Painting with Life

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I admire works of art that raise questions and could be unorthodox. There is something about the shock value a piece can have when a person discovers how it was made & why it was made. Art that speaks beyond the physical is what I consider to be good art. This piece entitled “Gravity” by Vincent Castiglia, is one such example of unorthodoxy that appeals to me. This piece depicts this otherworldly scene of skull skewered by what seems to be branches, set to a view of the ocean with different patches of light and leaves decorating the border. I like the piece because of the haunting and chilling effect it has upon viewing. It makes you think what could have sparked this surge of imagination. “Gravity” recalls to mind the Surrealism movement. Surrealism had the aim to “resolve the previously contradictory conditions of dream and reality.” Castiglia, however, would call his style “figurative surrealism.”

The sole factor that sets Castiglia’s work from other artists is his medium. By looking at the piece, the viewer can decipher that it is done in a monochromatic of red. The viewer does not know that the color was achieved from the artist’s own life source: blood. I was immediately drawn into his works knowing this factor. Castiglia found his technique when sketching on paper and started using small amounts of blood, He said it felt like the first time he was able to communicate what he needed to address. The works of Castiglia focus on the existentialist themes of life, death, and the human condition. His practice of modern-day phlebotomy (blood-letting), which is the siphoning of life force which contains psychic energy, gives his works and himself outlet and form.

v What is your opinion on the practice of using blood as a medium?

v Do you know of any other pieces of unorthodox art?

v What is your interpretation of Castiglia’s works?

Works

Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

 Joshua Cimpean-Castaneda

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6 thoughts on “Painting with Life

  1. This is unbielvably cool. I would have never known that this was painted with the artists own body, literally. I’ve heard of other people using interesting methods to creating their art but never like this. I think it’s unique and special to use this ‘medium’ although im not sure if I could ever stomach the thought of harvesting my own blood for my art work. Im sure he’s been critsized but what great artist hasn’t? I feel like his work has a spiritual connection like you said, with one’s self and emotion. I think it’s beautiful how he has bright light and then such harsh subjects in the center of the piece. The idea of death (with the skull and bare tree) playing with the idea of life (with the sun and outside foliage) is interesting.

  2. I find the piece very interesting, there is a lot going on in the painting. I find death at the center with the skull and the bare tree, but what’s going on in the background, the composition is very surreal, I like that about the piece. I don’t know how to feel about the use of blood as a medium except that if you use to much you won’t be able to finish the workpiece. I am not familiar with unorthodox art and i think his art work pushes the grotesque and dark, as a whole I like his artwork is very interesting.

  3. When it comes to paintings, I have never heard of something this different; an artist using their own blood as a medium. I think it is a very interesting thing to do because it gives it a much more positive feeling for the artist. It also gives you an insight that art can be composed of many things. Vincent Castigila is clearly a great painter. The detail, color, and medium are all very cool. He was very precise and on-point when he painted it because even though there is a lot going on in the painting, you can still convey a message and not get too confused.

  4. This is a really cool painting and I admire that its more imaginary meaning that he was able to transfer an image in his mind on paper. Using blood is a brilliant idea because the red shading is beautiful and compliments the picture well. All of Castiglia’s works seem dark and mysterious and it makes me question if he gets inspiration from being a depressed, dark state of mind.

  5. This is definitely not your typical painting, kind of intriguing even. I think each artist must have their nitch and if using blood is where he gets his inspiration, I say go for it, different but it makes him unique. I don’t really know of any other artist like him. My interpretation is he is expressing some sort of pain. Cant wait to hear more about this painting/artist.

  6. Castiglia is obviously talented. I agree with Maria though that he is expressing some sort of pain. That maybe he is reflected his inside pain into his art literally by using his own blood. But it does seem that most art is a reflection of the artist’s pain or some feeling inside. But the use of blood seems extreme for your art. The thought of him using blood does make me a bit woozy. Through a friend, I know of an instructor at Columbia that creates art using various bodily fluids of his own, several of which you don’t even want me list. That feels too much like someone just trying to be controversial.

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