LOVETONE — Can you really own a color?

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Blog5: Production: Archaeology of an NFT

LOVETONE — The World’s Most Colorful Color

Alisa Jia

Color Monopoly

Tiffany Blue & Kapoor’s Vantablack

In 1998, Tiffany & Co. trademarked its color and packaging. It is produced as a private custom color by Pantone, with PMS number 1837, the number deriving from the year of Tiffany’s foundation. Tiffany never sells the boxes alone, enhancing their value as a symbol—you couldn’t receive one of the most significant symbols of love and commitment without the Tiffany’s box.

“Tiffany has turned distinctive shade into an international icon of elegance and sophistication. From the moment you set your eyes upon Tiffany’s cool and fresh aquatic blue shade, a color that speaks to vibrancy and escape, you are immediately transported into a world filled with luxury and delight.”

Laurie Pressman, vice president of Pantone Color Institute.

Which also means, that no one can use this color without Tiffany’s permission.

Another color monopoly story is about Anish Kapoor and Vantablack:
Vantablack‘s fascinating effect,

Color Liberation

Among all the artists who are pissed off at Anish Kapoor, a British visual artist, Stuart Semple took his action. As a response, he first created the world’s Pinkest Pink and made it available to all artists who can confirm they are not Anish Kapoor.
that’s how Kapoor responded

Later, Stuart made his own “blackest black”, which can absorb to 99% of visible light — can’t match the 99.96% of Vantablack, but it’s much cheaper, and easily accessible to everyone — except Anish Kapoor.

Vantablack v.s. Stuart’s Blackest Black 3.0

This year, Stuart Semple and his team created “Tiff Blue” and “Easy Klein”, and sell them at very cheap prices, “paying tribute” to Tiffany Blue and Klein Blue.

Art lovers call Stuart Semple “Color Liberator”. Tiff Blue, Blink, Easy Klein… He freed the colors in captivity.

Yves Klein with his signature International Klein Blue. Photograph: Charles Wilp/BPK Berlin
Stuart Semple with his Easy Klein. on, his online pigment shop.


However, this April, a lot of his fans felt disappointed and betrayed, for he created a piece of work called LOVETONE and minted it into a NFT for sell.

So, what exactly is this LOVETONE and what’s wrong with NFT?

The World’s most colorful color, LOVETONE® by Stuart Semple represents the full capacity of the entire color spectrum — it’s composed of 16 million + pixels representing all existing colors (no two pixels are alike). The result is a wholly unique new color: LOVETONE®.

Description on its Opensea page

People shouted under his tweets:

“Noooo not the NFTs”

“What happened to Share The Colors???? :< ”

“well, that’s deeply disappointing.”

“It seems like he’s decided to take people expressing shock at the hypocrisy as personal attacks so clarifying: I don’t hate Stuart, I just mistook him for someone who had a particular code of ethics to not make things in the art world worse.”

Let’s see what Stuart said:

“I love the fact that it’s ended up being a color that you can’t see and, as an NFT, just one person will own it, yet in keeping with my work, everyone in the world will be able to see it for free and share it online. It’s kind of like democratizing all the colors in one hit.”

Now, someone called AI-222 have bought this NFT by 3.5 ETH, and technically speaking, by owning LOVETONE this guy owns every single color that exists in this world. Yet artists, or all of us, are still enjoying and appreciating them. We use colors to create our own arts. We build all kinds of emotional attachment to them in everyday life.

Now ask yourself, what exactly is Stuart trying to say through LOVETONE? Can you really own colors? 

Or, the question can also be, can you really own a digital art?

When you try to think about all these things, you may have touched the essence of NFTs, digital arts on the Blockchain, and the positive side of revolutionary meaning and possibilities that Blockchain may open up for the whole art industry. What Stuart shows us by NFT LOVETONE is that maybe ownership doesn’t always mean monopoly. Transparent, traceable and decentralized digital ownership might mean real liberation for arts. Because art is not an object, whose value diminishes as more people use it. Instead, a piece of art gets reborn every time someone sees it. The more people love it, appreciate it, resonate with it, the more precious it will become. That’s the charm of art.


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