In my opinion, Damien Hirst is the most famous living artist in the world. Period. No one else even comes close. And he is for certain, the richest living artist, and is known as such. Hirst is a British artist, born in Bristol, who grew up in Leeds. Most of his artwork is very closely related to the theme of death in one way or another. To me, their are three immediate associates I intitially make when I think of his art. Formaldyahyde, skulls, and spin paintings. The first is because of his series of pieces that are huge tanks with actual dead animals sitting in formalydahyde, frozen and preserved for all eternity. One of the most famous, The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, features a 14 foot tiger shark, became the symbol of British art in the 90s. He work is also laiden with skull imagery. The most famous of these being For the Love of God. For The Love of God is a platinum cast of an actual human head, totally encrusted in 8,601 diamonds. The piece cost 14 million pounds to create, and was on sale for 50 million pounds, the highest price ever for a work by a living artist.
Click on the skull above to link to the White Cube gallery site with a few images of his work.