What’s Blacker than black?

It’s no secret that we New Yorkers love black. Look around any subway car mid-winter and all you’ll see is a sea of grumpy black-clad commuters. So when I recently heard about a new type of black- I was fascinated. It’s called Vantablack, and it’s said to be the blackest substance ever made. My mind raced. If there was a possibility I could be buying boots and coats in a color blacker than black, I wanted to be first in line. But I did some digging and that’s apparently not how it works. 

  • Technically it’s not a new color, but a material developed by a British company NanoSystems. It was developed to help eliminate stray light in satellites and telescopes, and render objects ‘invisible.’ It’s not a paint, but a substance made of a dense series of little tubes that absorb light, and it’s actually ‘grown’, like crystals, on the intended surface, rather than painted on or applied.
  • Nope, you can’t buy it. It’s still in the development phase. But obviously artists, designers and creatives are clamoring for the stuff. Even if you could get your hands on it, you’d probably spend your pennies elsewhere- ounce for ounce, it is much more costly than diamonds or gold.
  • It looks pet-able, soft and velvety, but touching it would actually ruin it- squishing all those light absorbing tubes.
  • Right now only one artist in the world has the rights to use it exclusively, British artist Anish Kapoor, whose work with pigment and color is world renowned. His purchase of the rights has generated some controversy, as some artists consider it a “seizure” of a material that could benefit the art community at large. Controversy aside, I’m a fan of Kapoor’s work and am interested to see how he continues to use it. Below, is his first work using the substance.



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