Lessons we can learn from Damien Hirst
Grayson Perry recently said the most exciting thing about him was ‘probably his accounts’, art critic Brian Sewell said he produced too much work and was ‘as original as a Ford Mondeo’ and former gallery boss Julian Spalding has added his voice to the throng, adding that those who own works by Hirst should sell it before people realise ‘it isn’t art at all’.
Say what you like about Hirst's output, it is above all else creative, controversial, and, each and every time, a brilliant example of a great idea well executed.
From the pickled shark to the 'spin' paintings, from the anatomical sculpture to the skull covered in diamonds, Hirst doesn't pretend he did anymore than ensure the realisation if a great idea. Over 300 spot paintings have Hirst’s name on them, yet only five were ever made by him and he employed assistants to create them, claiming he found the process boring.
Some of his ventures have been less than successful - his Notting Hill restaurant was a flop and Fat Les was the worst thing to happen to music until the ascendancy of Simon Cowell. Yet, you can't keep a good man down and Hirst bounced back from those set backs, and numerous court cases to make him one of the most relevant and innovative artists alive today.
Hirst has so many ideas rattling around in his head, one can only help but wonder what would have become of him had he not persevered with his dream of getting into Goldsmiths, having been rejected first time round.
With so many ideas, advertising and the creative industries seem an obvious choice. Damien’s able to come up with fresh, innovative new ideas on a regular basis, and while lacking the technical and production skills to realise these ideas, is very skilled at working with a large group of differently skilled people to bring his idea to fruition, while never losing sight of his overall creative vision. Sounds to me like he’d fit right in to any modern creative agency, and his approach is a template we can all use and learn from.
One thing is sure, whatever industry has lost, is all of our gain.