Damien Steven Hirst (born 7 June 1965) is an English artist, entrepreneur, and art collector. He is one of the Young British Artists (YBAs), who dominated the art scene in the UK during the 1990s. He is reportedly one of the world's richest living artists and during the 1990s his career was closely linked with the collector Charles Saatchi.
Death is a central theme in Hirst's works. He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved—sometimes having been dissected—in formaldehyde. The best-known of these was The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, a 14-foot (4.3 m) tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a clear display case. He has also made "spin paintings", created on a spinning circular surface, and "spot paintings", which are rows of randomly coloured circles created by his assistants.
In September 2008, Hirst made an unprecedented move for a living artist by selling a complete show, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby's by auction and bypassing his long-standing galleries. The auction raised £111 million ($198 million), breaking the record for a one-artist auction as well as Hirst's own record with £10.3 million for The Golden Calf, an animal with 18-carat gold horns and hooves, preserved in formaldehyde. In several instances since 1999, Hirst's works have been challenged and contested as plagiarised. In one instance, after his sculpture Hymn was found to be closely based on a child's toy, legal proceedings led to an out-of-court settlement.
In 2012 Damien Hirst donated the statue 'Verity' to the North Devon harbour town of Ilfracombe. Made in stainless steel and bronze Verity stands at 66.4 ft tall and at the time of installation was the UK's largest statue. Damien Hirst has very close personal ties to Ilfracombe as it was a regular haunt for holidays as a child. Damien Hirst now lives near Ilfracombe and has various properties/business's in the area. Being based in Ilfracombe Fleek Gallery is particularly proud to be able to exhibit Damien Hirst's artwork.
In 2017 Hirst created ‘Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable’. His most ambitious and complex project to date, The exhibition was almost ten years in the making. Exceptional in scale and scope, the exhibition tells the story of the ancient wreck of a vast ship, the ‘Unbelievable’ (Apistos in the original Koine Greek), and presents what was discovered of its precious cargo: the impressive collection of Aulus Calidius Amotan – a freed slave better known as Cif Amotan II – which was destined for a temple dedicated to the sun.
‘The Currency’ in 2021 by Hirst is the artist's first NFT drop. The Currency is a collection of 10,000 NFTs, also known as Tenders, which correspond to 10,000 unique physical artworks by Damien Hirst, with the NFTs containing high resolution images of the front and back of each of the 10,000 artworks.