“I’m literally letting out myself onto the surfaces”, says Vincent Castiglia, a 35-year-old American artist who is prolific for painting with his own blood. As deep and dark as it sounds, Castiglia explains why blood as a medium of art is important.
Firstly, because the very first colors used by man were red, iron oxide (hematite, a form of red ochre) and black. The word hematite, the source of many iron oxide pigments, is derived from the Greek word, “haima”, meaning blood, and because of its symbolic and spiritual significance, the early man coveted this color.
Secondly, “Who and what we are essentially and constitutionally is contained in blood. DNA, information for reproducing and replicating life is infused in the medium. Some schools of thought go far to the concept that what we are spiritually is also contained in blood.”
How It All Started?
Vincent Castiglia, a man of pure passion took to art with the need to disconnect from a rough childhood and go into the depths of fantasy and imagination. By the year 2000, the same time when he worked as a tattoo artist, he experimented with certain bodily fluids and finally found out that he connected with blood the most. The birth of a new work, for Vincent, is almost like indulging in a ritual.
How it works?
Vincent’s blood is collected into tubes, mostly 15 at one go. The blood is then mixed with various ingredients that make it convenient to be applied to the canvas and stored. He uses five different constituencies mainly from straight opaque blood to blood with water.
“I’d feel as if I were lying if I had worked with another medium.”
Art That Attains Immortality
He regards blood as the purest medium to portray art because the piece of work can never be reproduced and attains immortality. Viewers travel directly into the artist’s psyche, the origin of the work and at the same time, the gap between the artist and his work is almost negligible.
Decay and death are the most recurring themes one can find when scrolling through his artworks. The inevitability of death which is most neglected by mortals, embodies Vincent’s ideas uncorked into blood paintings.
Castiglia Compared To Michelangelo
Contemporary art critics have compared Castiglia’s work to old masters such as Michelangelo, the contemporary mythology, and folk painter Elito Circa, as well as conceptual artist Damien Hirst whose explicit portrayals of death, are in similar form. Gary Holt commissioned Castiglia to paint a guitar using vials of his blood—a first for both the music and art world—and worked for comedian Margaret Cho and the metal band Triptykon.
He is the most honored American artist to have been invited by Oscar Award-winning artist, H.R. Giger, to exhibit his works at the H.R. Giger Museum under the title Remedy for the Living.