Wednesday, January 26, 2011

It's WHAT?!

My recent profile of Brooklyn artist Laura Splan, who paints with her own blood, embroiders pathogens, and thinks art shouldn't just be about beauty – it should be about ideas.

With a steady hand Laura Splan dips her paintbrush into a glass vial filled with red ink, brushing one, two, three times against the side to catch any excess drops. In a single sweeping motion, she stains the pristine white surface with a crimson brush stroke that looks an awful lot like…
Blood. It’s Splan’s blood, and it’s her ink of choice. She’s been combining horror and beauty, the biological and the familiar in her artwork for over ten years. For her current project she is using her own blood to paint over vintage doilies, which serve as stencils. When removed from the canvas, the doilies leave behind a series of overlapping, almost floating organic forms – created by the blood seeping into the negative space.
Splan’s sanguine artwork began on a curious whim. “I basically just scrounged up a needle in my house one day and pricked my finger, just to see what it would look like,” said Splan. “I liked what it was doing.”
Splan, 37, an artist and certified phlebotomist (technician trained to draw blood) lives in a small Brooklyn apartment that doubles as her studio. It was during her undergraduate years studying biology at the University of California, Irvine that she realized that “art didn’t have to be about beauty, it could be about ideas.” Scientific ideas continue to inform her art, often surfacing in unexpected ways – like the blood on her paintbrush.
The rest of the story is here

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