Back in November, artist Stuart Semple created the world’s ‘pinkest paint’. The product, which took over a decade to develop, was made available to everyone, as long as buyers ensured that it would not make its way “into the hands of Anish Kapoor.” According to Semple, the renowned British-Indian sculptor didn’t deserve access to the colour, as he had been given exclusive rights to ‘Vantablack’ – the world’s blackest ever black – in 2014. “When I first heard that Anish had the exclusive rights to the blackest black I was really disappointed,” Semple explained last month. “I was desperate to have a play with it in my own work and I knew lots of other artists who wanted to use it too. It just seemed really mean-spirited and against the spirit of generosity that most artists who make and share their work are driven by.”
Semple’s ‘PINK’ paint, which is sold on Culture Hustle for just £3.99, quickly went viral – and the artist has now followed up the project with the world’s “glitteriest glitter”. Titled ‘Diamond Dust’, his new product is marketed as “super sparkly high-grade natural” glitter, made from tiny glass “super-shards”. Like his PINK, it is available to everyone – unless you’re Anish Kapoor.
“This is the best natural glitter in the world,” reads the product description. “The majority of glitters are made from plastics which give an artificial look when they reflect light. Diamond Dust is different as it is made from tiny flakes of glass, when these reflect light it achieves a unique diamond-like effect.” We caught up with Semple to find out more.
“I thought it made sense because the blackest black absorbs light and this stuff reflects it like nothing else!” – Stuart Semple
Why choose glitter as your next ‘colour’?
Stuart Semple: Basically Anish Kapoor still has the exclusive rights to the world’s blackest black, he's still being a big meanie, so I wanted to up the ante a bit and keep the pressure up on him to share it with the community! I thought it made sense because the blackest black absorbs light and this stuff reflects it like nothing else! I've been using this diamond dust in my work for a long time and I've always dreamed of being able to share it with other artists. Thanks to everyone getting behind the pink I was able to finally make enough with the manufacturer.
How did you make it? Did it take long to develop?
Stuart Semple: It's taken over eight years to get to this point. I had a usable glass-based glitter for my own work after about five years development, but I took another push to get to to the stage where I could open it up to everyone else. I was really a labour of love and a lot of trial and error, getting the right clarity of glass. This stuff is 99.8 per cent clear, so also invisible. I needed the right thickness – so it would sit flat on work, and I worked on randomly cutting it into fine shards so light is reflected from all sorts of angles. I call it ‘super shard’. It was a long and evolving collaboration with a British chemical company that produce glass flake for use in concrete architectural coatings. It's not like fake plastic kids glitter: it's serious stuff.
Stuart Semple: Not at all – we thought we'd sell four or five jars. Seriously, it's taken on a life of its own. We've been up shovelling powder into jars for weeks. It’s turned into some kind of Breaking Bad-style operation. Thousands and thousands are now going out. The thing I love the most is seeing what people are making out of it: lipsticks, furniture, sculptures, textiles, dying their hair... The problem we had was that we never expected to sell any so we priced it at just what it costs to make and we've had to somehow put in place fulfilment warehouses and customer service and all that stuff. But sadly, even though all that is exciting, it's still a failure because Anish is still at large in his multi-million pound Tribeca loft hoarding black holes all for himself.
Have you heard anything from Anish Kapoor about either this glitter or the pink paint?
Stuart Semple: One of my friends is friends with one of his friends and apparently he's really trying to get his hands on PINK. Please people no matter how much he tries we've got to hold out until he decides to share the black.
Stuart Semple: I'm working on all sorts, the big thing for me is a full line of powders which will be the brightest in the world. I've got them, I'm close but they need more oompf! I've got a series of nine super high-grade acrylic paints too – they are really something else – I use them in my paintings so I'm hoping to work them up to a stage where I can open them up for everyone who wants to try them. But more than anything I want to work with that VantaBlack, that stuff is the holy grail for me!
Follow Dominique Sisley on Twitter here @dominiquesisley
Have some news? Let us know on email@example.com