damien hirst says it's impossible to make art without money

"A lot of people think that artists need to be poor," the controversial icon said in a recent conversation with Jeff Koons.

by Hannah Ongley
20 May 2016, 10:35pm


It might not come as a surprise that Damien Hirst, the British art rebel specializing in preserved animal carcasses with 18-carat gold horns, would be skeptical about creating work on a minimal budget. Nor is it unbelievable that Hirst is optimistic about the influence of money on creative expression, given that he's reportedly the richest artist in Britain. The 50-year-old provocateur, who shattered the record for a one-artist auction by raising $198 million in 2008, is rather quite adamant that money should be respected — not reviled — by young artists. Ahead of his London exhibition of Jeff Koons' work, Hirst told the BBC that he's sick of money being thought of as a "dirty word."

"I think a lot of people think that artists need to be poor, or that you can't have a focus on money," he said. "When I did my auction, when I made all that money, it changed everything for me and it was made in such a short period of time." He added, "I think money is a huge part of our lives. I've always thought it's as important as love, or death, or something to come to terms with, something to understand. It's a key and it's something you need to respect... I definitely don't think [money] should be considered a dirty word." 

Hirst hat-tips Andy Warhol for approaching money in such an overt way. "I think Andy Warhol made it okay for artists to deal with money," he said. "I think, once that happened, that you can't make art without somehow taking it on board." Koons, sitting beside him, was shown nodding his head in agreement. 


Text Hannah Ongley
Image via Instagram 

Damien Hirst
Jeff Koons