Anish Kapoor has long been known for his large-scale, intensely colored artworks, but his penchant for being proprietary has long irked others in the art world.
But then came Vantablack.
Earlier this year, Kapoor sparked outrage from artists all over the world with the announcement that he had made a deal to become the only person in the world allowed to use the blackest pigment of black paint ever developed. Known as Vantablack, the unique carbon nanotube-based pigment is produced solely by a British company called NanoSystem, and was originally developed for military technologies. However, Kapoor made an agreement with the company that he is the only person allowed to use it for artistic purposes.
Needless to say, that made plenty of other artists furious.
"When I first heard that Anish had the exclusive rights to the blackest black I was really disappointed," artist Stuart Semple tells Kevin Holmes for The Creators Project. "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.”
Like Kapoor, Semple’s work often uses vivid shades of color, and for years he had worked with scientists to develop increasingly intense pigments to use in his artwork. So as a response to Kapoor’s exclusive deal with Vantablack, Semple decided to release his own special pigment, known simply as “Pink,” the Irish Examiner reports.
While “Pink” isn’t based on nanotechnology, like Vantablack, Semple says it is the pinkest pink pigment ever created. Now, in an effort to thumb his nose at Kapoor, Semple is making it for sale to everyone in the world—except Kapoor, Tom Power reports for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Q.
Semple is currently selling “Pink” through his website for £3.99 per pot (about $5). However, before purchasing the powdered pigment, buyers have to agree to a legal disclaimer that states they have no intention of letting it fall into Kapoor’s hands.
As Semple’s website states:
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 it’s way into that hands of Anish Kapoor.
Of course, Semple isn’t cruel enough to ban Kapoor from using this color for life—only until Kapoor agrees to give up his exclusive rights to Vantablack, Power reports. While Kapoor has said that Vantablack isn’t actually that useful for painting, since it’s so hard to make enough of the pigment, for Semple it’s the principle that counts.
“[Kapoor is like the] kids who wouldn't share their felt pens,” Semple tells Power. “They just sat there in the corner without any friends."
Now the ball is in Kapoor’s court.