Some people think Vincent Castiglia's artwork is bloody wonderful, which is probably a good description since the pieces are made from the artist's own blood.
For the past 10 years, Castliglia has been painting dramatic and graphic works designed to get the heart pumping, and he's been using his own plasma as the paint.
"[Using blood] didn't happen by accident," Castliglia told The Huffington Post. "I went through some very painful circumstances."
Castiglia first started dabbing some of his blood onto pen and ink drawings, but he soon began making portraits entirely of his own blood.
"Some of my paintings are 7 feet tall," he said. "Those can take up to 30 vials of blood."
Castliglia only takes 15 small vials of blood from himself at a time. It's less than a donation to a blood bank, he noted.
"I used to be less conscious of how much blood I removed," he said. "At one point, my right lung collapsed, and I wonder if it's because I was removing too much blood."
Castiglia mixes the blood with water. It's similar to watercolor as a medium, he said, but some of the darker areas look like acrylic after they dry. The blood works can take several months to complete, and can cost as much as $26,000 each.
Castliglia admits his work is dark.
"I consider it depictions of human experiences that most people don't want to look at," he said.
Others look at his work as a gimmick, a characterization that Castliglia disputes.
"My response would be to really take a look at the content of the work, which overshadows what it’s made from, I think,” Castliglia told Oddity Central. “In order for something to be a gimmick, it really would have to lack substance.”
Vincent Castliglia is a New York artist who paints using his own blood as the medium.
Castliglia started by adding blood to his own pen-and-ink drawings, but soon jumped into using blood exclusively.
Each painting uses up to 30 small vials of blood and takes several months.
Castliglia keeps around 15 small vials of blood on hand at any given time. He collects it once a month with the help of a friend.
As mediums go, Castiglia says blood has properties similar to watercolor, but says it behaves more like acrylic in the darker, bloodier parts of his paintings.
Castliglia is a lot more careful about how much blood he draws from his body than he used to be. He said his lung collapsed and thinks it was because he removed too much blood from his body.
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In order to ensure he is healthy enough to give blood, Castiglia takes iron supplements and eats a lot of red meat.
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Castiglia said working with blood isn't just something he did for kicks. For him, the inspiration came during a very painful period of his life.
Castiglia has disputed accusations that his painting style is a gimmick.