Groundbreaking blood-wielding surrealist Vincent Castiglia has been turning heads with his shocking, detailed art painted in human blood for the past several years, but this year, Castiglia turns to a new medium to transform his creativity into reality.
This past Saturday at the NAMM show in Anaheim, California, Castiglia and SLAYER/EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt officially revealed a custom-painted Gary Holt signature ESP electric guitar, detailed completely with Holt’s very own blood. The blood was drawn from Holt backstage after a SLAYER show on Long Island, New York. Castiglia collected 18 vials, all of which were used on the guitar.
Aside from marking Castiglia’s first use of a guitar as his canvas, this is the first time a guitar has ever been painted entirely in its player’s own blood. The guitar is not currently for sale and is not yet in production – this is currently an original, one-run design!
Vincent Castiglia offers the background story on how the production of this guitar came about: “While working on his torso piece, my client and friend Brian Werner (vocalist of VITAL REMAINS) suggested the possibility to me. I thought about the logistics, whether it would be possible or not, and figured hey, if I’ve been able to take my paintings and medium as far as I have already on canvas, why not do it on a guitar body? After some trial, and some extra preparation, it all worked out perfectly, and this guitar actually became what I’d cite to be one of my favorite, most detailed works to date. I pushed it as far as was physically possible in terms of detail. The subject matter, look and feel, and functionality of the piece are all in perfect line with my work.
“The piece is historical in that, to my knowledge (or the knowledge of Google), this is the first functional guitar in human history to have been created entirely in the musician’s blood. That puts it in a unique position, as it’s a functional piece of fine art that memorializes Gary Holt’s life’s work with his lifeblood, my mind and hands having been the vessel for its creation. It was an honor to work so intimately with Gary Holt and ESP on this project, which was literally, ‘Bonded By Blood.'”
Holt says: “It was very exciting to finally be able to reveal the ‘blood guitar’ painted with 18 vials of my own blood at this year’s NAMM! This Vincent Castiglia original is the first of its kind. This weekend was also my first look at it in the flesh so to say I was stoked is an understatement! Looking forward to taking this one-of-a-kind piece of dark art out on tour in February!”
ESP director of artist relations and product management Chris Cannella adds: “When this whole project came up, I was excited at the idea. I was already a fan of Vincent Castiglia’s work as an artist and tattooist, but this was something I was cautious of. Was it going to be another gimmick of blood in the ink, etc.? Blood drips or something easy to do? When I saw this come to fruition my jaw dropped! Such beautiful detail and accuracy!
“This guitar will not be for sale as it was just finished just for Gary Holt, but we wanted to show it at the booth at NAMM with Gary and Vincent to tell the story best. I am sure people’s minds were blown even as it is not yet assembled.”
Vincent Castiglia withdrawing blood from Gary Holt photo credit: Lisa Holt