Soon to slide into crayon boxes everywhere: a newcomer that will make widely accessible the first blue pigment created in over 200 years. Known as “YInMn blue,” the pigment was the surprise result of a 2009 chemistry lab experiment at Oregon State University (OSU), and it’s now set to be put into real-world use, thanks to Crayola.
Graduate student Andrew Smith made the discovery while working with professor Mas Subramanian to test new materials for potential use in electronics. A mix of manganese oxide, yttrium, and indium, heated to nearly 2,000˚ F, produced the vivid, non-toxic blue sample. In 2015, OSU reached an exclusive licensing agreement for the pigment with the Shepherd Color Company, which then partnered with Crayola to launch the first commercial YInMn blue product. Crayola announced the production of the crayon last month at “The Colorful World of Pigments,” a panel on the new blue and color theory.
“Most pigments are discovered by chance,” Subramanian said in a statement. “The reason is because the origin of the color of a material depends not only on the chemical composition, but also on the intricate arrangement of atoms in the crystal structure. So someone has to make the material first, then study its crystal structure thoroughly to explain the color.”
Blue was actually the first man-made pigment, as Hyperallergic’s Allison Meier has explained: Egyptian blue, which ancient hands created by mixing and heating quartz sand, copper, an alkali, and lime. Since then, scientists over the years have discovered Cerulean blue, Prussian blue, and Cobalt blue, which, according to NPR, was the last synthesized blue to be commercialized. YInMn is especially marketable because its compounds are highly stable, resistant to oil and water, which makes it versatile for many products, from crayons to paint.
“What is amazing is that through much of human history, civilizations around the world have sought inorganic compounds that could be used to paint things blue but often had limited success,” Subramanian said. “Most had environmental and/or durability issues. The YInMn blue pigment is very stable/durable. There is no change in the color when exposed to high temperatures, water, and mildly acidic and alkali conditions.”
When it lands later this year, the YInMn blue crayon will take the place of Crayola’s Dandelion, a yellow crayon that the company is retiring after 27 years — and that, I kid you not, just finished a retirement tour. Since YInMn blue’s name, as it stands, would look a little odd on a crayon, Crayola is inviting the public to help rebrand it through a contest that ends on June 2. But letting people come up with names is not always the best idea (hello Boaty McBoatface) — so if that plan doesn’t work out, perhaps the company could consider using neural networks to generate some truly unique options.
In the meantime, we’re keeping our fingers crossed that Vantablack, too, will enter the crayon market one day.
Three Looted Antiquities at the Met Repatriated to Turkey
Nine other repatriated works were seized from Met Trustee Shelby White, whose collection was subject to a criminal investigation.
This week, the world’s lightest paint, Pakistan’s feminist movement, World Puppy Day, and were some of Vermeer’s paintings created by his daughter?
The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation Presents The Feminine in Abstract Painting
Curated by Jennifer Samet and Andrea Belag, this group exhibition in NYC explores the feminine through aesthetics, as opposed to identity or gender.
NYU Steinhardt Opens 2023 MFA Thesis Exhibitions
Taking place at 80WSE Gallery in New York’s Greenwich Village, Part I is on view from late March through April while Part II opens in May.
Miniature Worlds: Joseph Cornell, Ray Johnson, Yayoi Kusama
Through small-scale works, this exhibition at the Katonah Museum of Art in New York examines Cornell’s prominent role in the lives and careers of Johnson and Kusama.
The Wider World and Scrimshaw
On March 28, join the New Bedford Whaling Museum online and in-person for a symposium on global carving traditions from across the Pacific Rim.
Who Will Decide on the Future of a Miami Native Burial Ground?
Native activists say sacred remains and objects dug up from a Brickell construction site should remain there, but mega-developer Jorge Pérez is pushing back.
How Can a Curator Approach South Asian Futurisms?
How do I acknowledge my shortcomings while reckoning with obscured histories and the exclusion of subaltern narratives in the fine art landscape? A working checklist for curators.
MCA Chicago Presents On Stage: Frictions
Will Rawls, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE, and Barak adé Soleil explore Blackness, queerness, movement, and dance in performances at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
The Complicated Legacy of Camilo Egas
The Ecuadorian painter, a leading figure of Latin America’s Indigenismo art movement, has been both praised and scorned for his representation of Indigenous peoples.
Tom Jones Zeroes in on Ho-Chunk Visibility
“I think about the young kids, the teenagers, and I think being able to see yourself represented in art is so powerful,” says the artist.
Haggerty Museum of Art Presents Tomás Saraceno in Dialogue With Dr. Somesh Roy
The artist and researcher will explore soot’s effects on climate change and public health in this online conversation.
Hundreds of Artworks by NYC Teenagers Go on View at the Met
The talented seventh through twelfth-grade students are recipients of the 2023 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
NYC’s Flatiron Building Sells for a Whopping $190M
The sale to outsider bidder Jacob Garlick puts an end to the protracted legal battle between the iconic skyscraper’s five former owners.
NPR: “The last new complex inorganic blue pigment to be commercially manufactured was cobalt blue.”
That means something very different from what you guys are suggesting in your headline.
Comments are closed.