his exhibits for fear of guests vomiting and generally becoming sick.


During the 2000s, Hirst would continue to make his controversial pieces as well as focus on sculpture. Mostly recently in 2007, Damien Hirst created his “For the Love of God” piece which was a diamond encrusted platinum reconstruction of a human skull. This particular piece took 8,601 diamonds to complete and altogether had well over a million dollars worth of diamonds adorned to it.


Damien Hirst is still working and creating artwork to this day, as well as winning countless awards and being an overall controversial figure in the modern art community. However, his most recent works have included more traditional painting and woodcuts.


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