Now, I am no fan of Damien Hirst, for sure, but he seems to pop up in way too many conversations these days. Someone on Masterchef said that his plate of food looked “almost as good as a Damien Hirst” (raising some interesting remarks on Twitter) and there seems to much discussion about authenticity around his work (which is clearly his intention).

As a result of the continued debate, we decided to do “spin paintings” at today’s Saturday Art Club workshop and it turned out to be a great “family” activity, inspiring everyone from 2 years old upwards.

Now spin painting is obviously not Damien Hirst’s invention – we all know that, don’t we?. if in doubt, search Wiki and you will find all sorts of information about its introduction into Fine Art:

“The father of spin art, that is, the first known artist to produce, display and promote spin art, was Eugene R. Pera. He appeared on US broadcast network TV on the shows What’s My Line and I’ve Got a Secret in New York City in 1958 and ’59 with his “Painting Machine” which utilized a vertical spinning canvas at which he carefully lobbed the contents of small paint cans. The show’s hosts, Jack Parr and Hugh Downs, as well as their celebrity guests, were enthralled. Mr. Pera’s statement to the art world at the time was effectively, “We are living in the Machine Age. Since machines have taken over so many tasks previously done by the human hand, my Painting Machine enables anyone to make dramatic abstract art.” He did not patent the invention and it soon became a carnival novelty souvenir and money-maker for those who did.

Since the 1960s spin art can be seen in the works of certain contemporary artists. The artists using this technique often reconfigure their own machines by incorporating a more powerful engine than those belonging to schools. The variety of results that this technique produces gives us a good idea of the infinite possibilities.”

Well, whoever was responsible for its popularity matters not as we had amazing fun experimenting, pouring, splattering and flicking paint. The potters wheel will never be the same!

Fancy a go? Just pop in on Saturdays between 10 and 2pm to our Art Club. It’s free (though we appreciate donations very much).