Art With Pills – A Nod to Damien Hirst

From: Episode 110 – The Great Wall

In the art themed episode of the show – The Great Wall – we decided to pay homage to British artist Damien Hirst. His series “Pill Cabinets” featured thousands of pills on tiny shelves against a mirrored background, and was a comment on our “take two and call me in the morning” society. Read on to find out how to make your own Damien Hirst.

Damien Hirst pill art

You’ll need:
  • 1 12-by-12-inch Plexiglas mirror
  • 6 1-by-12-inch clear Plexiglas strips about 1/4-inch thick
  • Collection of small, round, colorful objects, such as pills or buttons
  • White glue
  • Methylene chloride (a solvent that bonds Plexiglass; available at most hobby stores)
  • Clamps
Process

Methelene cholrideClamp shelves to mirror

Clamp a shelf in place on the Plexiglass mirror, and bond it to the face of the surface using the methylene chloride. To do so, place a corner of the mirror on the table so the clamped shelf is on a slight incline, and put the needle applicator of the agent at the top of the shelf, at the very crux of the two pieces of acrylic. (The needle directs the flow of the bonding agent more precisely than the tip of the bottle could.) The bonding agent will run down the crack to the bottom, bonding the shelf instantly. Now remove the clamps, and the piece should be bonded firmly in place. (The bond is immediate, so be sure the shelf is exactly where you want it before you apply the solvent.) Repeat this process with all six shelves.

Glue pills to shelves

Now it’s time to affix your decorative elements. (We used pills, but you can use any other colorful objects.) Apply a small drop of glue to the shelf where you will place the item, then set the item into the glue. If using pills, make sure any printing is upright.

The finished pill project

Now your piece is ready to hang; you can do that by attaching tab hangers on the back. Try experimenting with other objects that pique your interest – beauty supplies, sewing notions, etc. Let your imagination go wild! His pieces didn’t actually feature pills. They were ingeniously crafted replicas of pills that were and are marketed today. These pieces featuring real pills are a trifle more perishable, but the nice thing about them is you can swap out pills that get damaged with new ones. So now go and make your own Damien Hirst!

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