Be Careful is a signed etching from 2018 is a limited edition of 55 from Damien Hirst’s Lessons In Love series. The third in the series, Be Careful shows an image of five hyperrealist butterflies in saturated colours set against a colour field of bright orange. This series is indicative of Hirst’s desire to bring art, science and popular culture into dialogue with one another.
The motif of the butterfly has been used by Hirst throughout his career in the appearance of life that the insects retain in death. The Lessons In Love series is reminiscent of his series of paintings entitled The Four Elements (Who’s Afraid Of Red, Yellow, Green And Blue) from 2005. These earlier works were the first example of the artist’s use of painted butterflies which were to become one of his most recognisable motifs. Speaking of his obsession with butterflies Hirst has explained, “I think rather than be personal you have to find universal triggers: everyone’s frightened of glass, everyone’s frightened of sharks, everyone loves butterflies.”
Indeed, the Lessons In Love series exudes happiness, vibrance and joy as a celebration of the circle of life and colour. Blue patterns on the insect’s wings contrast to the bright orange background to create an eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing print.