For most artists, passion is in their blood. It might be a matter of periods or eras, but what transcends is the vast poetics of their work, their vision, as well as the mark they leave in the audience.
Artists pour their hearts into their pieces. Effort, sweat, tears, oxygen, flesh, and bone. It’s also likely that blood will also be imprinted in their art.
Vinicius Quesada is a Brazilian street artist, based in Sao Paulo who has turned his art into a visceral experience. He enjoys adding a pinch of shock value to his creations, particularly with the materials he uses. His most controversial series, titled Sangre Mear Blues, is composed by works he made with blood, urine, and blue paint.
Despite what these raw materials can imply on the nature of his art, his works are not entirely abstract. They have a political symbolism with plenty of social commentary. There’s an influence of graffiti, particularly Banksy’s stenciled murals, Warhol’s pop art, and a blend of his own particular esthetics. However, his imagery is quite peculiar: sensual metamorphosed geishas, the duality of consumerism and poverty, the media, and several apocalyptic references full of psychedelia and vivid colors.
His method is quite meticulous, as he explained to My Modern Met, “It starts with researching several photographs, so I can set the first collage. From this, I stencil the image on paper, usually with the three main colors of Blood Piss Blues, which are red, green/yellow and dark blue, as a reference to the RGB color system (…) To each one of these colors, I add a specific amount of blood, depending on the tone. Green/yellow receives less blood, and I also add urine. Red takes a lot more, but also uses real paint. This is because it’s hard to get blood, since I use only mine. I can get like 450 ml every two months. Blood is taken at the hospital, with the help of professionals. I never considered using anyone else’s blood, and I’ve never caused any harm to another living creature. It’s not something satanic or spiritual. (I’m actually an atheist).”
Quesada proceeds to retouch the image, adding details with a bit of blood, then digitalizes it to make a few more modifications. After switching the image’s dimensions, he prints them out to place them on the street.
His creations demonstrate a purpose where the artist uses his body, along with other tools, to create art that is both organic and undiluted. Quesada constantly rejects offers from enthusiasts who want to donate their own blood for his creations. His personal philosophy follows the idea that instead of giving it to him, his fans should donate the blood to hospitals and blood banks.
Quesada’s purpose is to use himself as the paint on which to expose the injustice he sees in his environment. There have been other artists who have used their bodies as canvases on which to paint their art. One case is Piero Manzoni, who sold his own feces as art. Francis Bacon, on the other hand, found his greatest inspiration in a burglar who became his lover.
My Modern Met
Translated by María Suárez