Saturday, November 04, 2006

Art In The News: Is Hirst A Copycat?

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[Damien Hirst’s disputed 2000 work Valium, top, and the 1984 drawing by computer graphics artist Robert Dixon]

We all know that artists are known for 'borrowing' images from time to time. However, some 'borrow' more from an image than they should. This seems to be the case with Damien Hirst from the viewpoint of Robert Dixon. Dixon charges Hirst with stealing one of his patterns.

Dixon recently went public with his accusations. He claims that Hirst copied 'True Daisy', which was published in the Penguin Dictionary of Curious And Interesting Geometry in 1991. The piece in question,'Valium' (2000) by Hirst, does look like 'True Daisy' (1984) by Dixon. What do you think? Does it matter if Hirst did 'borrow' the pattern? Mr. Dixon feels that it does matter.

Dixon claims that Hirst would have never created 'Valium' had he not observed 'True Daisy'. Both images share the same number of 'spots' and the same pattern of movement. Dixon claims that the chances of two artists creating similar images with the same amount of 'spots' is very slim. Dixon has since contacted Hirst demanding financial compensation and an acknowledgement of his artistic contribution. Hirst has yet to respond.

The conflict between Dixon and Hirst over 'True Daisy' is nothing new. Three years ago Dixon accused Hirst of copying the circular pattern for a children's coloring book. However, keep in mind that Hirst is no stranger to acts of plagiarism. In 2000 Hirst paid designer Norman Emms compensation after copying a toy that Emms had designed.

What do you think about these claims? Are they legitimate? Or do you think that Dixon is after something else? Is it possible that Hirst may have created 'Valium' with no prior knowledge of 'True Daisy'? Should Dixon be compensated? Should Hirst get a restraining order? Discuss. I want to read and respond to your opinions!

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

I believe the accusation of plagiarism is slightly exaggerated as the adge of "everything has been done before" is much used in the art world.Hirst converted Dixon's vocabulary into his own.Aren't all artists do that one way or the other.The resemblances could be found between 2 art works at any given point of time.Brian,even you have said in your interviews that certain compositions remind you of Twombly or Giger.
Although I must say I was left with a certain amount of frictionun when my art was interpreted by my co-artists at SVA residency.

Balhatain said...


Yeah, I think the charge is a little off. Especially since the guy has done it before.

However, there is a difference between a certain style looking like the style of someone else and a cookie-cut replica of another persons images. It does seem strange that the image has the same dots and same pattern. Do you agree?

You can't copyright a style, but you can own the rights to an image. They do look the same in many ways and Hirst does have a history of this.

I just find the news and report it. :P

ainesse said...

Come on "whats your name" with your precious spots....I mean this is a common kind of format and has been seen in mandala imagery for years and years. The other thing is that Damien Hirst has making artworks using dots for quite a few years - I imagine that he thinks up his more original (works of 'depth') whilst drawing out the spots and 'colouring them in'.

Anonymous said...

Damien Hirst is an "Artist" who uses other artists works, slightly changes them to make them legally his own and then produces them as his having them auctioned off for millions, hiking the price by having his own gallery, white cube, bid in numbers unbelivable to secure a huge amount of money. oh, btw, robert dixon, artist of 'True Daisy' read this:
fourth paragraph up from Inspired.
it reads:
"Last year Robert Dixon, a graphics artist, said that Hirst’s print Valium bore unmistakable similarities to one of his circular designs on page 74 of The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Geometry, published in 1991.

He claimed that when he initially contacted Hirst in 2003 he was taken aback by the e-mail response from the artist’s manager. Apparently unaware of Mr Dixon’s involvement with it, the manager said that Hirst had drawn inspiration from a book given to him by a friend – The Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Geometry.

Mr Dixon told The Times: “So Hirst’s manager wrote back to say the drawing was ‘nothing to do with you’, not realising that it was.” "

so you tell me? I'm a photographer, things have been done a million times, shot over and over, and yes, i get inspiration by looking at other fArts photog's, but it doesn't mean i take an image, shot in b/w, reshoot it in color and photoshop an effect in and call it mine.