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Damien Hirst success.

Damien Hirst...

DH is interesting for several reasons:

  • He has created many art pieces in a wide variety of genre from sharks in formaldehyde tanks.

  • To sculpture of skulls covered in diamonds,

  • And to simple dot and spin paintings, and more.

  • Co-founder of Young British Artists movement 1988.

  • In 1995 he won the Turner Prize.

  • With an estimated wealth of 300 million dollars he has become one of the world’s richest living artists. Ever.


What are the reasons for the last thing on my list?

DH is a very innovative creator. Over the years he has made, developed in depth, and exhibited many new surprising pieces that have kept his fans glued to his output.

He attracts attention from the established critical art-world who relish the surprises as he switches from one body of art to another.

It looks as though he has used, and then spurned, and then risen above, the control of the established art dealer network.

He is prolific, employing a team of assistant art workers in more than one studio to supply a lot of art in various forms and for many venues.

Obviously he has a very interesting story to tell and he tells it efficiently.

I suggest that these factors and others invite more and more investment. Primarily because he seems to be unique. Secondly because he gets so much attention from the established art-world. And thirdly because owning a ‘Hirst’ has positive social status.

And fourthly, prospective investors can see that other buyers have already done very well. And it seems a safe place to put your money with a good chance that there is a lot to gain. So the investment value and price goes up.

And DH gets rich rewards.

Is this yet another example of ‘the emperor’s new clothes’? Is DH really worthy of such rich success?

Push or Pull?

Did he push his way into fame and success or was he pulled up into it by the art establishment?

Did his early art career success enable him to explore and relish the opportunity to create in ways that most artists do not? That would be DH pushing up.

Or has the money side of the art-world fashioned a demand for his work that influenced his creative output? And does that matter? That would be DH being pulled up.

We like to think that he pushed but need to recognize that he might have been pulled.

Well of course it might be both. Push and pull working together.


The art world has an extremely interesting body of work to talk about and enjoy.

Other artists can be inspired by seeing that artists can be recognized, appreciated, influential, and well paid.

Also the non-art-world will see that artists can be financially successful, social status positive, and they might sponsor and encourage other artists.

We all gain.



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