Perfect Name for a Statue


I heard of this piece back when I was in high school. I was very intrigued to see what it was because it was made of something different than other sculptures and statues. This piece is called “Self”. It was done by an artist named Marc Quinn, and he used his very own blood. He has said that it’s a frozen moment on life support. The work is carefully maintained in a refrigeration unit, reminding the viewer of the fragility of existence. He also makes a new version of Self every five years, each of which documents Quinn’s own physical transformation and deterioration over the years of his life. The only reason I heard about it in the first place is because the first one he made and sold, ended up melting because the freezer where it was kept was accidentally unplugged.

I decided to choose this piece because we have been talking about the materials that have been used throughout history. Just to get his medium ready, it would take months. Even with a five month waiting time to make it because it took that long to get enough blood from his body, a pint at a time, I think that the name is absolutely perfect. It’s a self-portrait statue. It’s his own face, and made from his own body. He literally puts himself into his artwork. It will be amazing to see all the heads lined up at one time to see the change over the years.

Because it must be kept frozen at all times in order to keep the piece in tact is one thing that is a little unique to this piece and is one reason I like it. The owner must have an appreciation of the artwork to want to keep it. The dark red of the head with the frosty outer coating gives it a snowy like glaze. What I don’t like about the piece is the seam where the mold was split, there is a big chunky line all the way around the head. It is necessary though, because without it, it would have the grotesque look about it.

Is it weird to use blood for art?

If “Self” were made with anything else, would the name still have the same meaning?

Do you think blood makes good artworks?

I have provided other images to show blood used in other ways, not by Marc Quinn, but by Dr. Rev Mayers to show what it looks like as a paint as well. It has a beautiful rusty brownish red color to it, and just like the egg tempura, has to be coated multiple times to make darker shades. -for more Marc Quinn artwork – other blood pieces

   pic3 pic2 pic1    

Kyle Trimble


13 thoughts on “Perfect Name for a Statue

  1. Cool! I would never even think to use blood for any of my art works that I have made. What a creative and unique idea. The sculpture looks amazing that he made and you wouldn’t even be able to guess that it was made out of blood. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I have never heard of using blood as a medium before – truly fascinating. It really gives the title “Self” an even deeper meaning. The seam in the sculpture is rather gross but the paintings are absolutely beautiful. I would have never guessed that any of them were made with blood. I donate blood on a regular basis and think that is probably a better use than making a sculpture, but it is very unique. Great Blog, thanks!

  3. I think my entire view on blood as a medium has been soiled by menstrual art, which to me seems to mostly be done for the sake of being controversial. At the least I’d consider it eccentric. Also, for me, no matter what the content of the piece, the blood will always be the main focus, and will always hold sort of a dark feeling with it. I know blood is life, but when seen outside of the body, I just can’t help but think of anything but death and injury. Maybe that says more about me than the art.

    That being said, “Self” definitely has a captivating quality to it, and I like Mayer’s work as well. It doesn’t draw your attention to the blood besides the color. It’s kind of creepy but cool that he’s left himself behind in his pieces, so to speak.

  4. I have heard of artists using their blood as a medium, but I never thought about a sculpture of himself made of blood. I just learned something new, this is very creative. A little weird, but creative piece of art. It reminds me of those ice sculptures only that its blood. Very cool tho, and thanks for putting this up, never knew about this artist and his creativity.

  5. Using blood for art is a little weird. I would have never thought that it was blood. In this piece I think the blood looks pretty cool. I think blood can make good artwork if you really know how you want to use it in your piece. Good blog, thanks. =)

  6. Hi Kyle,

    When I first saw this picture I was totally reminded of the Engineer’s head from the film Promethus. The way that it was enlarged and had that gray, deadish looking color looked so similiar. I wouldn’t be surprised if the film makers or creative team was inspired in any way of Marc’s “Self”. I have to say I wasn’t really surprised with the use of blood in paintings, but in the use of a sculpture I was! I have to say that seam of what looks like the blood raising from the top of his head does give it a gorish kind of look. I really enjoyed your Blog Kyle and I think im going to keep tabs on his further sculptures too. Talk about facial aging record keeping :)!

    • Here’s the link to the image of the Engineer’s head I was talking about. This is sort of a bad screen shot, but for those who have seen the movie you get a real good close up of the head and why it may have reminded me of Marc’s “Self”.

      • B,

        I did see the movie, and it was creepy, but I did enjoy watching it. You are right, this piece of artwork makes me think of this movie scene that you brought it up.

  7. Where there is a saying that goes..”If you’re really passionate about something you should put your blood, sweat, and tears into it!” Marc Quinn and Dr. Rev Mayers are the epitome of this saying. They actually use their own blood to create art which is a genius idea in my opinion. I really don’t find it weird that they use this method to make art. I know that in the past it was not uncommon in some tribes to carve tattoos onto their bare skin, which in a way is very similar to this style of art. I believe they have found this same type of artistry on ancient mummies as well. My question now is what method they used for drawing blood from themselves? How often did they draw blood? Does blood have more longevity than ink, oil paint, graphite, etc.? Where did they get their inspiration from?

  8. This piece is definatly unique and different. It is obvious Marc Quinn is passionate about his art work. The art has an awe factor to it, at least for me. Knowing that Marc uses his own blood for his work sets a dramatic realistic feel and takes it to a higher level. Very deep and powerful. I have enjoyed learnig the datails of Marc Qinns art! How often will Marc get blood drwan for his art?

  9. Hello Kyle,

    I wanted to start by saying that you picked a very good piece of art and that I really enjoyed reading your blog. In my personal opinion, if I would of see this artwork without knowing the material used to make it, I wouldn’t think it was made out of blood. It is very impressive and very unique way to make a piece of art with blood, but honestly, I don’t think it should be used for any artwork. Yes, it looks very nice and the beautiful rusty brownish red color looks very good as well, but that still doesn’t convince that blood should be use as a material to paint. I think that there are a lot of questions regarding this type of material that is being used, for personal and health reasons. To answer your questions, I do think and believe that it is weird to use blood to paint or to create a piece of arts. I also think that the artist could use different material to express the same meaning on his art, maybe like clay, play-dough, wax or something else. Finally, even though it could be worst, blood makes good artwork, specially on paintings. After all, it was very nice that you have chosen this type of art since we are discussing the different types of material. Very nice job and keep up the good work.

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