Damien Hirst has had a lot of good ideas during his 51 years, but not all of them have worked out. Recently, his idea for an eco-friendly, 750 home development in the town of Ilfracombe in North Devon, nicknamed Hirst-on-Sea by local residents, has gone south. His company couldn’t find a developer to get on board with his ideas, so Hirst has dropped out and another company will take over the construction of the town. Hirst owns a restaurant, hotel and a lot of land in the area. His 67-foot sculpture of a partially dissected pregnant woman, Verity, stands on the pier at the harbor entrance to Ilfracombe. Although some residents and visitors find the sight of Verity upsetting, it’s on loan to the town for just twenty years and will be gone in 2032.
Shark Tank Leak
One of Hirst’s major works, The Physical Impossibility in the Mind of Someone Living, a tiger shark suspended in a tank of formaldehyde, is spectacular, but there’s a hitch. According to England’s Royal Society of Chemistry, the tank is leaking. It’s leaking slowly…not enough to be an immediate danger to tank owners (his other tanks are leaking, as well) but levels of the carcinogenic chemical around the tanks were at five parts per million, ten times higher than the recommended limit.
A spokesperson for Hirst’s company, Science, Ltd. said, “We don’t believe any risk was posed to the public,” referring to recent exhibits of Hirst’s works.
When it was first unveiled, the British tabloid The Sun referred to The Physical Impossibility in the Mind of Someone Living as, “£50,000 for fish without chips”. Since then, it has sold for 6.5 million pounds (about 8.12 million dollars) and Hirst has become one of the wealthiest artists in the world.
Connecting the Dots
Damien Hirst was not a great student. As an art student at Goldsmiths, he was probably a better curator of exhibits of his fellow students’ works, than at painter. While he was a student, happened to come upon a catalog of the Sigma-Aldrich chemical company, called Biochemicals for Research and Diagnostic Reagents. The use of colors in the catalog inspired Hirst to begin his Spot Paintings series, which solved his problems with colors, by allowing him to arrange complimentary colors without repetition.
Hirst says that, “mathematically, with the spot paintings, I probably discovered the most fundamentally important thing in any kind of art. Which is the harmony of where color can exist on its own, interacting with other colours in a perfect format.”
“The spot paintings were all about immortality,” Hirst said in a Guardian interview, “They’re just a total celebration of when you’re twatted, when you’re taking drugs, when you’re under the table. In that moment, you feel you can live for ever. Then you just get to the point where you think you’ve got less time in front of you than behind you.”
Hirst says that he has not been “twatted” in a while…that he’s been clean and sober since 2009. His Newport Street Gallery, in south London, which houses his own collection and features exhibits of other artists, is free and open to the public.
Hirst is painting, making a movie about a shipwreck and still making as much news about his life as he is about his art.
Spot Paintings and Other Damien Hirst Works For Sale at VFA
Come in for a visit, or give us a call, if you have questions about the works of Damien Hirst for sale at Vertu.