UPDATED - Black 2.0 and how it compares to some other readily available black paints

Update June8th 2018 - Singularity Black

Since writing the original posting on these paints I purchased and played with some of the singlarity black.  It is impressive dark and really shines as a black paint in indirect sunlight.  However it does not give that mythical disappearance in and Vanta black claims.  The finish is truly matte and that is part of what makes the paint worthwhile for some applications. This is overshadowed by just how stupidly fragile the paint is and how terrible it is work with.

Also included in this is some homebrew paint.  The pigment compares quite well with the other paints but the finish is terrible.  I'll have to mess with some more but it is promising.

I started off drawing and painting way back in high school before shifting to photography.  I was obsessed with the negative space that could be created by deep rich blacks.  When Vanta Black was announced I was pretty stoked until I saw the price tag and that Anish Kapoor (take a look at his website, it's hilariously bad) decided to dick the art world and call dibs.  Since then an American version of the paint called Singularity Black was released that is more robust but slightly less black.  Still expensive though but not enough so as to be prohibitive.  Then there's the alternative that google will give you: Black 2.0 by Stuart Semple.  It has a lot going for it; it's cheap, smells nice, and was made as a much needed fuck you to Anish Kapoor.  However as an alternative to Singularity or Vanta it utterly fails.  So let's compare it to other black paints.  For this test I applied them to a sheet of acrylic to compare the darkness of their finish and the darkness of their actual pigment.  There are clear winners.

In the order of appearance - Black 2.0, Liquitex Acrylic Basic Black, Liquitex Acrylic Mars Black Heavy Body, Blck Oil Ivory Black, ComART spray brush 1001 Opaque Black, and Wicked Colors spray brush 0031 Wicked Jet Black.  The top set is the view through the acrylic and has been flipped in photoshop to keep everything legible (at least as much as my handwriting allows).


In the top row we can see the quality of the pigment in the material.  The oil paint, one of the spray brush paints, and the higher grade acrylic have a clearly darker pigment.  However from the front the playing field evens out some.  The spray brush paint still holds an impressively dark overall appearance and the oil paint if applied carefully would do quite well.  Where the black 2.0 has dominance  is that the extremely matte finish allows for a lazy application and much less care given when being lit.  It might be useful to explore different matte finishes to see if the oil and jet black can dominate the black 2.0 in that regard as well.

While it's a good giggle Black 2.0 just isn't what you want it to be.  None of the paints, including Black 2.0 give the loss of definition that Vanta Black and Singularity black are said to provide.