Damien Hirst

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Damien Hirst was born as Damien Steven Brennan in 1965 in Bristol. The artists grew up in Leeds for most of his life and had a keen interest in the subject from his school days. He’s known majorly for his work with dead animals preserved in formaldehyde.

About his Early Life
Hirst had a troubled childhood, with his mother’s marriage breaking down with his stepfather when he was twelve. Then on, a short but significant career in petty crimes started for him; he was caught shoplifting twice. Despite all of this, he got into Goldsmith’s College at the University of London and studied art. He organized an exhibit in college, called “Freeze” which earned a lot of critical acclaims. He later became part of a movement known as the Young British Artists, who were known for their interest in unusual forms of art.

About his Work
Hirst’s keen interest in death is visible in his earliest works as well. His first solo exhibition was held at the Woodstock Street Gallery in 1991. Later that year, he displayed his piece “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living” at an art show for the Young British Artists. The piece had a shark preserved in formaldehyde in a 14-foot-long glass tank.  Interestingly, he favoured industrial buildings to display his art than going for traditional British galleries, which everyone else did.

Hirst became known for his controversial and often gruesome work, the most renowned one being the “Mother and Child Divided.” The work was displayed at an international exhibition in Venice in 1993 and featured a bisected cow and her calf in four glass cases, preserved in formaldehyde. He soon became one of the most famous British artists and won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995.

Though known for his glass tank pieces, Hirst also has paintings and sculptures. Some of his famous works include the “spot paintings” or “Controlled Substances Key Painting”, which feature rows of differently colored circles. However, most of these pieces were painted by his assistants.

However, there has been a decreasing interest in his art lately. His 2007 work, “For the Love of God” included platinum skull encrusted with diamonds. The piece wasn’t well received by critics and took some time to get sold as well.

Hirst has made an art empire out of his controversial ideas and work and is currently the richest living artist in the United Kingdom.