Nicky Park

Editor of Life & Style.

Painting with blood: 'Why make it out to be this evil, nasty thing?' (+photos, video)

A self portrait of Dr Rev painted with his own blood.
Photo / Supplied
A self portrait of Dr Rev painted with his own blood. Photo / Supplied

Dr Rev paints with his own blood.

Every few months the Australian blood artist gets a pint of the stuff extracted from his body by a friend and former pathologist.

He keeps it in his fridge, waiting for the bright red vials to turn a darker shade of maroon, then he pulls out his paintbrush and creates realistic images on canvas that sell for thousands of dollars.

There's only one other guy in the world that does anything like it, Dr Rev says, and, despite never meeting him, from what he's read, "the guy's a w**ker".

Dr Rev has had a "morbid fascination" with blood since he was a kid.

"When you're a kid, if you ever had an injury you sort of picked and poked at it. I never kind of grew out of it," he says.

"There's something about blood. When I see blood, weather it be butchering steak or whatever, there's something about it."

He says the decision to start painting with his blood was spontaneous, but the tattoo artist used to get regular blood tests because of his craft.

"I became very good friends with the pathologist and one day I was sitting in the chair in one of my goofy moods and asked if I could have one of those vials they collect the blood in."

She said no, but after a bit of "begging and pleading," caved and handed one over.

Dr Rev excitedly returned to his tattoo studio, took out the "cheapest, nastiest bit of canvas" and started brushing "the most horrific painting ever and it actually turned out quiet well".

It was a samurai helmet with a skull. It was a thick, dark piece, blotted with blood. That was five years ago.

Now he paints cute and cuddly animals, self portraits and also delves into the macabre and evil with plenty of skulls.

Every couple of months he gets an email asking if he'll use someone else's blood to create a personal piece. But this compromises his "gimmick," he says.

"There's some douchebag over in America that uses rattlesnake blood, and my response to him, was, 'What the hell did the rattlesnake do to you?'"

Dr Rev says he was banned from demonstrating his craft at an art expo in Sydney after the health department received a bunch of complaints, which he says lacked any justification.

"Blood is a cornerstone of life. Why make it out to be this evil, nasty thing?," he says.

He is flying to New Zealand to do a demo at the International Tattoo and Art Expo in Hamilton this weekend and is determined to put on a show, though is concerned about getting his blood through customs.

"I better show up there and be bloody well able to paint ... I'm pretty sure you guys are going to be a lot more relaxed.

"My major argument ... is it's my blood. My blood's dead because it's been out of my body for months before I use it. It sits in my refrigerator for months before I use it ... I find that the older the blood the better.

"At the end of the day it's dead tissue that I'm putting on to a canvas. Where's the health issue?"

"I don't have a life outside blood painting. I am blood painting."

Watch Dr Rev at work here:

Dr. Rev Bloodpainter from Steven Guzman on Vimeo.



* The Rev will be performing his craft at the Tattoo and Art Expo in Hamilton this weekend. Win tickets here.

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