Vincent Castiglia used to paint in oils, acrylics and other traditional mediums, but using these materials to express himself never felt complete. Because he saw his work as truly a piece of himself, Castiglia wanted to draw a closer connection to it.
This is when he began painting with blood.
For 10 years now, Castiglia has been making his own medium.
"It was prompted by the need to connect with my work on most intimate level possible," Castiglia said in an email to TheBlaze. "I'd worked in traditional media prior to this but never truly felt that what I was creating expressed what was going on inside of me. When I began using blood, it felt perfect."
He continued saying he felt like he was "screaming inside" and using blood as a medium screams as well.
The 30-year-old said his interest in art came naturally to him at an early age as "the only way I could effectively disconnect from my environment." He described his early home life as "a horror show."
As for the messages within his work, there are many.
"If I had to try to make one concise statement about the work in general, I'd say the theme common to all of the paintings is that there's hope and beauty within our temporal, fleeting existence," he wrote. "My work has served as repository for many intense and quite painful events in my life. The paintings are meditations that were somewhat necessary to survival at each given point in time that I was creating them. They're the bedrock I've laid to guarantee safe passage into the next week, month, and year of my life. And more than this, they're very literally how I've come to understand and relate to the world. I don't know where I'd be without my work."
Castiglia said about 85 percent of his human-produced medium is from himself. There was a point when he had a collapsed lung that some close friends made donations for the cause.
After a difficult recovery from surgery for his lung, Castiglia said as soon as he could walk and lift his arm, he was working again. His first solo show was coming up at that time at the H.R Giger Museum Gallery.
As for potential health implications from using blood in paintings. Castiglia said it is fixed on the painting like any other pigment would be. He also said that as a biological medium, anything in it wouldn't "live" beyond a short period of time. He pointed out that most people would put the artwork in a frame behind glass.
Castliglia told the Huffington Post recently that a painting as large as seven feet could take up to 30 viles of blood to complete a painting.
Watch this ITN News report with Castiglia talking about his works:
Check out more of Castiglia's work on his website here.