Tattooist Creates Unique Art by Incorporating Cremation Ashes

today15 September 2023 94 5

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Ashes to Art: Discovering the Undying Ink-credibles of Tattoo Artist Kat Dukes!

Kat Dukes Steel Honey Tattooist
Kat Dukes - Steel Honey Tattoos

In an exclusive interview with renowned tattoo artist Kat Dukes, we delve into the extraordinary world where art, remembrance, and emotion intertwine. With her unique approach of incorporating cremation ashes into tattoos, Kat unravels the delicate process and profound experiences behind her work.

Getting Started in the Tattooing World

Kat’s journey into tattooing was organic, born out of boredom and a desire to create. “I started by boredom tattooing a friend of mine,” she explained. “It just kind of took off from there.”

Kat specialises in machine-free tattooing, also known as hand poke tattoos, which was not a common practice when she first started. Self-taught and determined, she honed her skills to make her hand poke tattoos look as professional as machine-done tattoos, attracting attention from clients captivated by her work.

Listen to our full Interview with Kat!

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Tattooist Kat Dukes creates memorable tattoos
Tattooist Kat Dukes

Incorporating Cremation Ashes

Using cremation ashes in tattoos is not new; various cultures have practised it for centuries. However, Kat was intrigued by the notion and decided to explore it further. “I had heard that it could be done,” she said. “I remember tattooing a guy who wanted a nose print of his dog who had passed away. He mentioned that the dog was cremated, and the idea sparked in my mind.” Intrigued by the possibility, Kat asked the client if he had the ashes at his house, and when he confirmed he did, she delved into the process. “It was pretty straightforward,” she shared. “Just add ash to the ink and tattoo.”

The Outcome: A Special Tribute

Incorporating cremation ashes in tattoos adds a profound and personal touch to the artwork. Kat emphasised how this process elevates the tribute piece, making it more special and unique for the clients. “When I did the tattoo with the dog’s ashes, it made the experience next level for him,” she explained. “We became friends, and he would always tell people about his tattoo, proudly mentioning that his dog’s ashes were a part of it.” Creating such meaningful artwork is a rewarding experience for Kat, and she has even used her late father’s ashes in a tribute tattoo.

Safety Concerns Addressed

Using cremation ashes in tattoo ink may raise safety concerns. However, Kat shared her perspective, stating, “I personally have never had an issue. I have done hundreds of these tattoos, and it’s a very safe process.”

She emphasised that the high temperature at which the remains are cremated ensures that nothing harmful can survive. While acknowledging that the plastic bags used to contain the ashes are not sanitised, Kat believes the stick-and-poke tattoo process is less invasive than machine tattoos, potentially reducing the risk further. “I wouldn’t do this if I thought I was putting my clients at risk,” she added confidently, reassuring her clients of their safety.

Tattooist Kat Dukes creates memorable tattoos
Tattooist Kat Dukes creates memorable tattoos

From Line Work to Living Portraits: A Game Changer

Kat admits that her favourite designs are pet portraits. “When I first started, I was basically only doing line work tattoos,” she explains. However, her artistic exploration took a significant turn when she discovered a way to incorporate shading and form into her stick-and-poke tattoos. It was truly a game-changer.

“Like we are off to the races now, like we could do anything with it, you know?” she enthuses. “So I started doing these dog portraits, cat portrait tattoos, and that has been probably my favourite and also the most challenging,” Kat confesses, emphasising the importance of capturing the essence of a beloved pet in the artwork. “You don’t want to mess one of these tattoos up. There’s just, you just don’t,” she says with a chuckle. “Because they know it’s usually the eyes.

They know their personality is all in their eyes in those photos, so you want to capture it, but it’s challenging in a good way.”

Kat Dukes’ Ashes to Artistry Revolutionizes Tattooing!

Kat Dukes is undoubtedly an artist who dares to push boundaries in the world of tattooing. Her incorporation of cremation ashes in tattoos allows individuals to carry a permanent tribute to their loved ones, creating a lasting memory in a unique and personal way. For those seeking an extraordinary and deeply meaningful tattoo experience, Kat’s skilful hand poke technique and innovative use of ashes open a new realm of possibilities and emotional connection.

Where to Find More

To delve deeper into Kat Dukes’ world of tattoos and her unique approach of incorporating ashes into her stunning creations, check out her Instagram page –

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Written by: Kat Y (Ginge)

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