Unlike the dead butterflies in his work, Damien Hirst is not easy to pin down.
Everyone wants an interview with the richest living artist, so Hirst decided to kill 98 birds with one stone. In a four-part series on Instagram he has called “On the Psychiatrist’s Couch,” the 54-year-old YBA answers questions submitted by the public about his life, his work, and how he is coping in isolation.
The artist conducts the “self-interview” from his cavernous studio, where he is working on his latest series of cherry-blossom paintings. He explains that he is still driving to and from his studio despite the lockdown in Britain, which technically prohibits anyone but key workers from leaving the house for non-essential purposes.
Nevertheless, the artist says he is taking the coronavirus seriously. “For a while I thought, ‘Maybe I just need to get it, to get it out of the way.’” he says. “But then I thought, ‘I don’t like that lottery.’” As a former heavy smoker, Hirst is among those more vulnerable to the respiratory disease (listen up, David Hockney), so he is wearing masks and gloves in his car on the way to the studio. “I don’t care how stupid I look,” he says.
Interspersed with some banal details of his life such as a penchant for snooker and an obsession with the UFC, the artist gives some insight into the inspirations behind some of his famous works. But we’ve watched all four so you don’t have to. Here are the most interesting tidbits from Hirst’s Insta-confessional.
There’s one material he’s always dreamed of working with: plutonium. We can’t imagine why that’s never happened yet.