Who Won Damien Hirst’s Instagram Caption Contest? The Vulgarian Who Aimed the Crudest, Most Concise Insult at the Artist

The artist went with brevity—and irreverence—in choosing the winner of a "Veil Painting" print.

British artist Damien Hirst poses before his creation The immortal (1999) in 2010. Photo by Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images.
British artist Damien Hirst poses before his creation The immortal (1999) in 2010. Photo by Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images.

It’s official: Damien Hirst admits he’s a “twat.” Or, at least, that’s the irreverent caption the artist has selected to win his self-staged Instagram contest giving away a print of one of his “Veil Paintings.”

“I’ve read so many replies to my dumbass competition I’m losing my fucking marbles, what was I thinking having a fucking competition anyway!?” the artist wrote in a comment on the original post, which has some 32,967 likes and over 10,400 comments. The photograph shows the artist in his studio, clad only in a pair of bright pink underwear, matching socks, and black crocks emblazoned “Damien.” The contest was announced on June 26.

The winner, who goes by the username @beigebrick, is identified on their profile picture as a UK-based visual artist. “In the end I had to pick it as the winner because of its simplicity,” Hirst admitted. “And because if you can’t laugh at yourself you’re fucked.”

As of press time, @beigebrick had not commented on the victory, or on whether or not they are a fan of Hirst.

The prize is a print by the artist, who recently released a new line of editions with London’s Heni Editions of his paintings Sans Souci, AndromedaGarden of Dreams, and Cannizaro. Non-caption contest winners can inquire about acquiring one at [email protected]. The prints are being sold to support London’s Serpentine Galleries, but there are no prices listed on the institution website. Hirst has also made new limited-edition prints based on his recent “Colour Space” series for London’s Tate museum, priced at £3,000 ($3,800) each.

The “Veil Paintings” debuted this year at Gagosian Beverly Hills and became an immediate sensation. Hirst, who has for years employed an army of assistants to produce thousands of mechanical-looking “Spot Paintings,” personally created the new canvases, a profusion of color inspired by French artist Pierre Bonnard. (Others have pointed out the works’ resemblance to paintings by Aboriginal women artists.)

In the caption contest, @helloraychan poked fun at Hirst’s longstanding reliance on assistants, writing “It’s taken years for you to paint your own. How long will it take to write your own bloody captions?” The artist remained good-natured, responding “Nice :-.”

Hirst admitted to having a hard time choosing a winner. “There are so many good ones,” he wrote, before listing several more favorites: @anaramosart’s “Que Seurat Seurat,” @bazquee’s “THE DEVIL WEARS NADA,” @christina__ruby’s “Hirst’s most ballsy work yet,” @eddielove5’s “I Pink, Therefore I Am,” and @hamishmthompson’s “Jackson Bollocks,” which the artist dubbed “very British with a hint of America.”

“This one’s obvious but a goodie too when thinking about the shite that people who don’t get it throw at contemporary art,” Hirst added of @downzi’s “The Emperors New Clothes.” He also admitted to enjoying @baodraws’s “My girlfriend just caught me blowdrying me penis and asked what i was doing. Apparently ‘heating your dinner’ was not the right answer,” but the artist worried that it was “too fucking sexist” to win.

Other contenders included @pixiepaintbrush, who submitted a limerick: “There was a young artist from Leeds, who swallowed a packet of seeds, within half an hour his balls were in flower and his spots were covered in weeds!” And Hirst’s dentist, @ralph_the_dentist, wrote “Beauty Hirsty – Itchy Cockster – Spotty Budgie – Pinkie Boxers – Take the Pills – Trust da Doctor.”


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