Interview with Laboratory
"Artists want to be creative without any restrictions and are becoming increasingly aware of their health and the environment. For these reasons, our vision is that people are less and less willing to work with harmful substances."
Why was Cobra developed? Were you trying to develop the ideal paint?
In the 1990s, the idea arose to develop an oil paint that could be diluted with water. The characteristic properties of oil paint had to be retained. The advantage is that you do not have to use solvents when painting and you can clean the brushes with soapy water. Better for your health and the environment.
How did the development of this new paint go?
It was a process of trial and error. The technology involved did not stand still and Royal Talens lab followed all of the developments closely. Over the years, improvements have been made time and time again, as a result of which the lab can now say with no small degree of pride that Cobra is indeed the ideal oil paint with all the positive properties. It is a high-quality oil paint made with the most modern raw materials and the highest-quality pigments. We continue to track the latest developments and the next advances in the Cobra range are already being planned!
How is it possible to mix this oil paint with water?
The main constituents of oil colours are pigment and drying oil. The oil in Cobra has been modified by means of an emulsifier, as a result of which the oil accepts both white spirit and water. It's a bit like mayonnaise, where the egg yolk enables oil and water to be mixed. The egg yolk is the emulsifier in mayonnaise. This was also the case with the traditional painting technique of (egg) tempera, so it is less strange than it might initially appear. And the advantage is that harmful solvents are no longer needed.
Is Cobra comparable with traditional oil paint?
Cobra has all the properties of traditional oil paint, in terms of its feel, viscosity, brush stroke, drying, colour retention and gloss. Just to be clear: there is no water in Cobra. The only difference is that with Cobra you can work with water and clean your materials with soap and water.
Why was the name Cobra chosen?
Cobra paint shares a lot of similarities with the CoBrA movement. This movement caused a revolution in the post-war art world. They painted with oil paint, but with a completely innovative approach: intuitive, colourful and without rules. Cobra oil paint is also bringing about a change in the art world; painting with oil paint but without solvents, so that oil paint can continue to be used at art academies, in classrooms and indoors. Through Cobra oil paint, we want to initiate a new movement in traditional painting while maintaining the same end result.
What is the Cobra lab's vision for the future?
The artist's landscape is changing. Artists want to be creative without any restrictions and are increasingly aware of their health and the environment. For these reasons, our vision is that people are less and less willing to work with harmful substances. If we constantly keep up with technical developments, we will always be one step ahead of the competition with Cobra. Cobra will eventually be the first oil paint that artists name, because it retains all the best properties of oil paint and the associated artistic appearance but is better for the health of artists and the environment. We can already see that happening in the figures.
We think that in 50 years time most oil paintings will be produced using Cobra!
It is the oil paint of the future.