A few months ago my friend published the above image as part of her blog. I thought -
Wow, that's gorgeous - I should look up the artist. So, I did. My fingers quickly typed Damien Hirst - which I thought sounded familiar. The images began to appear on the screen. Full stop.
Damien Hirst is a very wealthy and quite controversial British artist. I had seen photos of some of his early works many, many years ago. These were part of what he groups as Formaldehyde pieces. They are animals, preserved in formaldehyde and floating in clear boxes. At the time I thought, "Horrible! and that is NOT art." That I thought horrible doesn't bother me - it's my personal opinion and we each have our own opinions. But to decide that the works were not art and very quickly and dismissively as well - that bothers me.
First of all I know that not all art is lovely. One example is Edvard Munch's painting, "The Scream." It's not lovely and I'm not very fond of it. I find it horrible and haunting in its own way. Yet I feel strongly that it is art.
So Damien Hirst presented a problem since he had now created a painting that I liked very much. As I looked over his website there were a lot of works. He is prolific. That in itself is a sign of a true artist. He's a very wealthy man yet he is driven to create. I could feel an emotional response to works I liked and to works I didn't like. He has a lot of references to death, some to cancer, some to DNA, addressing difficulties and horrors that affect many of us who live in this time.
I've heard a lot of people say, "I don't know much about art, but I know what I like." I think that is a place to begin not a place to rest. For my part I think I shall explore Damien Hirst further. I want to see more of the pieces that I really like. I am intrigued by some of his other works - the Black Scalpel pieces in particular. They appear to be black and white or black and silver mosaics. The silver parts are scalpel blades of many different shapes and sizes. I find them intriguing and would really like to see one of the actual pieces. Modern art can be confusing and challenging. I would like to keep an open mind and explore.