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Artist Draws Portraits Using the Ashes of Her Subjects

Raven J. Collins thinks she may be the only artist in the world to brush the raw ashes of a deceased person onto a pencil portrait.

Using ashes as a medium is a growing trend in the artwork, but while some are mixing it with paint to create abstract works, moulding them into bizarre sculptures, or even compressing and using it as pencil filling (like lead), Raven Collins uses the ashes to create commission portraits of the deceased, whether they be human or animal. She’s only been doing it for a while, but ash-portraits already make up 90% of her business.

As cremation becomes the more popular option in the funeral industry, the number of choices of what to do with the ashes also increases. Some people prefer to keep them in a fancy urn, others spill them into the ocean or over a peaceful pasture, but more and more people opt to incorporate their loved-ones’ remains into various artworks. Artists like Raven sometimes get referrals from funeral homes, but most of their advertising is word of mouth and online exposure.

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