Damien Hirst, I admire not for his art but his attitude. I can see that his art is very striking and stands out from the crowd, but I cannot see through the fact that he has stepped into doing a massive marketing campaign. It all seems too pre-planned. He seems to me to have created something that’s going to cause people to talk, whether that’s in a good way or a bad way; it doesn’t matter, as long as it gets the press and the general public talking.
Damian Hurst was going to get noticed as his work was so unconventional. He came to the art market at a time when the art scene in the late 1990s/2000 was all about artists learning, practising their techniques and keeping to the same style. The typical journey for an artist was, go to art school, get good grades and qualify. Like every trade, you would be competing with many other artists, and the more work you put into this quest of recognition, the better your chances would become.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Damien Hirst and all the brit-pop kids were looking overseas at what was going on in New York. With the whole movement of artists like Andy Warhol. Who was ripping up the rule book, in what the bourgeois was saying what ‘art’ was and what ‘art’ wasn’t?
To get famous as an artist back then was a lot to do with being lucky. If you managed to get an art gallery to like you, you would become a professional artist, and the art gallery would take care of the marketing, pricing and PR. If it all went to plan, your art would cause a stir, and people would buy your art as an investment, you could become famous.
Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst approached the art world differently and didn’t believe what the art world said as the complete truth. They both shrugged off the artworld rules, and instead, they got involved in the marketing, pr, and business side themselves. Andy Warhol would employ people to create his art which was very different from other artists.
Damien Hirst also shook up the art world by creating art that did not fit into what the art world was saying. His work was all about being striking and causing a commotion. Such as his collection of dead animals placed inside large glass cases of formaldehyde. I wouldn’t say I like this collection and thinks it’s very disrespectful to the natural world and the animals we share on this earth. But I can see why he created it, as it caused a reaction of shock and confusion.
As I said, I don’t admire Damiens art, but I respect that he made me think about my art and the fact I feel no need ‘to play the game’. I have always thought everything we do is art, as in, even our personalities have been created by ourselves, and how we dress is also a form of art and expression.
I mention this before in past writings—this obsession people have with putting things in boxes and labelling things – it’s a toxic action. The way the art establishment has carved up “what is art” and “what isn’t art”. It doesn’t work for me, and all that has happened is to create a competition between artists and art buyers. So people can play the game of capitalism and making particular art more money than other art, which keeps the whole capitalist economy ticking away.
As in doing this, we also limit what we find and what we see. I refer back to the following quote that I hope explains what I’m talking about entirely. “To define is to limit” – Oscar Wilde.