The latest sensation to hit the art world doesn’t involve an ascot wearing performance artist or a new kind of painting movement. It’s smog. As in air pollution.
That’s because a company has perfected a way to capture air pollution and turn it into consumer-safe paints, inks, pens and dyes, all ready to hit the canvas, paper or wall.
Graviky Labs, a research company based in India, has developed a device called the Kaalink that attaches to car exhaust pipes, collecting pollutants. These pollutants then go through a process that removes toxicity and carcinogens, resulting in a soot-based pigment that is the basis for oil-based paint and inks called Air Ink.
So far, the lab has also created spray paint, taking the pigment and putting it into compressed air canisters. So, graffiti artists can do a better job of covering buildings than plain old soot could, developing wall art instead of grimy streaks.
Graviky Labs says that 45 minutes’ worth of car emission in one automobile produces enough ink to fill one pen; there are plans to develop larger scale versions of the Kaalink to cover boat exhausts, cranes and building chimneys. Given that India has one of the highest concentrations of air pollution, the collected byproduct for the inks could become a boon—for the world, as well as the international art community.