How Artists Do Black Friday

It’s Black Friday, the time of year for a frenzy of offers designed to tip consumers into purchasing.

Today we’re going to look at something that you might just want to buy this Black Friday (and no, we’re not selling it).

In this article we have a chat with Perthshire artist Barry Allan Scott.

Barry tells us about Black 3.0, artist Stuart Temple‘s paint colour (and ongoing conceptual artwork).

Read this blog for an alternative way to think about Black Friday, for information on contemporary art – and for a taste of a Blue Noun artist studio visit like you can enjoy with our culture-led English immersion holidays.

A Bit of Artists’ Background

Blue Noun popped into Barry’s studio this weekend. In terms of location, it is an absolute pleasure, being his studio is located in a holiday chalet in the spectacular Bridge of Earn, Perthshire.

I first met Barry when I was curating an exhibition he was part of at the Changingroom Gallery, Stirling.

Our paths kept crossing (including in the USA) and now Barry is a guest artist on Blue Noun courses, including Sketchbook English. 

Barry is a fountain of knowledge on the traditional craft of painting, including skills and styles.

He paints a broad range of subjects including animals, portraits and landscapes, often to commission.

Barry’s studio is a busy space with lots to see, and long ‘arty’ conversations always begin with whatever I first remark on (and take in everything in between).

I picked up on tube of paint to admire the packaging.

It was Stuart Semple’s Black 3.0.

screenshot about Stuart Semple's Black 3.0 for sale

“Liberating Colour Since 2016”


To best understand the conversation that follows, you first need to know that in 2016, the sculptor and installation artist Anish Kapoor bought exclusive artistic rights to the world’s blackest black: Vantablack

Vantablack was a new technology, famously promoted as the world’s blackest black, absorbing 99.965% of visible light. It was developed for military use and released in 2014.

The original Vantablack is a tiny forest of carbon nanotubes grown on a substrate, but there is a (slightly less black) spray paint version, Vantablack S-VIS, to which Anish Kapoor has exclusive usage.

Kapoor’s exclusive rights make it illegal for anyone else to use. 

    ‘Crazy Pink’

    Described by the Guardian Newspaper as the ‘art world’s pettiest, funniest dispute’, to Stuart Semple, it’s no laughing matter.

    He was incensed when Kapoor bought the exclusive rights to the world’s blackest paint – so he made what he says is a blacker one and banned him from using it‘.

    Semple began by making the Pinkest Pink Ever, ‘Crazy Pink’. ‘So pink that the camera can’t even pick it up’ – licensing it to the whole, entire world – except the artist Anish Kapoor.

    If you buy the paint online, you are required to make a legal declaration that you are not Anish Kapoor. 

      “*Note: 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 material will not make it’s way into the hands of Anish Kapoor.”

      Culture Hustle Website, 2021

      The Most Enduring Internet Performances of All Time?

      Launching a culture war with one of Britain’s best-known contemporary artists has brought Semple a lot of publicity.

      He uses his visibility to promote his products and his website, which he views as artworks in their own right (or perhaps as different elements within one great artwork happening).

      “ is an ongoing project to liberate art materials and arguably one of the most enduring internet performances of all time.”

      Culture Hustle website 

        Is This a Useful Battle?


        A section of the art world was offended by the actions of Anish Kapoor, and the British mainstream press rarely misses an opportunity to mock contemporary art.

        Semple went viral with a mission that most people (there’s certainly one exception) could stand behind.

        Personally, I love that if you Google Search Anish Kapoor Black, it brings up Culture Hustle as its top result.

        Contemporary conceptual artists have to be so media savvy!

          screenshot about Stuart Semple's Black 3.0 on Google


          “[Our mission is] sharing art materials with artist all over the world so that they can make art, for 100% of the money spent on our materials has gone into developing new things and supporting a community of artists around the globe”.


          Stuart Semple, YouTube Video, 2020

          Paint Ranges

          Culture Hustle now sells a variety of paints, including updated versions of its original black and pink, enabled by its investment in R&D.

            So What’s the Black 3.0 Paint Like to Use?

            I asked Barry.

            “It’s a very matt black paint. So it reflects barely any light at all. It needs a few coats to work well. But it’s good stuff. The effect can be messed up by applying a varnish or something like that… anything that would disrupt the way the paint absorbs light. “

              How Did You First Discover It?

              “I was just looking online for a few unusual paints to customize picture frames with. But he has other pigments too that change colour or glow in the dark.”

              (Demonstrates the colour change paint by holding the tub on the radiator)

              “It adds interest for the kids as well for the class… we’ve just started playing with the colours. But they are fun”.

              Tip | Life After Art School | Flip Artist Opportunities to Suit Your Needs

              One option is to read this Call for Artists and think you would never have enough finished work to collate into a book.

              But another option is to think, what can I quickly produce to seize this opportunity?

              Even if you are not one of the 6 artists selected, the process of pushing yourself to produce for the brief is a catalyst.

              There are always more Calls for Artists.

              Life after graduating from Art College can be hard, with one difficulty keeping making artwork without the challenges set by an intense creative environment.

              Calls for Artists can be sources of inspiration if you get stuck. Use them as mini challenges to create!

              Helping early career creatives keep making art & keep talking (English).

                So this black Friday we’re not going to do what everyone else is doing and sell you stuff. We’re going to flip it. Instead, this Black Friday we’re going to buy your work.


                Stuart Semple, Culture Hustle Website 2021

                International Artist Opportunity

                So what is the creator of (arguably) the blackest black doing for Black Friday?

                Artists, check out the BuyBlackFriday part of Culture Hustle’s website and corresponding hashtags on Instagram.

                “Most artists I know have had a really rough year. This really got to us, we had a good think about the best way we can support you. So this black Friday we’re not going to do what everyone else is doing and sell you stuff. We’re going to flip it. Instead, this Black Friday we’re going to buy your work in our own version which we’re calling Buy Back Friday. We don’t have the means to buy everything, (as much as we’d love to), but we can champion it and share it on our social. So please post a piece of work and the price. Use hashtag #buybackfriday and @buybackfriday we will buy our favourite pieces and we’ll make sure we regram everything!

                LOVE, Stuart Semple x”

                Culture Hustle Website, 2021

                  Further Discussion

                  Stuart Temple uses his platform and visibility to support other artists and counteract the commercialism of Black Friday.

                  Does this artwork remind you of another artist disrupting a space? Who and what are the similarities and differences?

                  Further Information