Damien Hirst has created a Snapchat lens, so anyone can make a Spin painting

The AR experience is a virtual version of the artist’s process for the renowned series, where users can make and share their own artwork.

5 May 2020

Damien Hirst has collaborated with Snapchat on an augmented reality lens that allows users to make and share their own version of his famous Spin painting series. The series, which Hirst himself refers to as “childish… in a positive sense of the word,” sees the artist pour and throw paint onto a spinning circular canvas, allowing the mechanical process to influence the patterns that emerge.

In the virtual version, users can similarly choose colours to “pour” onto a rotating disc appearing on the floor of their own space via the AR lens. They can then save and share their artwork, meaning “anyone can make a Spin painting now,” Hirst says in a video introducing the project. “I can’t believe how well it’s turned out. It’s really simple… and reaches millions of people.”

Inspiration for the Spin paintings came from a school summer fete Hirst went to when he was six or seven years old, he explains. “They had a fruit crate with a motor in the middle… [with] little postcards and you’d bulldog-clip them on and squirt tubes of paint at it. You couldn’t drag me away, I loved it.” As an artist, he first experimented with spin art in 1992 in his studio in Brixton, London, and the following year set up a spin art stall with fellow artist Angus Fairhurst at artist-led street fair A Fête Worse than Death, where the duo were made up as clowns and invited visitors to pay £1 to make their own Spin paintings, signed by Hirst and Fairhurst.

Hirst then began making the first paintings in the series in 1994 using a large spin machine, while living in Berlin. All Hirst’s Spin paintings have long titles, beginning with the word “Beautiful” and ending with “painting,” for example Beautiful Ray of Sunshine on a Rainy Day Painting.

The project with Snapchat is helping to raise funds for charity Partners in Health.

Snapchat has a history of working with artists to develop interactive digital works. In 2017 the company collaborated with Jeff Koons to launch an augmented reality exhibition of the artist’s most recognisable sculptures around international tourist destinations, such as Trafalgar Square and the Eiffel Tower lawn. The Balloon Dog was later “virtually vandalised” by artist Sebastian Errazuriz in protest of “AR corporate invasion”.

GalleryDamien Hirst x Snapchat: Spin painting lens

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Damien Hirst x Snapchat: Spin painting lens

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Jenny Brewer

Jenny oversees our editorial output across work, news and features. She was previously It’s Nice That's news editor. Get in touch with any big creative stories, tips, pitches, news and opinions, or questions about all things editorial.

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