For those of you wondering if blood is thicker than ink, just ask artist Ted Lawson. The Brooklyn artist hooked himself up to a CNC machine to draw a self portrait using his own blood. For those of you already wondering why, well, Lawson explains that it’s all in the name of art.
Included in a series of art called The Map Is Not The Territory, the blood drawing process entailed using an automated self-filling brush and ink Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine to create vector-based artwork from bitmap images. In an attempt to personalize the final art piece, Lawson had the idea to hook himself up to the machine’s ink tube to produce what may be considered the ultimate selfie. “By creating a self portrait, the work references other culturally symbolic ideas to do with narcissism and inward thinking – the essence of the “selfie”, which is clearly having its moment,” Lawson said.
The entire drawing process took hours to complete and Lawson kept his energy and blood sugar levels up by drinking fruit juice and eating biscuits. As bizarre as the personalized blood drawing may seem, Lawson explained that it was all in the name of art, “I don’t really like being the physical subject of my own work and was not particularly thrilled to pose nude, but the purest execution of the concept demanded it. The idea of connecting the self directly to the machine and then making that connection to the other works in the show was important to me.”
Lawson’s self portrait will be on display as part of the Map Is Not The Territory series at the Joseph Gross Gallery in New York from September 11 until the October 4, 2014.