A while ago I heard about a spat between two artists. Anish Kapoor had been granted exclusive rights to a sprayable version of a new paint. This paint was Vantablack, the blackest black ever. It absorbs so much light that things painted with it look like impenetrable voids.
The argument seems to have begun when Kapoor decided that no-one else would get to use Vantablack for artistic purposes. While I absolutely adore Kapoor’s Cloud Gate in Chicago (also known as The Bean), the setting is perfect and it brings something both joyful and surprising, I am not really moved by any of his other work. This does not mean I would ever dream of preventing him from creating it in any way he wished.
Another artist, Stuart Semple appears to have felt the same way. Semple created The Pinkest Pink and his website proclaims “By adding this product to your cart you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make its way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.”
Kapoor responded by sourcing some of the pinkest pink, dipping his middle finger in it and posting a picture online.
Choosing not to admit defeat in the face of such smugness Semple went on to create the world’s most Glittery Glitter, Greenest Green and Yellowest Yellow instead, but my interest was piqued when I saw his version of the Blackest Black on Kickstarter.
Without a second thought I backed that project.
My first thoughts when contemplating the blackest of black paints turned to whimsy, as my thoughts often do. So my first dabble with this lovely substance is this:
(Whilst updating backers about the progress of his paint Semple requested that people post their Blackest Black art online and while that’s not something I can do via social media…I have no social media…I can do it here).
In case you want to dabble yourself, the website for all those wonderful colours is here.
(There is a theory that both artists are involved in a protracted performance art piece with this feud, but it is not one I find credible. Call me cynical but I find it all too easy to believe someone, someone who calls themselves an artist no less, would deny a product such as Vantablack to others, simply to protect his advantage…fortunately there are also people like Stuart Semple in the world).