Footage of Damien Hirst smashing up busker’s records at Claridge’s will be turned into an NFT

He recently set fire to his multi-million pound paintings, but Damien Hirst got his first taste of art destruction 12 years ago.

At the time, he was recruited by Daniel Spiller, a 43-year-old busker and musician, to help destroy his records before his eyes in the name of art.

The couple spent hours breaking records with wood and poker in a suite at the Claridge Hotel, one of the world’s most expensive hotels.

Now, for the first time, footage of the historic day will be available in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

A video of Hirst destroying a CD of Mr. Spiller’s former band, The Broken Record Project, will be auctioned off as digital art weeks after Hirst set fire to his paintings.

The couple spent hours breaking records with wood and poker in a suite at the Claridge Hotel, one of the world's most expensive hotels.Pictured: stunt shots

The couple spent hours breaking records with wood and poker in a suite at the Claridge Hotel, one of the world’s most expensive hotels.Pictured: stunt shots

A video of Hirst destroying a CD of Mr. Spiller's former band The Broken Record Project comes up for auction as digital art weeks after he set fire to his own paintings

A video of Hirst destroying a CD of Mr. Spiller’s former band The Broken Record Project comes up for auction as digital art weeks after he set fire to his own paintings

At the time, he was recruited by Daniel Spiller, a 43-year-old busker and musician, to help destroy his records before his eyes in the name of art

At the time, he was recruited by Daniel Spiller, a 43-year-old busker and musician, to help destroy his records before his eyes in the name of art

NFTs are certified by the blockchain, proving their originality and ownership. They can be purchased with cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ether, the currency of the ethereum network.

Mr Spiler approached Hearst with several other celebrities, including Boris Johnson and comedian Hugh Dennis, to promote the controversial stunt.

So captivated by the idea, the 57-year-old British artist invited the singer, now a busker on London’s South Bank, to spend a day in one of the world’s most expensive hotel suites.

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The pair spent “crazy” hours together, breaking the music, and Mr Spiller said Hirst was so enthusiastic about the stunt he even hung the broken disc from his nose as a “fun” part of the gimmick.

‘Damian is outstanding. His generosity in time and spirit is incredible,” Mr Spiler said.

Mr Spiler approached Hearst with several other celebrities including Boris Johnson (pictured also taking part in the stunt)

Mr Spiler approached Hearst with several other celebrities including Boris Johnson (pictured also taking part in the stunt)

Hirst's recent The Currency collection, where 4,851 of his 10,000 A4 paintings were lit and turned into NFTs

Hirst’s recent The Currency collection, where 4,851 of his 10,000 A4 paintings were lit and turned into NFTs

“He spent hours talking, asking questions, serving beer, and he was very enthusiastic. He loved the concept, seemed to love the prank and understood the meaning of the art.

Throughout the process of destroying the CD, Mr. Spieler said he “serenaded Hearst” by singing and playing guitar.

“My art was destroyed when I was creating in front of him…it seemed to touch him on an artistic level,” he said.

‘I remember thinking to myself,’ ‘I’m a street performer, but I’m sitting with the most expensive artist in the world, in his most expensive hotel suite, when he’s smashing my music, he’s on him Singing sweetly in my ear… how surreal”.

Footage of the day was all but lost until Mr Spiler found them in the bin he had brought to the tip, not realizing it until the bag burst open and the contents spilled out.

Inside were fragments of records and logs that Hirst used to smash CDs he also signed.

Mr Spiller said Hirst’s recent The Currency collection, in which 4,851 of his 10,000 A4 paintings were set on fire and turned into NFTs, reminded him of “my art being destroyed”.

“I think about Big Claridge’s fireplace, the wood to smash things and the poker,” he said.

“Destruction is a powerful visual effect that exemplifies Damian’s talent.

“I’ve been busking in London since we shared that day twelve years ago, and he continues his reign as the world’s most creative and expensive artist – that tells you a lot about his magic.”

Digital artwork will be auctioned on the musician’s website danielspiller.com in the coming weeks, and those eager to get their hands on these unseen footage and signed logs can now register their interest.

Mr. Spiller has made some “interesting proposals” for alternative payment methods – including swapping his NFTs for one of Hirst’s recent collection of dot art.

“Destroying my art means a lot to me, it’s valuable, it’s a sensation,” he said, adding that he might one day show other record-breaking videos in the gallery.

“There is a powerful force to the dark and almost grainy footage of my art being destroyed.”

In the same year, other celebrities also participated in the stunt.proved Dennis, presenter Finn Cotton and Boris Johnson, who will remain prime minister for many years to come, are hugely popular.

Mr Spiler revealed he only managed to get the former prime minister on board after sneaking in at a party Mr Johnson attended with a friend.

“I crept up to him and asked him if he was going to break some music and he thought it was a trap,” he said.

Mr Johnson said he did not want to be photographed looking like he was breaking something, fearing it might be taken out of context later.

But soon, Mr Spiler said, he won the trust of Mr Johnson, who “got into the spirit of it”.

“He was so funny…he took the music out of my hands, clenched his fists, and finally announced to everyone that he broke the record,” recalls Mr. Spiller.

“When the camera was off, he whispered that he loved the whole thing and said it was a good idea.

“He is great.”

Mr Spiller now hopes the sale of the Hirst NFT will help reverse his “latest doom” – after his street performance business took a hit during the pandemic.

He said: “It’s been tough lately, buskers seem to be paying a high price – the pandemic means we’ve lost our place on the subway, foot traffic is still down, and now a cashless society makes it even harder .”

‘The recent hard times? Yes, but that doesn’t hide the fact that I love what I do – sharing music with people is the greatest joy – and I see how it brightens their day.

Back in 2010, Spiller was approached by several artists for his stunts

Back in 2010, Spiller was approached by several artists for his stunts

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