Damien Hirst

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Damien Hirst is the modern age painter, art collector and a successful entrepreneur of English origin. He is known for being one of the distinguished members of the art society called distinguished (YBAs). During late twentieth century he dominated the art scene in England. Besides being an accomplished artist, Hirst is known for his boundless wealth making him one of the richest UK based artist with his net worth around two hundred and fifteen million European pounds.

Born on June 7, 1965, in Bristol, Damien Steven Hirst grew up in Leeds. His father left when he was only 12 leaving him to his mother who worked for the Citizens Advice Bureau. When he was young she lost custody of him. Hirst childhood was rough given he was arrested on two occasion on the charges of shoplifting. He described his mother as being intolerant of any sort of rebellion which was the part and parcel of being from Irish Catholic descent. However, it was her who encouraged him to draw which then would lead to his successful career.

Hirst received his elementary education from Allerton Grange School. There his art teacher pleaded on his behalf to be allowed entrance to the sixth form. Later he applied to Jacob Kramer School of Art where his application was rejected the first time around. However, he attended the college as his application was accepted for the Foundation Diploma course. Julian Spalding organized an exhibition of work by Francis Davison which he attended in 1983 at the Hayward Gallery. He was inspired by Davison’s work that sported abstract collages from torn and cut coloured paper. This is the technique that Hirst would apply in his work in the years to come.

Subsequent to working on London building sites, he applied for the Fine Arts college and accepted at Goldsmiths, University of London. He commented on his tutor Michael Craig-Martin’s creation, An Oak Tree, as being the great piece of conceptual sculpture. His placement at a mortuary served as an experience that would influence his later works.

During his sophomore year, Damien Hirst took up the responsibility to organize an independent student exhibition, Freeze. The event was held at London Port Authority administrative block. Several notable artists visited the exhibition Charles Saatchi, Nicholas Serota and Norman Rosenthal. Upon graduation he became member of Kettles Yard Gallery and New Contemporaries show. After being turn down by a gallery dealer, Hirst collaborated with his friends Billee Sellman and Carl Freedman to curate two enterprising warehouse art shows.

According to Freedman, Saatchi was awestruck by the show and ended up buying Hirst first animal installation, A Thousand Years. The piece showcased maggots feeding on cow’s rotting head in a glass case. His first solo exhibition was organized at an unused shop on Woodstock Street in central London by Tamara Chodzko. It was titled In and Out of Love which was exhibited in 1991. Another exhibition was held in Paris at the Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery and the Institute of Contemporary Arts.

The central theme of his work is death which he successfully depicted through decomposing animal bodies, for instance, a shark, a cow and a sheep. That was a series of artworks considered one of his key works that earned him a prominent place among celebrated artists. One such art piece is The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living feature a dead tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine.

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