Today’s colour story is about black.

Dating back to the stone age, early man decorated cave walls with one of the earliest pigments known to man – Carbon Black. Using the charcoal from the leftovers of organic substances, prehistoric societies documented life on earth with the pigment, marking their existence through hand stencils and painted animals on cave walls with the colour black.

As one of the most accessible pigments of the time, black played a pivotal role in the development of art. It is the shade that solidified Rembrandt as the master light and shadow, the ink we use to produce mass literature, and a colour so ingrained in our everyday lives that we barely give it a second thought.

It’s no surprise that nearly 14,000 years later, when scientists at Surrey Nanosystems in the United Kingdom developed Vantablack (also known as the darkest substance known to man at the time), and reserved exclusive artistic rights on the use of the pigment to one man only, renowned sculptor Anish Kapoor, that the art world was justifiably upset.

In fact, one artist was so riled up about the monopolization of the material, that he sought out to create his version of the blackest black. The pigment known as Black 3.0 is the creation of British artist Stuart Semple. Retailing at only 28 dollars online, this pigment is the blackest and mattest acrylic paint on the planet, and it is available to everyone who can afford it… except Kapoor.

To add to the biting criticism of Kapoor, Semple also started selling the worlds Pinkest Pink as retaliation. An exlusive note under the product states that “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.”

From being the world’s most accessible colour to becoming the world’s most exclusive pigment, it’s safe to say that black remains one of the most influential yet controversial colours in the art world, leading to the creation of two new pigments (even if it was out of spite).