The Gothiest Manicure Ever: Stuart Semple’s BLACK

“Avoid skin contact”

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Stuart Semple has an ongoing feud with Anish Kapoor — the artist behind Chicago’s Cloud Gate — because Kapoor “owns exclusive rights to use Vantablack, the blackest substance known, for artistic purposes.

In response, Semple created the Pinkest Pink, then the Glitteriest Glitter, all available for purchase by anyone other than Anish Kapoor. Kapoor later got his hands on the Pink and offered a retort.

Finally, Semple has come through with his ownworld’s mattest, flattest, black art material” — and it’s even black cherry scented. I bought some and tried it out.

> Note: Black 2.0 is out now! Apparently much blacker.

It comes in two parts: a white “Super Base” and the black pigment. You measure out a bit of the base and dump in as much powder as it will absorb… which isn’t much.

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It’s pretty black.

You have to smash particles of the grainy powder to make a smooth mixture; I started out using a paintbrush, but soon resorted to smooshing it all together through the plastic bag.

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I swirled the Black onto cardboard and the bottom of my shiny computer, onto a glow-in-the-dark 3D-printed crystal (at my SO’s suggestion), and the remainder onto my fingernails. The ones done with the brush came out lumpy and rough:

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First five = super lumps

…But I used a finger to mash it onto my right thumbnail (first pic), and that smoothed out well.

After it dries, it is quite matte. Since this is an acrylic paint, I’m wondering how to protect it without destroying the matte finish, which is the main purpose of this paint. It’ll eventually scratch off of most surfaces, though the spot on my computer has weathered a week and still looks pretty good.

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The black pigment does get everywhere, which makes it tough to heed the “avoid skin contact” warning on the jar (which I noticed only after smearing it everywhere with, and on, my fingers). I’m not dead yet, though, so take care with your fancy fabrics and things should be OK. Being acrylic, it washes off impermeable surfaces easily until it dries.

Blackest Black: Maybe not actually the blackest black, but good fun… Post your own results under #sharetheblack .

DIY robots, music, EEG, wearables, languages. FIRST alumna. Hardware Nerd @hacksterio. She/her

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