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In 2009, Damien Hirst was invited by Disney to create an artwork inspired by Mickey Mouse in his own unique artistic language. A playful reinterpretation of the artist’s own signature spot paintings, with its elemental composition and bold colors, Mickey stands as the culmination of the artist’s seminal series which he has pursued continually since 1986. Inspired by the most famous cartoon character of all time, Mickey is an outstanding representation of Damien Hirst’s innovative artistic vision - engraining his own instantly recognisable painterly language into the canon of art history. Mickey represents a significant addition to this rich artistic tradition. The boldly graphic visual presentation of Mickey in Hirst’s iconic spots offers a geometric distillation of the quintessential profile of the famous mouse, representing the artist’s engagement in Pop Culture and traditional themes of academic art.
“The thing about Mickey is that even though he’s gone through so many shifts in form and association, he’s timeless. In a way, he means the same in the 21st Century as he did decades ago. I watched the cartoons as a kid, and my kids watched them too. He’s relevant because he’s remained so culturally ingrained and he still looks so great. The way children are entertained today has obviously changed dramatically, but kids are still kids, and love the same things.” (D. Hirst, quoted in interview, December 2013)
This spot motif has been used by Hirst, taking inspiration from Mickey’s round shapes to create ‘Mickey’, household gloss on canvas painting, which was auctioned in aid of Kids Company on Thursday 13th February 2014, reaching £902,500 at auction.
“It’s using simple means to capture the very essence of his form solely through the power of colour. I love that the imagery is so powerful that it only takes 12 different coloured dots to create something so instantly recognisable.” (D. Hirst, quoted in interview, December 2013).
Other Criteria will be donating 10% of the sale proceeds (net of tax) from the sale of Damien Hirst’s Mickey limited edition print to Kids Company.
Damien Hirst was born in Bristol in 1965. He first came to public attention in 1988 when he conceived and curated ‘Freeze’, an exhibition of his own work and that of his contemporaries at Goldsmiths college, staged in a disused London warehouse. Since this time Hirst has become widely recognised as one of the most influential artists of his generation.
Through a varied practise of installation, sculpture, painting and drawing Hirst has sought to explore the complex relationship between art, life and death. Alongside over 80 solo exhibitions he has worked on numerous curatorial projects. In 2008, Hirst took the unprecedented step of bypassing gallery involvement in selling 244 new works at a Sotheby’s, London auction entitled ‘Beautiful Inside My Head Forever’.
Hirst was awarded the Turner Prize in 1995 and his contribution to British art over the last two and a half decades has been acknowledged in a major solo retrospective exhibited at Tate Modern, London. He lives in Devon and has studios in Gloucester and London.
Text © Damien Hirst & Science Ltd., All rights reserved, 2012