Results tagged “cremation ashes”

08:51 AM
colin dale tattooing.jpghand tattoo.jpgThe other day, I received an interesting email from our friend and one of our favorite tattooers, Colin Dale of Skin & Bone tattoo studio in Copenhagen, Denmark. Colin particularly specializes in hand-poked dotwork, creating gorgeous pieces, large and small, with a particular bent towards Nordic art and mythology (although he works in a variety of genres).

In the message, Colin sent these photos, shot by his partner Nana, of him tattooing their friend Eric Frederikson with soot mixed with the ashes of Eric's deceased father to make the ink. As Colin said, "It doesn't get more tribal than that."

Considering my fascination with memorial tattoos using cremation ashes, I asked for more to the story, and Colin obliged. Here's what he wrote:

Leviticus talked about cutting and marking the body in reverence to the dead. The Hawaiians used to cut themselves with shells (scalp) and smear the funeral pyre ashes on themselves. And I know several people have done this in modern times before me...I seem to remember Bill Tinney (Photographer for Outlaw Biker, Tattoo Review, etc.) got a portrait of his mother (or grandmother) done by Brian Everett, I believe, with some ash mixed in the ink. However, I actually wanted to make ink out of the ash!

Unfortunately human (animal) ash is very light, so I mixed it with soot to darken it up while still trying to
stay as prehistoric as possible. I don't know if you should give the recipe out [Editor's Note: yup, I am], but it was half ash, half soot -- and then an equal portion of 55% Vodka! The human ash was quite grainy, so I had to mill/mortar it, which was no problem at Lejre [Denmark, where the tattoo took place]. In the studio, I probably would have hit it with the ultrasonic for a few days. But Eric is from Minnesota (Minnesota Viking!), so my only concern was that he might catch Mad Republican Disease!
For more on the tattoo, and to see other great photos by Nana, read Colin's blog here.


And for other N+S posts on tattooing with cremation ashes check these previous posts:

eric memorial tattoo.jpg
12:23 PM
ashes in tattoo.jpgAshes 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.

More links on the topic:

connect with us

Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
Needles and Sins powered by Moveable Type.

Site designed and programmed by Striplab.

NS logo designed by Viktor Koen.