Stuart Semple’s Artistic License Means Everyone Can Be a Creative

artistic license stuart semple sixtysix magazine

Stuart Semple's Artistic License is the first official creative license of its kind.


August 5, 2020

When Stuart Semple created his blackest black paint—and then the pinkest pink—he set off not only to develop rich pigmentation but also to make art materials more accessible.

Prior to what Stuart calls Black 3.0, artist Anish Kapoor owned the exclusive rights to the then-blackest black paint in the world, Vantablack, which has since spurred a somewhat comedic rivalry between the two.

“By backing this project you confirm that you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not backing this on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor,” read the fine print on the project’s Kickstarter.

Now, in another stab to make the art world more approachable, Stuart has created an official Artistic License, a physical tool that ensures that anyone and everyone who wants to be creative can.



Like a driver’s license, the Artistic License acknowledges a person’s creative talent—except in Stuart’s version, there are no pre-qualifications.

“I’m dedicating this to every kid who was ever told they couldn’t. It’s time to take the power back,” he says in the announcement video.


Related | The Blackest Black Paint is Now Available to Buy—Unless You’re Anish Kapoor


The license is meant to inspire holders to trust their gut, stick it to the man, and be weird—essentially giving permission to embark on any creative venture they can dream up.

Stuart isn’t the first to conceptualize this concept—take technology artist and musician TradeMark Gunderson and illustrator Hallie Bateman, for example. Illustrator Elisa Wikey’s artistic license pin, too, allows creatives to quite literally wear their artistic identity on their sleeves while also showing support for artists getting paid.

That said, buying one of Stuart’s Artistic Licenses also gets you a $25 gift card toward art supplies such as the aforementioned blackest black paint—that is, of course, unless you’re Anish Kapoor.

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