The use of diamond dust in art has a wide range of symbolism and presents a wonderful outlet for creativity. A glittering material that can be applied to paper and ink in the silkscreen printing process to create a textured and luminous finish, artists such as Andy Warhol and Russell Young use the famed diamond dust cover in their works to give them an added sense of significance and depth respectively. Anyone who has seen a diamond dusted work in person can attest; they capture the light in a way that beautifully plays to the colors on the work while bringing about a shinning aurora. An artwork can be greatly enhanced by such an addition in value and beauty, so what exactly is Diamond Dust?
The low-grade diamonds that are often ground into dust and used as abrasive powder. The powder is utilized for grinding wheels or polishing paste to polish high-grade gems and for technology industries as a coating for integrated circuits. With all of its utilitarian uses, true diamond dust is difficult to acquire for artist;, which is why it is a mixture of glass, diamonds, and other clear materials.
Most artists commonly use the clear diamond dust as it gives off the best kaleidoscopic sparkle. The dust is then applied during the printing process instead of an ink layer. A hard material once glued, diamond dust is surprisingly durable and has been as enduring artistic material for several decades.
Andy Warhol was one of the first artists to incorporate the diamond dust material into his silkscreens with his first use being the 1980 series ‘Diamond Dust Shoes’. His 1982 series ‘Myths’ and the 1985 Royal edition of his famous ‘Reigning Queens’ series followed this. The use of diamond dust heightens the sense of glamor and myth, suggesting luxury and expense; all things Warhol famously appreciated and displayed with pride.
Inspiring future generations, Warhol was the muse behind Sir Peter Blake’s first use of diamond dust in 2009 in his Warhol tribute piece. Diamond Dust has now become a part of Sir Peter Blake’s Pop Art aesthetic; making for captivating works that present the subject in an almost virtuous tribute like form.
Warhol’s portraits have inspired contemporary artist Russell Young, internationally recognized for his larger-than-life silkscreen prints that feature diamond dust. Young has stated, “I am fascinated by the way light bounce off the three-dimensional surface of my Diamond Dust paintings. In this series, light and the way it is reflected are as important as the subject matter.”
A shimmering and elegant material, Diamond Dust adds unexpected texture, depth and intensity to any work. By drawing attention to the surface of a print eye-catching, diamond dust not only adds texture and twinkle but perfectly complements subjects with glittering surfaces and hidden depths, such as Marilyn Monroe, advertising, consumerism, and Pop Art itself.