Tattooing Ashes in Memorial Tattoo
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. My body might die, but my skin never rusts.
In this story from the BBC -- which rides an Edgar Allen Poe, serrated edge of a border between morbid obsession and touching, honorable worship -- a tattoo studio owner who lost his son to a rare genetic disease is about to receive a tattoo using a portion of his cremated child's ashes in the ink. Of course, the tattoo will be a portrait of the youth.
Apparently, the science is right and the ashes will have no negative, physical considerations for Mark Richmond. The emotional, spiritual and sociological concerns, however, are not as easily dismissed.
The ceremony of death and memorial has never as artistically rendered as in the tattoo and graffiti communities. Both take great pains to remember the deceased in literal, life-like relief. Whether spray-painted across a handball court in Brooklyn or permanently engraved into flesh in Greater Hampshire, the names, faces and defining characteristics of the departed are shown time and again.
For two communities that, oftentimes, live dangerous lifestyles, it is remarkable the amount of appreciation we share for mortality. The more conservative groups who may not approve of our subcultures are so concerned with the appropriate ways to live life, they often fail in how to live death.
Bobby Bonafides Fisher is touched by this man's tribute and, in general, by the tattoo communities respect for their fallen.
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