Damien Hirst reveals Blue Peter inspiration

Damien Hirst explains how Blue Peter presenter John Noakes inspired him

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Artist Damien Hirst has revealed the inspiration for his famous spin paintings - an episode of children's TV show Blue Peter, which demonstrated the technique in 1975.

Presenter John Noakes made a rudimentary spin painting on air, watched by a nine-year-old Hirst.

"I grew up with Blue Peter," he said. "I got my idea for the spin paintings from an episode in the 1970s."

Hirst is seen making his artworks on the CBBC show on Thursday.

His signature spin paintings have sold for more than £1m and have helped make him one of the world's most celebrated and wealthy artists.

"I never thought it was real art," he said of spin painting. "I remember thinking, 'That's fun, whereas art is something more serious'.

"And then as I got older, I started thinking about Van Gogh and all those painters, and cutting your ear off when you're painting, and at that point I thought, 'Why does it have to be like that?'

"I thought, 'No, actually, the better art is the art made with the spin machine.'"

Damien Hirst with spin painting Damien Hirst has been given his first major retrospective, at Tate Modern in London

Hirst's passion was then piqued by a stall at a school fete that charged 5p to make a spin painting. "I queued up all day and I was making them over and over again," he told the show.

Now 47, Hirst has gone on to become one of Britain's most well-known but divisive artists.

His first major retrospective, which is drawing to a close at Tate Modern in London, has been a hit with visitors, and he created a giant spin-style painting to adorn the floor of the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 London Games closing ceremony.

But his detractors include art critic Julian Spalding, who recently suggested Hirst's pieces had "no artistic content" and would soon be "worthless financially".

Hirst has been presented with a gold Blue Peter badge to recognise his contribution to British art and he will be seen showing children how to make spin paintings on the show on CBBC on Thursday at 17:45 BST.

Blue Peter editor Tim Levell said: "I imagine a young Damien Hirst watching Blue Peter with wide-eyed wonder and then going out and trying something new that eventually inspired a whole body of his work.

"We hope the show continues to inspire and encourage today's children with every episode."

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