Hirst had previously pursued legal action against the teenager who used images of the artist's famous diamond encrusted skull in some of his own work. As a result of that dispute the pieces were confiscated, which prompted the recent protest. Cartrain created 'wanted' posters stating that the pencils would be returned to Hirst if his own artworks were returned to him, but that failure to do so would result in the pencils being sharpened.
Cartrain, 17, is now the subject of an investigation by the UK police, who had initially arrested his father in connection with the matter. The stolen items have been valued at £500,000 with the accused said to have 'damaged the concept of a public artwork' - something that must be difficult to quantify in financial terms, although that's presumably what will happen when the case comes to court.
Mr Hirst, thought currently to be the richest living artist, is no stranger to controversy, not just on account of his work but also comments such as those made about 9/11, which he said was 'kind of an artwork in its own right'. He later apologised for those comments, but has yet to apologise for having no sense of humour.
In the 1972 BBC TV series and associated book Ways of Seeing, John Berger said about a different artwork:
It has acquired a new kind of impressiveness. Not because of what it shows - not because of the meaning of its image. It has become impressive, mysterious, because of its market value.
Last week the art collector Charles Saatchi, who famously sponsored much of Hirst's earlier work, and who is generally credited with making the artist a household name, told the Telegraph that Hirst had been 'rather off-form for a while'. Perhaps the artist is considering legal action as a new (and lucrative) form of conceptual art.
Written by Sue Smith