Artist Creates 'Brightest White Paint'


In developing the most pigmented versions of colors for paint, self-proclaimed art nerd and color wizard Stuart Semple has recently announced his creation of the “whitest white paint.”

Dubbed “White 2.0,” the coating was developed using a specialty acrylic base, high-quality pigments, resins, optical brighteners and mattifiers. The new white paint is reported to reflect 99.98% of light and is 50% brighter than current bestselling white paints on the market.

“It really is the brightest white paint I've ever seen, and I couldn’t believe it when the lab results came back to say it was 50% brighter than any other,” Semple told reporters.

Developing White 2.0

During the early months of the COVID-19 lockdown last year, Semple, alongside some members of his team, took to the lab with the goal of creating the whitest white paint. For their research, the crew looked at the structure of Cyphochilus beetle wings—also known as the “ghost beetle”—which are known to be the whitest natural material on the planet.

Semple reports that the team also looked at luminescence in plants and natural whites that reflect light across the whole visible spectrum. “We looked at surfaces that diffused light, not just from nature but human-made materials like the barium paints that were used as early as the 15th century by the likes of artists like Caravaggio,” he continued.

In April, Semple and his team announced three Beta versions of the coating and invited 2,000 artists to trial the materials and fill out a questionnaire. In the fight against what Semple calls “color criminals,” the artist had already legally banned T-Mobile, Dupont, Anish Kapoor and others from using the coating while he sought out what paint users were looking for.

After a trial-and-error period, a final version of the paint was created using instant recoat technology, meaning that the paint wouldn’t need multiple layers to achieve the desired opaque effect. The coating can be applied by brush or spray applications to a variety of surfaces, such as paper, wood, metal and glass.

“One of the most powerful qualities of White 2.0 is its incredible opacity, removing the need for layers and layers of paint upon darker surfaces,” said Semple.

White 2.0 is now commercially available to anyone (besides those banned) regardless of their artistic capabilities.

Whitest White, Artist Rivalry

Earlier this year, engineers at Purdue University created what they called “the whitest paint yet”—a cool coating that aims to reduce buildings’ needs for air conditioning. The team initially created an ultra-white paint last October and have been pushing to reformulate it for even “cooler” properties. The team published a paper about its findings in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

The researchers have gone so far as to say that this white is closest thing available to an equivalent of “Vantablack,” which absorbs up to 99.9% of visible light. On the flip side, the new whitest paint reflects up to 98.1% of sunlight, compared to 95.5% in the researchers previously developed ultra-white paint. Typically, white coatings expect to reflect 80-90% of sunlight.

The coating has since been made available for industrial purposes.

Back in 2017, Semple created his answer to artistic competitor Anish Kapoor’s Vantablack, the Black V1.0 Beta.

The year prior, Kapoor secured the exclusive artistic rights to Vantablack, which was originally created by Surrey Nanosystems for use on military and astronomy equipment. This ignited the artist world and a color war ensued with Semple, who has since released “The World's Pinkest Pink,” “Yellowest Yellow,” “Greenest Green” and “Most Glittery Glitter,” all with the caveat that whoever purchases the products are not in any way, shape or form connected with Kapoor.

Not only was the Black V1.0 Beta reported to be the world’s mattest, flattest, blackest art material, it was also designed to be cherry-scented.

That same year, Semple banned Kapoor from using his own color-changing paints, Phaze and Shift, after previously being banned from several of Semple's product lines. Both artist and company did not foresee the ensuing backlash. In response to Kapoor gaining exclusive rights to using Vantablack, Semple also banned the artist from using his World’s Pinkest Pink, which was part of his line that includes the World’s Greenest Green, the World’s Most Glittery Glitter and a cherry-scented version of Vantablack.

Two years later, in 2019, Semple announced that he and his team had actually created an even blacker black and was calling it “black hole in a bottle”—a black matte paint that absorbs 98-99% of visible light.

Dubbed “Black 3.0,” the coating was formulated as an acrylic polymer as to better hold the pigment.


Tagged categories: Artists; Asia Pacific; Coating Materials; Coating Materials - Commercial; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Color; Color + Design; Color + Design; Colorants; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Paint; Reflective coatings; Z-Continents

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