Using his own blood, New York artist paints "Resurrection" exhibit

Thu Oct 4, 2012 6:43pm EDT
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By Andrea Burzynski

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Many artists claim to put their blood, sweat and tears into their work, but Vincent Castiglia means it: he paints with his own blood.

The New York painter has a new exhibit, "Resurrection," in Manhattan's Soho neighborhood that opened on Thursday and is due to run through October. It features a number of Castiglia's paintings from the last 10 years, all of which were created with Castiglia's blood.

Castiglia, 30, said in an interview this week that his first experiments with this medium were prompted by a "need to connect with my work on the most intimate level."

Human blood contains iron oxide, he explained, a pigment found in many traditional paints, and which occurs naturally in iron ore and common rust.

The public's reaction in the past has been overwhelmingly positive, he said, but he does not discount that some people could find his choice of medium creepy or gimmicky.

"My response would be to really take a look at the content of the work, which overshadows what it's made from, I think," he said. "In order for something to be a gimmick, it really would have to lack substance."

His process includes making a preliminary pen or graphite sketch and extracting just enough "paint" in the privacy of his studio. He then pulls out his brushes to paint surrealistic, red ochre-hued images typically featuring human bodies in some stage of decay paired with abstract backgrounds.

One of his larger, more detailed paintings can take more than three months to complete. His paintings range in price from $950 to $26,000. Rock and blues musician Gregg Allman, who recently acquired a 2006 painting by Castiglia called "Gravity."   Continued...