I’m sitting here with Vincent Castiglia. He is world-renowned for paintings, which are done in his own blood and for his tattoo work which is absolutely outstanding. I’m lucky enough to have some of his work on my arm myself. Author & film director John Borowski is currently finishing a biopic “Bloodlines” about his life and art, and will be hitting shelves soon. You may have recently seen him in metal music headlines for having recently collaborated with Exodus/Slayer guitarist Gary Holt, on a signature guitar he painted in Gary’s own blood, which will also be reproduced in a limited edition and made available to purchase by ESP guitars. How are you Vincent?
VC: I’m doing great thank you, Jonathan.
JS: For who might be new to your body of work, could you give a little introduction? What is your work like?
VC: I was born in Brooklyn, New York I continue to live in New York. I’m a painter and tattoo artist and my paintings could be considered figurative surrealism. That would be probably the most concise way I could describe it, because they’re human figures that I’m painting and the content would, or could be considered surrealistic. I work exclusively in human blood.
JS: How did you first come to to use this this is a medium and what, logistically speaking, was it like to try and find a way to get such an unpredictable medium to a point where you can manipulate it?
VC: Took a decade. I started in small amounts of blood in the beginning. I was letting it into spoons and working quickly before it coagulated.
JS: That must have been a nightmare. To have to work so quickly under pressure.
VC: It was difficult it. It was difficult, it was messy, it was inefficient.
JS: Did it look a lot like a crime scene? (laughs)
VC: Yea, on some days it did! As the requirement for blood increased, because the size of the paintings increased, I needed to collect it intravenously. And that’s when that started. I collected into Vacutainer tubes and refrigerated them.
JS: So when you first started, how big were your pieces?
VC: My first pieces were relatively small. I mean the biggest ones were… 20 x 30. Which aren’t very small, but I was still just experimenting at that time and finding a groove.
JS: When you first started using blood as a medium, I understand you were still in college. F.I.T. right?
JS: Same school we both went to.
VC: Yes, that is true. And my professors mostly thought I was… ill.
VC: Yeah, mostly thought I was insane.