Would you carry your deceased on your skin? Tattoos with ashes as mourning in California

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When Scout Frank lost his mother, He decided to place part of her ashes in a necklace to feel like he had her close. But in his grieving process he found a way to really carry it under his skin: with a tattoo.

With the wooden box in which her mother's ashes were, Frank excitedly arrived at the studio of tattoo artist Kat Dukes in the Californian coastal city of Oceanside.

"It's overwhelming," Frank said in a choked voice, sitting in a black chair, while Dukes took out the bag with the light gray powder. The immaculate room, with white walls and a cowboy aesthetic, added intimacy to the moment.

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With gloves and a small shovel, Dukes removed a tiny fraction of the ashes and passed them to the young woman so that, in a kind of ceremonial moment, she could add them to the ink.

Come on, mom!" said Frank, whose tears turned into a smile.

"It's a different way of respecting it instead of having them (ashes) just there in my house," he commented, receiving the already closed box from Dukes.

Dukes, who has become a loyal audience in his studio Steel Honey thanks to its hand tattoo style, He incorporated the ashes practice three and a half years ago when one of his clients told him he wanted to honor his dog in an even more intimate way.

I had heard that it could be done, but I didn't know how," said the 32-year-old artist. "It was very simple, just adding the ashes to the ink. "It's what we did, and that made it that much more special."

The tattoo artist, who calls this type of work "commemorative pieces", saw her videos spread like wildfire on social networks. And with the exposure, came the tsunami.

Initial rejection

"I get a lot of criticism for doing this. A lot of people argue that it's unsanitary," said Dukes, who embraced the practice so much that she tattooed her dad's ashes on herself.

It's kind of frowned upon here in the United States because people haven't heard about it often. And people immediately reject what is strange to them," explained the tattoo artist.

Dukes states that There is no risk of contamination or infection from using cremation ashes.and that a health inspection confirmed that his work is safe and that his study does not violate any regulations.

The artist says this helped her overcome the psychological impact of the avalanche of criticism, as well as the reaction of her clients, "no matter how much hate I receive."

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"It's something very special to be able to do something like that with a person like Kat," said Frank, who has lost count of the number of tattoos he has, as he looks at the finished piece on his ankle.

The silhouette of a dove, with open wings, was the design that The young owner of a vintage clothing store chose to remember her mother who to say "I love you" He exchanged the words "love" for "dove."

Having her really connected to me is a very different feeling. It's something I can't lose, that can't be taken away from me," she smiles.

"She's already a part of me, but now she's really going to be a part of me forever."

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With information from AFP.


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