It all started in Hoxton, East London in 1993 when curator Joshua Compston staged a mock parish fair called “A Fête Worse than Death”. All Young British Artists were invited to perform, Gary Hume was disguised as a Mexican bandit selling tequilas, Tracey Emin did palm reading and Damien Hirst dressed in a clown costume together with Angus Fairhurst who made spin paintings using a potter’s wheel. Later in 1995, Hirst decided to build a drawing machine with which he could start his own Spin painting works.
The complex and lengthy process was characterized by a high degree of physical intervention at every stage by the artist, sometimes to a physically dangerous degree, as the copper plates, fixed to the spin machine, rotated at alarming speeds. Working closely with the printers, Hirst set color guidelines then made a final selection of etchings, offering a customized portfolio of work that had stretched the etching medium to its limits. Deliciously fresh, playful, childish, colorful, and fun, the Spin etchings were made by the artist in London in 2002.
"Helter Skelter" is one of the fourteen etchings that comprise the second volume of two portfolios, "In a Spin, the Action of the World on Things" Volume I and II, Hirst’s attempt to develop his concept of spin drawings and paintings into the print medium. The piece is characterised by additional work in pencil and felt-tip pen by the artist, which makes it a unique piece.
“I really like making them. And I really like the machine, and I really like the movement. Every time they’re finished, I’m desperate to do another one.„