Although Hirst participated physically in the making of early works, he has always needed assistants and now the volume of work produced necessitates a “factory” setup. This has led to questions about authenticity, as was highlighted in 1997, when a spin painting that Hirst said was a “forgery” appeared at sale, although he had previously said that he often had nothing to do with the creation of these pieces. Hirst said that he only painted five spot paintings himself because,
“I couldn’t be fucking arsed doing it”
he described his efforts as
“They’re shit compared to … the best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel. She’s brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.” He also describes another painting assistant who was leaving and asked for one of the paintings. Hirst told her to, “‘make one of your own.’ And she said, ‘No, I want one of yours.’ But the only difference, between one painted by her and one of mine, is the money.'” By February 1999, two assistants had painted 300 spot paintings.
Hirst sees the real creative act as being the conception, not the execution, and that, as the progenitor of the idea, he is therefore the artist.