Damien Hirst reveals Blue Peter art inspiration

The artist famous for his work with dead sharks and crystal skulls says he was more captivated by John Noakes than Van Gogh


He may be known for his controversial, and sometimes gruesome, pieces of art involving animals and various other materials, but Damien Hirst has revealed that one of his first art inspirations came from a rather innocent place – Blue Peter.


Hirst highlighted an episode from the long-running children’s television series, shown in 1975, where presenter John Noakes demonstrated how to produce paintings using a spin-machine.

“I never thought it was real art”, he told the BBC of first seeing Noakes produce the colourful pages stained with bright paint. “I remember thinking ‘That’s fun, whereas art is something more serious’”.

But after a while, Hirst dismissed the idea that the world of art had to include the ‘cutting your ear off when you’re painting’ aspect that Van Gogh became famous for. “I thought, ‘No, actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine.’”

In the past, Hirst has used language as colourful as the paintings themselves to describe his spin-projects. Speaking in 2000, he commented on the pieces, saying ‘They’re bright and they’re zany – but there’s f**k all there at the end of the day’.


Spin-paintings have been a feature of Hirst’s output, and are famous for selling for over £1m. The artist is set to appear on Blue Peter on Thursday at 5.45PM, and will be seen teaching children about how to make spin-painting works.