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Q&A: Vincent Castiglia Paints Exclusively in His Own Blood (but Used Semen Once)

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You know, a long time ago I had worked with a few things, uh, again, really experimental and just total catharsis to see where it was going. Um, I'm not sure I want to say this! [Laughter] I'm speaking to you and I'm not sure. . .

Okay. Well, this is a long time ago; probably in 1999. Um, I worked with semen at one point. It was a black piece of illustration board . . . I feel strange telling you this. Anyway, I had sex with my girlfriend at the time on top of it. What was produced on the surface afterwards, I fixed it on with glue and glitter. It was just this cool encapsulation of the moment. I've never shown it and never really talked about it.

Are you doing anything now, since the collapsed lung, to stay healthy?

There's nothing special I do in terms of diet, but I am more conscious of how much I'm collecting at a time. It's probably 10 to 15 tubes. I can get 30 and still feel okay, but I don't push it anymore because it isn't necessary. Fifteen will last me quite a while working on a project.

And a lot of it is diluted anyways, working with blood and water, so it stretches it. And I'm not working as large anymore. I did a lot of large works in the past -- seven-foot-tall paintings that took me a couple months. And the amount of blood needed was much higher.

It would make sense for you to be pretty stressed out showing at the H.R. Giger Museum. You've said in previous interviews that you slept there the night before, and that you had some premonitory dreams. Can you tell me about those?

I do remember those. I had written it down. Off-hand, I don't remember the environment of the dream, but I remember it had something to do with Dracula, as ridiculous as it sounds. And the next day is when Triptykon asked me if I'd be interested in doing the album artwork for the band.

And I said absolutely, I'd be honored. And they said what they had planned for my artwork was the interior of the album for the CD and LP, and Giger's work was going to be on the cover, which was a painting called Vlad Tepes. So I had this dream the night before, I had written it down on a sketch pad, and then the next day they told me what they had planned, and the Giger piece was on the cover.

If there were any band's album cover you could design, whose would it be?

Probably Tool.

Are you a big Tool fan?

I am.

I could definitely see your artwork on one of their album covers. So who are your favorite artists, or biggest influences?

I would definitely have to cite H.R. Giger as a huge inspiration. Salvador Dali. And I didn't realize until recently how inspired I've been inspired by Alphonse Mucha. I'm aware of his work, I had a book of his, and I just recently bought a hardcover book of his work. And I can't believe the similarities in terms of the ways things flow and the use of negative space. So I was definitely influenced by him. Other than that, I really like Francis Bacon's work.

Over the years with your different blocks of work, do you feel your themes have changed at all?

Yes. Because every painting is really about where I'm at, at a particularly point in time, the work has many places and themes.

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Lauren Wise has worked as a rock/heavy metal journalist for 15 years. She contributes to Noisey and LA Weekly, edits books, and drinks whiskey.
Contact: Lauren Wise