Our studio Sunday artist today is Damien Hirst. Hirst is currently well known for being the highest-paid living artist. Some of his works are made with such valuable materials as precious metals and preserved animals.
Hirst’s main studio is located in Stroud, Gloucester, in the rural English countryside. The entire studio building takes up 9000 square feet! Most of the action happens in a large or warehouse-like space, pictured above. Other, smaller offices are attached to this building, making the studio a fully-functioning industrial building where Hirst and his assistants churn out ideas and artworks. The strange and valuable materials that Hirst uses requires specialized equipment and spaces, so Hirst’s studio was designed with a specific room for dealing with dangerous chemicals – namely, formaldehyde, which he uses in his Natural History series, for preserving animals in tanks (most notably a 13-foot-long tiger shark.)
In his art practice, Hirst likes to try to question preconceived notions about both the art world, and more metaphysical topics like death and mortality. As a youth, the artist had trouble imagining or reconciling his own mortality, and used art as a way of working through that. Many of his pieces look rather humorously at death, including the aforementioned Natural History series, as well as his sculpture For the Love of God – a platinum cast of a human skull, encrusted in diamonds.