Damien Steven Hirst (born 7 June 1965)
Damien Hirst is an English artist, entrepreneur and art collector. He is the most prominent member of the group known as the Young British Artists (or YBAs), who dominated the art scene in Britain during the 1990s. He is internationally renowned, and is reportedly Britain's richest living artist, with his wealth valued at £215m in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.
Death is a central theme in Hirst's works. He became famous for a series of artworks in which dead animals (including a shark, a sheep and a cow) are preserved in formaldehyde. His tiger shark immersed in formaldehyde in a vitrine (clear display case) became the iconic work of British art in the 1990s, and the symbol of Britart worldwide. He has also made "spin paintings," created on a spinning circular surface, and "spot paintings", which are rows of randomly colored circles created by his assistants.
In September 2008, he took an unprecedented move for a living artist, by selling a complete show, Beautiful Inside My Head Forever, at Sotheby's by auction and by-passing his long-standing galleries. The auction exceeded all predictions, raising $198 million, breaking the record for a one-artist auction.