Race is on to beat art forgery with DNA technology

A British company is the latest to launch a labelling system that uses synthetic DNA to help protect works by living artists. Mark Darbyshire, the London framer, and Steve Cooke, the software developer, have created Tagsmart Certify to help combat forgeries. While issues of authenticity dog the market for older works, Cooke says the dynamics of today’s broader landscape—including online channels and emerging markets—heighten the need for immediate authenticity in contemporary art.

“Some artists don’t want to get technical, but they may now just have to be,” he says. Artists who have already endorsed the product—which has 12 security features, including its DNA label—include Mat Collishaw, Idris Khan and Gary Hume, who are among Tagsmart’s founding supporters.

A brush with the law: forger turns fine artist

He spent time in prison for forgery, but now David Henty has found a better use for his artistic skills. He’s discovered a talent for copying the works of geniuses like Van Gogh and Picasso. David, from Saltdean in Sussex, denies his paintings are fakes, but not everyone agrees. Ebay, for example, has banned him, as Malcolm Shaw reports.

Tagsmart Certify on BBC London


“One of the security ingredients [of the Tagsmart Certify smart labels] is a DNA compound and that’s the same biological compound that doctors and police use to identify individuals.” 

– Steve Cooke, CPO & Co-Founder of Tagsmart

This morning, Tagsmart co-founders Steve Cooke and Mark Darbyshire were interviewed by Jim from BBC London. Their conversation about fakes and forgeries in art and our smart solution to artwork security is due to air this Saturday, March 19th, around 5:30 pm. Make sure you don’t miss it!

OH LOOK.... Tagsmart Certify in the news!

Next week our platform will be live for artists, galleries, dealers and auction houses to guarantee the authenticity of their art through our revolutionary artwork Labels and Smart Certificates of Authenticity.

Making headlines in the media, Tagsmart Certify was extensively featured by The Sunday Times as a possible end for fake art. They reported that Tagsmart Certify “is a DNA-like technology for works of art to make passing off forgeries much harder.”

Tagsmart Certify comes from the art world and is for the art world. Our Founding Partners, including Marc Quinn, Gary Hume, Mat Collishaw, Idris Khan and Mat Chivers have been instrumental in the design of this platform.  


Smart Labels
• A micro-thin Smart Label designed for paper, 3 cms in diameter with DNA security that can be applied to your print or painting in seconds.
• All Smart Labels are supplied with simple applicators and your own personal stamp, which means each label is unique to you and your artwork including each individual print.

Smart Certificates
• A fully managed system to generate completely secure Certificates in paper and digital form that can be personalised.
• Each certificate is printed on 270gsm paper and embossed with a uniquely generated signature of the artist.

Tagsmart Certify offers a straightforward means of protecting my intellectual property; with the swift application of a label I can digitally certify my works and quickly disown forgeries whenever and moreover, wherever they appear. It will allow me to build stronger relationships with collectors, who now know that they can purchase my works with the absolute certainty that it has come directly from my studio.”

– Mat Collishaw

Guarantee the authenticity of your art now!
Visit and register your interest!