Damien Hirst has teamed up with rock star pal Pete Townshend, painting The Who star for the cover of his new single, I can’t outrun the truth. Hirst’s portrait of Pete in the Rotation Paintings the style goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in London on June 28 in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust (estimated at £120,000-180,000). The pair spill the beans in an enlightening interview edited by Sotheby’swith the British artist tackling a range of topics from working with assistants – “Really there’s only one creative person and that’s me, what if I have assistants who have ideas like that , I usually encourage them to go away and do their own thing” – to his current project.
“I paint the view of the river through my window [at his studio in Hammersmith, west London] and everything changes so much and so often that the paintings end up being collections of many little moments like high and low tides. Since the confinement, I really like to paint by myself, the public comes later, ”explains Hirst.
Music helps when he paints the tides, he says, with tunes by Max Richter and Leon Bridges a godsend. But a period event in his life could have been a little louder. “When I think back to the Sensation exposure [in 1997 at the Royal Academy of Arts] I was shocked at how quiet it was when we were taught at Goldsmiths that we could do anything, there are no boundaries, but it’s quiet as a mausoleum,” reveals Damien.