Damien Hirst is infamous for having a lot of assistants do (most) of the work for him. He has been criticized time and time again for this. Now, his latest series, The Veil Paintings, which comprise of 24 paintings, have all been done by Hirst himself. No assistants.
My idea is that Damien Hirst is a showman. He’s also a master at marketing his works and managing to sell them to eccentric billionaires. Even more than that, he kind of persuades them to fund his most expensive and risky ideas.
And that is something to be admired. Truly.
The usual artist is… struggling and poor and dies without much recognition, because he lacks the skills that have made Damien Hirst incredibly rich. Think Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, etc.
Yes, Damien Hirst is not much of an artist, but he’s one of the best at selling his art, and these two are different skill sets.
I am doing my best to build a business around promoting artists. And, the thing is, I have noticed that most of them do not want and do not know what to do to market their art. And the possibilities are numerous nowadays. They feel that selling art prints, merchandise, and the likes would feel like prostitution.
And using a Print-on-Demand facility to sell some merchandise doesn’t take nearly as much sustained effort as convincing rich folks to buy stuff from you ( won’t go into detail, but it does require social intelligence and the likes)
The usual artist does not even try to market his works, to find an audience. He’s too busy creating. If he’s lucky enough to find success and fame, so be it, if not, he’ll keep on creating. Maybe it’s something about self-doubt ( you only do your best to sell something you genuinely believe in), maybe it’s just the introverted artist-type’s dread of having to socialize with others.
So, yes, praise to Damien Hirst for selling his artworks. Even if he barely touches a canvas nowadays.
Also, most Renaissance artists we so admire today had teams of assistants.
Is that a problem?
After all, no one would ever expect of Henry Ford to build all the Model T’s all by himself.