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MANILA, Philippines – Philippine artist Elito Circa has blood on his hands, literally – but only to create art with.
Using blood taken from his own veins, the 52-year old produces canvas paintings that have drawn both praise and criticism because of his unusual choice of medium.
Born in a low-income household with little access to school supplies and art materials, Circa explored different mediums, including plums and tomatoes, but it was when he scraped himself as a young boy that his fascination with using blood began.
“Every time I got scraped, I would use my own blood since bloodstains are also hard to remove,” said Circa, while dabbing a white canvass using a paint brush dipped in blood.
Now, Circa goes to the town’s health clinic once every three months to have his blood extracted, usually in increments of 500 ml (17 oz), which he stores in a cooler in his studio for future projects.
“My artwork is very important to me because they come from me, it is from my own blood, my DNA is part of it… My philosophy is that life is circular and everything is a cycle, so (my blood) is a tool that serves as a reminder of where I came from,” Circa said.
After painting a 122 x 244 cm (4 x 8 ft) mural depicting the history of Pantabangan, the town where he grew up, Circa has set his sights on a more ambitious project – to create in 2023 the largest “blood painting” ever on a 100-meter (328 ft) canvas, setting a world record. – Rappler.com