Known as the United Kingdom’s richest living artist, Damien Steven Hirst was born and raised in Bristol, England. He was fascinated by morbid things early on as a child and developed an interest in the more gruesome aspects of life. According to his mother, Damien Hirst liked to read books on pathology and diseases. Although he lead a troubled youth, he went on to attend Goldsmith’s College at the University of London to study art and became part of the emerging movement of the Young British Artists or YBAs known for their challenging art concepts. While attending the University his first big exhibition entitled “Freeze” was in 1988 and one of his earliest pieces entitled “With Dead Head” showed him posing next to a severed head in a morgue, illustrating his fascination with morbidity.
Damien Hirst’s first solo exhibition came in 1991 at the Woodstock Street Gallery in London and at the Saatchi Gallery the following year in which he displayed “The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living,” a 14-foot-long glass tank with a shark preserved in formaldehyde. He also ventured into paintings and sculptures but along with being considered a visionary, he also became a very savvy and successful businessman. His fame and notoriety have allowed him to put large values on his art work. In 2008, he brought in nearly $198 million at a Sotheby’s auction in London entitled “Beautiful Inside My Head Forever” breaking the record for a one-artist auction. Damien Hirst still participates in exhibitions worldwide and shows no signs of decline in the art world.