No blood, no glory: Vincent Castiglia and Margaret Cho

Interview and Photographs by Marsin Mogielski   

     In the photos you see Vincent Castiglia the artist, and his friend Rich Dillon taking blood from Margaret Cho for the next art piece. As well as Vincent taking photos of Margaret Cho that he will use to paint her portrait with the blood that was drawn.

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“I loved what he was doing, I think it's very primal, very ritualistic.” -Margaret Cho


Marsin: How did you find inspiration when you were first starting out?


Vincent: My life experiences have been my major source of inspiration. Now, it sort of shifted. The work is based on experiential phenomena but it's not as dark. It began in a much darker place.


M.:Where in Brooklyn did you live?


V.: I lived in a place called Gravesend, it's closer to Coney Island.


M.: So was it in Brooklyn when you first started creating with blood?


V.: When I started using blood, I was in high school. In college I started incorporating blood into these pen and ink drawings I was doing and it was shortly there after I withdrew from college and started using blood exclusively.


M.: What college did you attend at that time?


V.: FIT for illustration.

M.:So NYC must have been a different place!?


V.: It was. I mean maybe not so different than now, I mean the 90's was a totally different city. The 80's and 90's was a REALLY different New York City. Giuliani changed all that but it was different.


M.:Were you more inspired back then?


V.:I am equally inspired now as I was back then, but the inspiration has definitely shifted.  To speak forthright, my environmental situation was pretty unique. That's really where a lot of the work sprung from. From things I was trying to work out.

M.:Where were you born?


M.:Wow so your a New York baby!

V.:Yup, I am a native New Yorker.

M.:So a native New Yorker who felt the need to create, who felt something inside that needed to get out. How was your art accepted initially?


V.:Well at first people think your crazy. There are a lot of people who initially thought it was esthetically beautiful but then you couple it with blood and then there was disbelieve. People don't usually associate blood with something that is so controlled, they usually think of spatter, then they're like ""


M.:How do you get the different tones and textured out of blood?


V.:The lighter tones are blood that is mixed with different amounts of water. The deeper textures come from blood that's been sitting for a while.


M.:How long do you store it for?

V.:Well I can use it right away. But the dark tones, the very opaque almost acrylic like paste would take like 2 weeks, three weeks.

M.:Why  blood?


V.:It's the emotional component which drove it. I was experimenting with mixed media, I mean really far out stuff. So it started with a diabetic lancet. I was using that to get small amounts of blood, but then started intervening when I needed more.


M.:What kind of role does photography play in your type of work?


V.:Photography is an integral part of my process. I don't paint from a live model so I shoot my subjects and paint from the photos that I take. I set up different compositions as well as the lighting.

Then I work out the proportions for the canvas, lay everything out and start sketching before I begin to paint a piece.


M.:What do you feel like is next for you?


V.:I have concepts for a new body of work that I am planning. I just want to paint. Want to find different venues or spaces where I can show my work.

M.:What advice do you have for emerging artists?


V.:To stay true to themselves, to what they do and who they are, constitutionally. To never give up and continue to do what they are doing.

M.:Where can your work be purchased?


V.:The original work, limited edition prints and hand embellished prints can be purchased directly through me on my


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