In the run-up to the release of Barbie, reports flooded in that the film’s production had drained global supplies of pink paint, thanks to Greta Gerwig’s reliance on hand-painted sets over CGI. The resulting Barbieland uses 100 shades of pink, but none are more important than the eponymous “Barbie Pink” – a signature colour trademarked by doll manufacturer Mattel.
If there’s one person that doesn’t agree with companies barring others from dipping into their private palettes, though, it’s British artist Stuart Semple. The YBA has previously taken on Anish Kapoor in a battle (some may say a petty dispute... Dazed would never) over the latter artist’s exclusive rights to Vantablack, with Semple producing an even “blacker black” for public use.
In his noble quest to democratise the use of very specific shades of paint, Semple has also introduced the world to the “glitteriest glitter” and a special colour-changing paint, available to anyone but Kapoor. Now, his sights are trained on Mattel’s “colour hoarding”.
With Barbie’s public premiere taking place on Friday (July 21), Semple has officially unveiled “Pinkie”, AKA the “Barbiest pink paint” available for purchase. Apparently, the material features high-quality acrylic resins, blended with optical brighteners and new fluorescent pigments. It’s billed as a direct response to Mattel’s registered trademark.
Artists be warned: anyone looking to buy Semple’s Pinkie paint must confirm that they’re not an employee of Mattel, or associated with the Barbie manufacturer in any way. They must also promise that, to the best of their ability, they’ll keep the paint out of the hands of anyone at Mattel. Why would Mattel want it, when they already have enough hot pink to paint an entire IRL mansion? Who knows.