Tetrahydrocannabinol is an etching from 2004 by Damien Hirst produced in an edition of 115. Showing a large grid of coloured dots, evenly distributed across the print, this work is a print edition of one of Hirst’s famous Spots paintings. No coloured dot is the same in this rectangular composition and the systematic grid is set against a plain white backdrop.
Hirst works almost exclusively in series and his scale of production is considerable enough to merit employing a large number of assistants across various studios in Gloucester, Devon and London. The artist has said of this: “I like to do series… I think that I try to avoid doing something unique, or being unique. If you feel like that, you end up benefiting by using other people. I like the idea of a factory to produce work, which separates the work from the ideas, but I wouldn’t like a factory to produce ideas.”
The original Spots painting from 1986 was made when Hirst was still studying at Goldsmiths College. On a three-board panel that he painted white, Hirst randomly paints coloured spots with household gloss, the paint dripping down in the spaces between the dots. The original painting was Hirst’s attempt at unifying his faith in Abstract Expressionist painting with his newly cultivated interest in Minimalism, a style that he previously reviled.