Damien Hirst Corporation Layoffs

I told myself that I wouldn’t mention Damien Hirst for a while as he’s a bit of a news hog, but I just can’t help myself. There’s no other artist out there like him. None of my artists friends have told me that they’re laying off up to 20 employees as none of my artist friends have 20 employees to lay off.

damien hirst exhibitionThe quote below is from the Guardian newspaper here.
“On Thursday, up to 17 of the 22 people who make the pills for Hirst’s drug cabinet series were told their contracts were not being renewed, according to two sources close to Science Ltd, Hirst’s main art-producing company. Another three who make his butterfly paintings were also told they were surplus to requirements.
It is thought that amounts to approximately half of the London-based artists who work for Hirst. They are paid about £19,000 a year, sources said. In June 2007, Lullaby Spring, a cabinet filled with hand-painted pills, sold for £9.65m.”

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. So there is a silver lining to the current ecconomic gloom. A recession is a bit like the end of winter when all the useless rot gets spring cleaned away making space for newer, brighter, fresh stuff to emerge. If Hirsts art mart were a dog it would have been mercifully put down years ago. Lets hope the “more money than sense” brigade who bought this mass produced tutt for millions join the present financial cull. The old saying has it that fools and money are supposedly soon parted and Mr Hirst and Sotherby’s have proved this true so well over the years!

    A few years back a friend and I started buying paintings and prints by UK artist Nicola Slattery. I don’t know how much they have risen or fallen in value but I do know I enjoy looking at them again and again. Can the same be said for the shark and cow bits, pill boxes and assorted spots?

    You could make this blog a bit more varied and actually stick to your oft stated aim to de hirst the thing. Just because Hirst has a big voice doesn’t meen you have to offer him your megaphone as well.

    Personally I think you are a bit addicted to the Hirst thing. Maybe you need some sort of rehab? My advise is to start by looking at early masters and gradually over time (about ten minutes or so) start to look at modern art, maybe stuff by Picasso or Rolf Harris would help? If you find this works for you and you manage a hirst free month or two then please pass on the therapy as many are in very great need.

    More art less Hirst please… may be you could start by adding a profile of that other UK artist I mentioned… it’s all on her web site.. or perhaps something on Rolf!.

  2. I probably do have a Hirst addiction Earl, but he has so much to teach artists. I’m more interested in the man as business artist than art producer as a lot of his art products keep my interest for about 5 minutes.

    I’m not saying we have to all become shock/business artists and hire an army of workers, but we do deserve to live comfortably and not have to worry about the rent or mortgage payment.

    I do plan to mention an artist each week too, with a few pics and a link, I just keep putting it off. Im a giant procrastinator.

  3. I’m just thankful it’s not old Tom Kincade that inspires you! He’s another clever businessman and artist of sh … I meen light. I doubt his pics would keep your interest for a full 5 seconds let alone 5 minutes but I believe he is currently the worlds richest artist. Never mind the quality just check the price tag. We used to hear a lot about the Tulip bubble of the C17th in relation to the current rapid deflation of the world wide asset bubble. I wonder if a decade or two from now people will teach youngsters about the crap art bubble of the present. At least the tulips looked and smelled good!

  4. Donald Frazell says:

    This buble will be very well illustrated, got tones of garbage to fill more useless museums wiht. Less is more, quality no quantity. At teh moment on a crusade to make sure no public monies go to saving MoCA here in LA, complete waste of space, has the excellent count Panaza collection, which they basically stole from hi by missrepresenting adn fine print, the American way. Eli Broad, the main figure behnd our housing woes in SoCal, being the patron and looking to add another museum of dated crap. Contemporary art is passe the minute its first show is over, as it has no substance.

    speaking of substance and slaughtered animals, Happy Turkey Day! What do you have down there for a Thanksgving Dion, stewed roo? Sorry. Wombat? Sorry again. Our giant feathered dinosaurs do taste delicious, and can be seerved in many ways. Plan on being bloated tonight and going to our Museum of Latin American Art tomorrow, we all get a day off though most are shopping on Black Friday.

    Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

  5. Please… Please…Please…
    Enough with Damien Hirst !

  6. Come to London for Christmas and have Chinese boiled rat and crispy fried cockroaches.

    Poor old Hirst. He’s got to make his own pills now. Still, he could always relocate to India and employ child labout at a pittance, as other Big Name brands have done. Might not do his image much good when the tabloids find out….

  7. Thomas Kinkade probably has a few things to teach us too, but yeah, I havent even heard good things about his business dealings, so I can’t even admire him as a business artist. I would rather dots and medicine cabinets than sickly patriotism and religion.

    No thanksgiving down here Donald. I have tried kangaroo. Havent heard of anyone eating wombats though. Would be like eating a koala I guess. But yeah, I have seen small selections of kangaroo in supermarkets now. Most people can’t get past the cuteness factor, even though roos are so much less damaging to the environment than cows (and in some areas there’s so many of them that they have to be culled).

    You probably have Chinese cat there too Ian. I have heard of Chinese restaurants being charged for having cats in the freezer here. It doesnt stop me from eating Chinese food though ;-)

  8. Whether people like him or not he plays, played a big role in the art world and marketing of art and it is interesting to be kept up to date on what is going on in the art world. So if you are obsessed or not ;), thanks for sharing.

  9. I enjoy all updates that are relevant to current events in the art world, Hirst or no Hirst. I’ve been trying to give this guy the benefit of the doubt for a couple years now. I enjoy a lot of his ideas and his art, and I think he can play a smart business game at that, but laying off a good portion of staff after raking in the amount he has this year is extremely f*cking low. I would actually like to hear more details on this. We’re not talking a company the size of an auto manufacturer here. He is a very lucrative small business. There is no excuse.

  10. I’m surprised Hirst’s workers aren’t busy selling ‘spare’ pills they have lying round the workshop.

  11. Donald Frazell says:

    Burp. Excuse me, stuffed like teenagers in an amusement park, some damn good turkey, but the stuffing was divine. Three kinds of mushrooms and walnuts, mmmm.

    where you been Dion? Is no news good news down under? Off watching that Australia movie? Any good? Looks rather Hollywoodish over the top to me, whats your Bollywood down there?

    Been tearing it up at the LA Times blog about MoCA going broke. What a waste of a museum, all the art brats crying about how vital it is to LA, yet can only get 2k signatures on their petition that was supposed to get 10k by today. LOL! Should have been the Museum of Latin American art, which we went to yesterday here in the LBC. much better art, that really is relevant to life.

    Its funny always though Botero was some bozo who was a pop phenomenon, but actually is a rather good painter, especialy compared to MoCA favorites like Murikami’s dumbass cartoons. Children. The wife loves his work, me, i rather favor Tamayo, one of my alltime favorites. Compare himn to being the Mexican Braque, far better than the muralists, only Rivera a real artist. But Boteros color in person actually glows, amazing, with his big ole children adn women. Would love my nieghbors grandaughter, she actually looks like one. Scary.

    Thanks for posting my old Imperial Clothing article, got a philosopher guy who has me linked as a excellent article, and the yoga folks love me. Funny. I am real popular outside of the art “Educated” set. Those brainwashed by the self indulgences of anemic academia.

    Gonna write an article on the death of contemporary art in the depression that is beginning, will take some time for folks to see and comprehend, especially limited in vision art folks. Can call it the death of post Modernism, will Modernism return? dont know, but something better arise that reflects humanity, not a tiny sect of inbred spoiled children.

    I will say Obama is doing a great job so far, the left is starting to get pissed. Perfect. The end of the illusions of both left and right must happen to get through this. They will return, but hopefuly weaker for awhile, and reality can be our goal, of arts also. Truth always. And art can reform, become vital, virile, physical, passionate.

    The main guy at MoLAA was Arnaldo Roche, kinda insteresting, Puerto Rican guy a little older than me. Too much van gogh heads in things, huge paintings, triptychs but like his simpler things better. His all blue one of a car flayed out was excellent, his outlined bodies on paper put together in a huge mural was rather blah, but usually uses lots of yellows in a van gogh style, lots of anguish over his mentally sick brother who killed his ister adn then himself, in a wheat field similar to van gogh. liked some stuff but has wholes, gonna go back for another viewing however. Good art always takes at least three viewing to really gather it in. and feel it truthfuly. Worth the visit.

    Get back to posting, Brians been boring lately, all interviews with children, and Winkleman and AFC trivial. At Art Basel Miami with ther irrelevant folks.

    All caught up in a day without art stuff today. AIDS is an important subject, but you would never know it has devasted more than just the limited artsy community from their press. Africa is the place of birth and true death. Use an rubber, stop fucking everything in sight, and stop with the needles, and AIDS dies out here. In Africa, there are so many other diseases that make AIDS more contagious and deadly early, it is wipping out whole populations. This is the one area Bush has done a good job in, funding work there generously.

    So get posting, or you may have to post my articles filled with “bile” as the local children call it. The next few years will be very interesting in art, I hope. times are ripe for real change, begins in attitude. Towards life. Cherishing it, not being amused in decadence.


  12. Word is your other favourite, Hazel Dooney, is also laying off assistants, but then, I also heard she’s hiring too so who knows? Not quite the same league as Hirst but the harsh economy is affecting everyone.

  13. Donald Frazell says:

    REALLY?! SHE ahs assistants? With all the whining she does, its like the world is on her shoulders, waiting for every movement she makes with baited breath. And working so, so hard. She only does those sily women in jobs posters, whre she complains how painstaking it is, layering the colors so there is no brush mark. Well use enamels then. So she has assistants do them eh? Sigh, absurd. She jsut uses a stencil to draw the figure, change a few clothes, and difer the color some,. REAL hard work. Art is useless these days. Soft ass children.
    art collegia delenda est

  14. Looking toward a new piece of art to view. Some of my best friends are cows. (wink)

  15. For some other artists this link is quite handy:


    : D

  16. Donald Frazell says:

    Dion, you alright? Vacation? Been a week, lots going on with museums going under, or about to, and the art marketing frenzy of art basel miami.

    You OK?

  17. @Earl – you got that right. I love how you say it:

    “A recession is a bit like the end of winter when all the useless rot gets spring cleaned away making space for newer, brighter, fresh stuff to emerge.”

    That’s my hope for the recession too. I think sometimes we need tough times to keep us honest and remember what really matters in life. Let’s hope for some fresh quality art to emerge.

  18. Donald Frazell says:

    You are right on Slattery, like her work alot. Not my thing exactly, a little Botero, Rousseau,. Chagall mixture, very nicely done. She illustrates the little things in life we all feel, things that make us human.

    Thanks, now let me check out this Rolf character, sounds like a massage technique.

  19. Hey Donald. Still alive and kicking. I’ll be back on the horse again in the next couple of days. I just needed some fresh for a few days.

  20. No posts for a week… I guess you took my advice and got yourself into a rehab center for Hirst and other crapbrit art addicts. Well done for taking that first step. Like all addicts the withdrall symptoms can be tough but try to be strong. Don’t be tempted by friends to allow yourself “just a little bit of Emmin” and be on your guard for Mr Hirsts next tricks. Dealers like him are ruthless and he’ll stop at nothing to get you hooked back on his junk! He may even try disguising it perhaps using a bit of oil paint or a marble plinth. Don’t fall for it… I beg you!

    Soon you will be stronger and able to discover your senses again seeing colour and perhaps texture. Your craving for the shock of a shark or the thrill of Tracy’s soiled knickers on an an unmade bed will wane and once more you will be able to enjoy the simple pleasure of some paint on a surface (could be canvas or maybe wooden board) looking beautiful.

    Until then I strongly advise against visits to Publicly funded galleries such as the Tate etc. Instead try a few carefully sellected commercial galleries that only survive if they show the good stuff. The Tate and other public funded outfits can show any old tat and still get billions forced out of the publics wallets.

    I hope you are now feeling much better and will soon be able to post something reflecting your newfound freedom from that dreadful Hirst addiction.

  21. Pardon, but: Hirst who? ;p

  22. I suppose any story involving money and Damien Hirst is always a bit depressing and the fact that the Guardian reported that his employees earn £19,000 a year seems like exploitation. But, on the other hand, the value that we place on art has never corollated with the cost to make it.

    To me, he’s an advertising guy’s type of artist, so no wonder his biggest supporter is the world’s most famous ad man, Saatchi. Hirst’s art functions on the same level as an ad. It grabs your attention, shouts a message and then, well, goes no further. The downside, like most advertising out there, is that it’s shallow, all fluff on the surface and the moment you scratch it, it’s hollow inside. That’s why his work is best seen in a gallery where you can get the quick fix and move onto something else, a bit like a commercial break, you could say.

  23. @POST-IT UP

    So very well said!

  24. Post it Up is spot on. Just hope this Art News Blog fella gets out of rehab soon. No posts for 2 weeks… going cold turkey on Hirst is obviously a lot tougher than I realised!

  25. I would agree with your assessment POST IT. It is sadly a reflection of the times and in that sense serves it’s purpose. Not for the work itself but what it represents.

  26. Dion, you ok man?

  27. looks like you’ve gone a.w.o.l.
    missing your news :)

  28. Still alive and kicking. I sometimes go missing like that. Australian aboriginals call it going walkabout. You just get up and go.. then come back when youre ready.

    No rehab needed Earl. I actually bought a Damien Hirst book while away, called on the way to work, so maybe I can review it for you after I finish reading it ;-)


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