Damien Hirst's Brit Awards statue design lacks imagination

The artist proclaimed himself "honoured" to have been asked to design this year's Brit Awards trophy - so why didn't he? asks Paul Jones

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Damien Hirst's Brit Awards statue design lacks imagination
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Paul Jones

When it was announced last November that Britart icon Damien Hirst had agreed to design the facia for this year's Brit Awards trophy, I joked that since suspending each individual statuette in a tank of formaldehyde was likely to be impractical, and encrusting it with diamonds – like Hirst’s $100 million skull – was prohibitively expensive, perhaps he'd resort to his famous multi-coloured dots design.

If that was a bit of an obvious comment it wasn't half as lazy as Hirst actually doing it. The new statuette – the third now since the music awards organisers decided to turn the design over to a different British artist each year – is simply the old one wrapped in a sheet of Hirst’s polka-dot wallpaper. 

Using the design that has become his trademark makes the statuette less of a coup for the Brits and more a trophy for Hirst. Of course we want to see something of his particular style in it – but that doesn't mean recycling an existing work (I wonder if Brits chairman David Joseph is disappointed that Hirst didn't deliver the "unique vision" he had been anticipating).

Yes, the association with Hirst benefits the Awards whether he designs anything new or not, but in that case all the organisers really needed from him was permission to use his famous coloured dots, since they could have come up with that idea just as quickly as he (and I) did. 

If Hirst is, as he claims, so "honoured" to have been asked to design the award, why didn't he? Putting a bit of effort, and some of his unique talent, into creating something new might have been a nice way of showing it. Then again, I doubt any of the winners at the ceremony on 20 February will be bothered that their trophy is not an original design – in the end, beauty is in the eye of the Brit holder.

The Brit Awards 2013 take place on Wednesday 20 February at the O2 Arena, London

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