How to Make Cheap Copies of 10 Damien Hirst Artworks

01/19/2012 12:31 PM |

(Photo: Prudence Cumin Associates)
  • (Photo: Prudence Cumin Associates)

On Tuesday New York City real estate broker Richard Silver pleaded guilty to misdemeanor forgery and was given a 60-day jail sentence for selling a fake Damien Hirst spot painting on eBay, the Post reports, after he had been duped by its previous seller. He will also repay his victim $84,000 in retribution. If that sounds like a steep price for a fake Hirst spot painting—several hundreds of which are currently on view at Gagosian locations around the world—fear not: you can make your own (and other iconic Hirst works) for much, much less.

(Courtesy Gagosian. Photo by Rob McKeever)
  • (Courtesy Gagosian. Photo by Rob McKeever)

Spot Paintings (1986-2011): These are the easiest paintings to replicate since Malevich’s “Black Square”! If you don’t trust yourself to draw a nice circle by hand, use glasses and pots to trace the outlines of your spots before filling them.
Canvas: $7-$50
Household paint: $15+ per quart

(Courtesy Gagosian)
  • (Courtesy Gagosian)

Innocence Lost (2009): There’s really nothing to this one. Buy extra sausages so you can take a lunch break while working on it. Just make sure to keep it out of reach of actual babies and hungry drunk people.
Glass baby bottle: $11.39 for a six-pack
Sausage: approx $5 for six links
Bottle of clear liquor: approx $20

(Courtesy Metropolitan Museum)
  • (Courtesy Metropolitan Museum)

Spot Boot” (2002): In one of those rare instances of artist-designed merchandise being cooler than the actual artwork, Hirst and Manolo Blahnik collaborated on these kicks. Make your own by painting dots on much cheaper shoes. Try not to wear them in the rain or snow though, or you’ll have something more similar to Damien Hirst spin painting boots.
Pair white boots: $70
Assorted textile paints: $10-$20

(Courtesy L&M Arts)
  • (Courtesy L&M Arts)

Medicine Cabinets (1989 onwards): If you’re the type who never throws out old medicine, you might actually already have one of these in your bathroom. Go check!
Medicine cabinet: $25
Assorted pills: $4-$30 per bottle

(Courtesy the artist)
  • (Courtesy the artist)

Spin Paintings: This is a fun one, just make sure you put down newspaper or something before you make your spin paintings. Hirst allegedly made the first of these at a party, by mounting a canvas onto a power drill. If you don’t have one of those, maybe just balance your canvas on something like a bottle (party game!) and give it a spin before dripping your paints.
Round canvas: $7-$13
Six-pack of fluid acrylic paints: $23.25

(Courtesy Other Criteria)
  • (Courtesy Other Criteria)

Butterfly paintings: Unless you’re a lepidopterologist, you’ll be using fake butterflies for this, which is good because otherwise you’ll probably be accused of sadism.
Canvas: $7-$50
Assorted fake butterflies: $3.50-$12 for packages of 12-20

(Courtesy Other Criteria)
  • (Courtesy Other Criteria)

Crucifix” (2005): You can make this really easily from the leftover pills that didn’t go into your medicine cabinet sculpture (see above).
Wooden cross: $17.50
Assorted candy pills: $4
Glue: $3.50

(Courtesy Museum of Modern Art)
  • (Courtesy Museum of Modern Art)

Home Sweet Home” (1996): If you really wanted to copy this totally meta bar accessory properly, you’d probably get the image printed directly onto a porcelain ashtray, but who has the time for that? Just print your cigarette butt image onto a piece of paper (with a nice color, inkjet printer, preferably) and tape that into the bottom of a generic ashtray.
Round ashtray: $7.20
Stock image of cigarette butts in an ashtray: free (with trial membership)
Color printing: ¢30 (or less? who prints things anymore?)
Tape: $1.39

(Courtesy the artist, Tate)
  • (Courtesy the artist, Tate)

The Acquired Inability to Escape” (1991): This is the art world’s version of a Dilbert comic strip.
Desk: $99
Office chair: $25
Lighter: $1
Pack of cigarettes: approx. $11
Giant glass cubicle: prices vary

(Courtesy the artist, Rijksmuseum)
  • (Courtesy the artist, Rijksmuseum)

For the Love of God” (2007): This one’s so easy someone actually made a make-your-own kit, but I prefer the from-scratch approach.
Life-size replica of a human skull: $30
Fake diamonds: $10 per 8-ounce bag
Super glue: $14.50 for six tubes

Follow Benjamin Sutton on Twitter @LMagArt

(Disclaimer: We are not suggesting that you make fake Hirst works in order to sell them as originals. The artist has to make a living and this would severely imperil his ability to do so. But seriously, this is a joke, don’t make forgeries.)

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