Warning: Don’t Mess with Damien Hirst’s Pencils

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The artist Damien Hirst is trying to ruin a seventeen year old artist named Cartrain … for stealing a pack of pencils as a practical joke.

Originally, Hirst went after Cartrain for using an image of his famous diamond skull for a collage that Cartrain sold on his web site. The art gallery in charge of Cartrain’s work apologized to Hirst and gave up the artwork. Cartrain, seeking revenge, went to Hirst’s exhibit at the Tate Modern and stole a pack of pencils that were part of the exhibit. He then created a wanted poster that read:

“For the safe return of Damien Hirst’s pencils I would like my artworks back that … Hirst took off me in November. … Hirst has until the end of this month to resolve this or on 31 July the pencils will be sharpened.”

I love this kid, but Hirst, humorless capitalist that he is, wasn’t laughing. The pencils were valued at £500,000, Cartrain was arrested and released on bail, and now Cartrain’s stunt may go down officially as one of  “the highest value modern art thefts in Britain.”

#hirstisacock has become a popular hashtag on Twitter because it’s true.

Also, let’s not forget that Hirst is a hypocrite. (via @charltonbrooker)


Seth Fischer’s writing has twice been listed as notable in The Best American Essays and has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize by several publications, including Guernica. He was the founding Sunday editor at The Rumpus and is the current nonfiction editor at The Nervous Breakdown. He is a Dornsife PhD Fellow at USC and been awarded fellowships and residencies by Ucross, Lambda Literary, Jentel, Ragdale, and elsewhere, and he teaches at the UCLA-Extension Writer’s Program and Antioch University, where he received his MFA. More from this author →