Damien Hirst Collaborates with Snapchat to Help Partners in Health

British artist Damien Hirst has partnered with Snapchat to launch a new augmented reality filter, allowing users to create their own virtual versions of his iconic Spin paintings.

Damien Hirst for Snapchat

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.

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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.”

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”.

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