Indiana butcher refuses to waste any part of animal, uses blood to paint

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LAGRANGE, Ind. — In many restaurant kitchens, the so-called “Nose to Tail” movement has given customers a taste of offal — the lesser known, and often less-desired parts of an animal. Not only are organs, ears and tongue now considered a delicacy, using up uncommon cuts is a way for chefs to minimize waste. That includes using blood.

Now one LaGrange, Ind., butcher is using the same approach, with a twist. He’s creating his own art.

“Why waste any of the animal?” Robert Long told CNN affiliate WSBT this week. “If you can eat the meat and sell the hide and make leather for shoes and coats. I have plenty of blood. Why not start doing something with it?”

4 Fast Facts

  • Butcher in LaGrange, Ind., uses animal blood to paint
  • Robert Long said he doesn’t want to waste any part of an animal
  • He uses his hands to create his works of art
  • He’s done around 70 paintings and has sold a few of them

Robert, who owns Butcher Bob’s, said there’s plenty of raw material around his work place.

“What I do is I get my table up, get my (canvas) boards, I get a bucket of blood and I start working,” said Jones. He doesn’t use a brush or tools — only his hands.

Long said he’s been in the custom butchering business for about three decades and started painting with blood about three years ago as a hobby. Many of his pieces feature Christian symbols like angels and crosses.

After he finishes his works of art and they dry, Long said each painting is sealed with a clear coat finish to keep them from fading.

He said he’s done around 70 paintings and sold some canvases for about $400. His work will be on display and for sale at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Long is not the first artist to use blood. New York artist Vincent Castiglia uses his own blood to create works of art. “The entire collection…is created exclusively in human blood (which anhydrates as ‘Iron Oxide’),” Castiglia writes on his website.

Ancient artists also mixed blood into their cave drawings.

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