Damien Hirst was so poor before he made his fortune as an artist that he used to hunt for money in the streets, the Mirror reports today (March 30, 2012). He made the revelations in a Channel 4 documentary, ahead of his forthcoming Tate Modern exhibition, which opens next week.
Damien grew up in Leeds, with his mother, Mary and he explains that, at times, money was so tight, he used to hope to find money that had been dropped on the floor. "When I was a kid we had so little money I remember looking for money on the street. I used to look round thinking 'I hope I find a pound note." Now, of course, Damien's fortunes have altered significantly. Aged 46, his art has made him incredibly wealthy and he became notorious for his famous spot paintings, as well as preserving animals in formaldehyde. However, when he had become incredibly wealthy, he became "afraid money is more important than art or that I am using the art to get the money." His solution to this was to spend $40 million making his famous diamond encrusted skull, which he later sold for $50 million.
Hirst says "It frightened me to be spending that much money on it (skull) at that time but from an art point of view I felt it was worth it. I feel happy that the diamond skull exists in the world. Every time I look at it, it fills me with awe and wonder."