Bailey Pennington Art October 30, 2012 Damien Hirst Damien Hirst was born in Bristol, England, on June 7, 1965. Hirst is a controversial and successful artist; He emerged as a leading figure in the Young British Artists movement in the late 1980s and 1990s. His works, which include dead animal displays and spin-art paintings, have sold for exceptionally high prices. Hirst is one of the wealthiest artists living today. Hirst and his American girlfriend live in Devon, England, with their three sons.
Damien Hirst showed an interest in the grisly and gruesome aspects of life early on. His mother described him as a morbid child. As a teenager, Hirst liked to look at illustrated pathology books, fascinated by the images of disease and injury. He also showed an interest in drawing, a passion his mother supported. Hirst got into trouble as teenager, and was caught shoplifting twice. But despite his behavior he did end up graduating at Goldsmith’s College at the University of London.
In 1991, Hirst had his first solo exhibition at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London. He also participated in the Young British Artists show at the Saatchi Gallery the following year. There he displayed “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” a 14-foot-long glass tank with a shark preserved in formaldehyde. The shark had been bought from an Australian fisherman. Hirst continued to set the art world on fire with his work at the 1993 Venice Bienniale, a renowned international art exhibition.
There he showed “Mother and Child Divided,” an installation piece that featured a bisected cow and her calf displayed in four vitrines, or glass cases, filled with formaldehyde. With his controversial and sometimes gruesome works, Hirst soon became one of the best known artists in Britain. He won the prestigious Turner Prize in 1995. “It’s amazing what you can do with an E in A-Level art, a twisted imagination and a chainsaw,” Hirst said in his acceptance speech.