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Damien Hirst’s Phenomenon

When we think about typical bohemian artist behavior, most likely, we think of Pablo Picasso’s Montmartre adventures or eccentric escapades of Salvador Dali. But, as for the world of contemporary art, there is one very good example or a modern artist’s type. And his name is Damien Hirst.

We have already talked about this author and the member of controversial Young British Artists group, famous for the shocking content and brutally honest choice of topics. But why has Hirst basically become the face of the Brit-art and is considered as one of the most influential people in art? 

Materials choice 

Just as his fellow colleagues from the Young British Artists, Hirst did not hesitate to experiment with materials and art forms. Taxidermy usually is not considered as a typical artistic touch. But with a little help of the conceptual background and Hirst’s interest in such fundamental topics as the perception of death, it certainly turned into a new main thing. Formaldehyde had helped created numerous works, which became Hirst’s signature works. By the way, he has sold one of them for the modest sum of $8 million. And this is our next highlight.

Commercial success 

There is a stereotypical believe that artists should be poor and hungry wanderers. Damien Hirst does not relate to this idea at all. Being called by BUSINESSINSIDER the inventor of the way “making money into an art form”, Hirst has always been commercially oriented. He managed to create a “brand” of his own persona and his oeuvre and had a productive partnership with one of the most successful dealers of nowadays, Charles Saatchi; Hirst is also considered as a most expensive living artist. 

“Money is massive. I don’t think it should ever be the goal, but I had no money as a kid and so I was maybe a bit more motivated than the rest… I do believe art is more powerful than money, though. I still believe that. And if I ever find out money’s more important, I’ll knock it on the head.”- quite a bold saying from artist’s interview with Observer. But that’s how Hirst is – scandalous and ambitious. 

Scandals and controversy 

Talking about Hirst as a brand, the saying “there is no such thing as bad publicity” becomes very relevant. He had his ups and downs, personal scandals and rebellious behavior in public. Moreover, he was accused of using too much help from his assistants and even secretly buying his own works for the incredible sums of money to increase the cost of his other creations. But overall the criticism and scandals, Hirst received a constant attention of the public, as well as his oeuvre. And this fact is just improving his commercial potential. 

Fundamental topics 

Despite the controversy, Damien Hirst transmits quite universal ideas in his works. The denial of the death in the modern society, relations with faith, circle of life, emptiness of the consumerism reality, the role of pop-industry in the contemporary culture. These topics are presented in the understandable and quite visual way. Public strike Hirst, but his art strikes back. Working with sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, prints and much more, he is fulfilling the role of a present-day artist as a multidisciplinary business mastermind.   

He continues the traditions of pop-art, Andy’s Factory with a pinch of postmodern essence and a bit of the Digital Era rules. He might be rough on the edges, but it does not restrain him from being on top of the Art Olympus for the past 20 years. Damien Hirst is an embodiment of an artists as a businessman, artists as his own image, artists as a challenger of the traditional values and believes. And he keeps being very successful in his role of a very successful contemporary artist, he keeps being Damien Hirst.    

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