ASK A MORTICIAN- Painting with Human Remains!

ASK A MORTICIAN- Painting with Human Remains!


When Aunt Gilly was cremated, we put her ashes into 47 of these tiny urns. Now, do not get me wrong, these are fun to hide under the pillows of an unsuspecting houseguest, Or on Easter, instead of eggs, But I cannot help but wonder if there is not a more unique, artistic thing that we can do with her ashes. Yes, you can turn cremated remains or ashes into any number of meaningful keepsakes. Well, turned into isn’t quite right, it’s more that ashes are added to things. For example: They are added to the glass of a sculpture or pendant, added to the ink of a tattoo. Added to the vinyl of a record. There’s even a company in Alabama called Holy Smoke that will add cremated remains to live ammunition. So you can take that final hunting trip with your dead relative most thirsty for blood. But if you’re looking for more traditional art there are companies that will add cremated remains to paint to create paintings. One company, Cremation Portraits, takes it a step further and paints a portrait of the deceased composed completely of their own ashes Hi, this is cremation painting ASMR. You’re dead but we’re going to make something so beautiful with you. Aunt Gilly would have loved this painting. Let’s make a happy little cloud. Painting with the dead; to some of you that might sound a little new agey, a little gimmicky, but in fact people have been painting with dead human remains for a really long time, whether they knew it or not. From the 1500s all the way up to the 20th century there was a color of paint called Mummy Brown used by artists. It was somewhere between a raw umber and a burnt umber, if you know your umbers. Mummy Brown or Mummia as it was sometimes called was especially popular among pre-Raphaelite painters. It’s believed you can see mummy brown used in such masterworks as Edward Burne-Jones’ The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon, or Eugène Delacroix’s Liberty Leading the People. Mummy Brown is a color of a bygone era, a color remnant lost time and now modernity and, oh yeah Mummy Brown is made of mummies. I was going to say ‘Mummy Brown is people!’ But I made a soylent green joke quite literally my last video, and I don’t want to be that girl that’s always making the soylent green jokes. We all know that girl. Mummy Brown, not to be confused with my queen Murphy Brown, got its distinctive color from ground-up Ancient Egyptian mummies that were originally imported into Europe for medicinal purposes. Back in the day, the mummy market in Europe was hot, but that’s a whole other video. Mummy Brown actually became so popular with 19th century artists that supply began to run out and companies had to create substitute remains, like Royal French remains from the Abbey of St. Denis, to keep up with the demand for the color. Martin Drolling’s Intérieur d’une Cuisine (or Interior of a Kitchen) is suspected to contain such royal remains. Oh, and they didn’t just use ancient Egyptian human mummies to make the color; they also used ancient Egyptian cat mummies. Mummy Brown is kittens! [miau] Now it’s hard to always say which paintings contain real made-with-mummies Mummy Brown and which just contain brown paint. That’s because a lot of artists didn’t even know what they were painting with. When the painter Edward Burne-Jones discovered that mummy brown was made of mummies he had a bit of a meltdown and insisted on immediately burying his tube of paint. His friend the writer Rudyard Kipling said: “He descended into broad daylight with a tube of mummy brown in his hand, saying that he had discovered it was made of dead pharaohs, and we must bury it accordingly.” Edwards wife, Georgiana Burne-Jones added: “So a hole was bored in the green grass at our feet and we all watched it put safely in and the spot was marked by one of the girls planting a daisy root above it.” Eventually the use of Mummy Brown fell out of fashion not only because other artists had similar traumatized reactions to poor Edward Burne-Jones, but also because Europe was just running out of mummies. C. Robertson and company was the last place to manufacture true mummy brown paint and they stopped doing that way back in ye old 1964. When asked for comment, their managing director, Jeffrey Roberson said: “we may still have some odd limbs lying around somewhere but not enough to make any more paint”. And yes, you still may be able to find paint called Mummy Brown in modern art stores, but worry not deathlings. No actual mummies were harmed in the making of that pigment What do you think about all this? Would you want mom’s ashes or your own ashes in a bullet, in a record, in a tattoo, in a painting; does any of this appeal to you? Let’s talk about it below. Brought to you with support from People’s Memorial Association and the Co-op Funeral Home, and donations from viewers like you Hello in very radical bodacious news I uploaded the video about our new documentary yesterday and something like 280 of you pledged to become patrons and help us make it. That is so cool. Don’t let that stop you from pledging though will will use all the help we can get Deathlings are awesome. You [are] endless. You are strong. You’re fierce You’re great. Thanks. Bye You’re so beautiful

100 Comments

  • Skaya King says:

    How do I apply for an internship

  • Lisa Gross says:

    😳 painting with Bob Ross is now painting WITH Bob Ross. Love you Caitlin 😂

  • spack army says:

    Try’s to bite the pant bush though screen

  • Lucy Furr says:

    Would it be romantic if someone put their lovers ashes in a bullet and then shot themselves in the head with it?

  • AderinShaderin says:

    I know some people that would probably love to have their ashes blown up a la Hunter S Thompson

  • Jen McMahon says:

    I hide my mom’s tiny urn in my SUV glove compartment.

  • Darcie Merriweather says:

    Sounds so sacrilegious

  • Chez says:

    mom-mummia [ba dum tss]

  • Evan Castro says:

    Im turning my brothers remains into a glass dildo… I have permission lol

  • Tananda Barth says:

    I actually have my mom's ashes in my tattoo. She passed in 2015 and I got a tattoo for her 8 months after, and my cousin was willing and able to mix a little of her ashes into the ink and then tattoo me with it

  • ezekiel jack says:

    art being very important to me, i would love my ashes made into a painting.

  • Pixel Kitten says:

    I would love to have ashes made into a tattoo or portrait.
    Gonna bring that up to my mom and see if she’ll let me put her in a tattoo 😂😂

  • Ashley Wyatt says:

    I see nothing wrong with it at all. My first choice is a body farm, but if I got a second choice it would be cremation and I'd like to be put in jewelery for my kids. A painting would be cool to.

  • Underwater Dollar Art and Music by Justina Dollar says:

    I thought of having my cata ashes tatooed on me

  • Debbi Meyersbrant says:

    I put some of my hubby's ash's in 14 shout gun shells . And gave them to the ones that wanted one .

  • Dale Howard says:

    Nah. Don't think I want to be added in a painting.

  • Kayla Marie says:

    okay but you actually triggered my asmr and I want more

  • mothmilk says:

    Is it safe to use ashes in a tattoo? And do they have to be human?

  • marblefanboy says:

    If my grandmother was down for it I’d totally have her ashes put in a record of Fancy by Reba McEntire

  • Erika VanDaele says:

    My art teacher in college, so wise, told me of Mummy Brown – it is now my purpose in life to get my hands on some of that Mummy Brown. That and Sacre Bleu. Oh ancient paints, please make yourself available to me.

  • miguel pixie says:

    as someone who is EXTREMELY dedicated to the world of art, i would absolutely love having my ashes turned into a tattoo or a piece of art of even a vinyl

  • Gregory Davis says:

    How about smelting ashes into a metal such as silver for jewelry? Had this idea for awhile in the idea of making a ring bound by two whom ive lost

  • Le Bas-fond says:

    Karl Von Hausswolff got in huge, and rightful, trouble for using Holocaust ashes in his paintings. 😰😡 humans are so horrible

  • Isaac Clodfelter says:

    I didn't care until you said they also used cats. I think that speaks more to me than the mass production of corpse paint.

  • 1983emzy says:

    Is it true you can have ashes turned into a diamond

  • Bianca says:

    My ancestors have been terrorised by neanderthals in ways only they could come up with… Wtf.. again those were acts of terrorism, crimes. Not options for the dead.

  • Blindasazubat says:

    I'd be interested in having my dads ashes in a record. Thatd be kinda cool.

  • Snickering Snake says:

    I feel like getting ashes in a tattoo is counterproductive because the person with the tattoo will die too, plus tattoos fade so what if the ashes accidentally get shed with the dead skin?

  • Criminal Scum says:

    “Mummy Brown is people!”
    Well yeah, what else would you expect?

    “Mummy Brown is kittens!”
    Well, that’s messed up.

  • emiloops says:

    I want my ashes brewed in a keurig coffee maker. too soon?

  • Deborah Cheng says:

    I wanted to say that that artist who buried the tube of paint was a good person. I think most people's immediate reaction would've been "eww" and throws the paint away instead of treating it respectfully.

  • Wally Draigle says:

    When I'm gone I just want my leftovers to return to the cycle.

  • Shannon DeCillis says:

    The bullets are the most Alabaman thing I’ve ever heard

  • Ella McCarthy says:

    that ash record looked so cool

  • Faith Patrick says:

    I have so many things I wish I could do with my body! I don't know where to start.

    1. painting with my ashes
    2. skull cup!!!
    3. ashes in sculptures
    4. death masks
    5. record ashes!!!
    6. many more

    Wish I could do them all

  • Mary Wehrs says:

    I have a pendant that has my mama's, sister and brother's ashes melted in it.

  • erich moller says:

    Of course Alabama would think it a good idea to add human ashes to rifle amo

  • goinblinddoggone says:

    I'm planning on building a straw bale house and may save some of my parents' ashes to add to the plaster x thanks Caitlin, your vids have helped me through my losses

  • Zealothia Valentine says:

    I would love to be a glass sculpture/pendant/object or a vinyl! I wonder which song or songs I would choose to be my last physical self in this here earth….
    Maybe Starlight Starshine or maybe A Way into your Heart by Steam Powered Giraffe, they're my absolute favorite band!
    And these songs always brighten my day, maybe they'll do the same for whoever stays here after I'm gone!

  • E. Ruthless says:

    I want to use some of my dads ashes for a tattoo

  • Lowkey Meme says:

    her hair went: Ⴑ""J

  • Shezus H. Nice says:

    But why tho???

  • Ivy Vyne says:

    My ashes in vinyl? AMAZING!!!!!

  • MrsW0f0rd says:

    I have a mighty need for tiny urns now

  • Liz N says:

    My mom's ashes are in Lake Michigan.

  • Marla Blaney says:

    I have a large tattoo where the cremains of my pets were each included in the ink to make their paw prints and their names next to them. My entire left leg is reserved for that purpose.

  • Rosie Red says:

    That's so interesting. I would love to be turned into beautiful art after I'm cremated.

  • Beth Tharpe says:

    OMG yes I would

  • Ben Adams says:

    I want my ashes to become part of a bullet to be used in slaying my enemies. Oh, wait…I'm not a comic book character (or bad B movie). Still would be kind of cool

  • starlaeuropa says:

    I recently attended a "celebration of life" for a family friend, and she had her ashes added to the fireworks they set off at the end of the evening.

  • Linda Lacombe says:

    Nope not for me! Wouldn’t use it, don’t want to be in it etc!

  • T Daniel says:

    My sister wants to be cremated so I’m def gonna paint with her ashes

  • Tina Gregory says:

    Wow, what a cute idea. Placing Aunt Gilley's ashes into tiny urns to hide & hunt @ Easter. What will they think of next, lol?

  • inkadinkadoodle says:

    Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Mummy Brown…
    Doesn't make much difference to the untrained eye, who'd never know that I'd been painting by umbers.

  • Allison Womble says:

    When my mom dies I’m doing 3 things with her ashes. A tattoo, a painting, and a necklace. I talked to her about it and she said “that’s so creative, just like you!! I love it!!”

  • RenzXVI says:

    I'd like it if ash remains were put in an hourglass to remind onlookers of the short time we have, an inscription of "Time is short" on the top. People will turn the hourglass upside down to start the timer which would also reveal the bottom inscription "You're next!".

  • Ana Allen says:

    CAN U PLLSSSSSSDO ASMRI LOVE UR VOICE U COULD TALK AB ANYTHING N I WOULDNT B SCARED

  • Jamie Jones says:

    So I have used the most powdered dust material of human remains to tattoo ink (In a clean and non cross contamination area) a lot of people have requested this and I will have some of my own pure carbon powdered remains in a bottle of ink and hey, if ya want me to be in your tattoo then I’m cool with that FAMILY MEMBERS…….Or just leave me in the ink bottle give me over to a capable artist friend of mine and use the ink for a portrait or whatever it for you! I’m going to be dead sooo…….yup.How come all the messed up stuff happens to the Jones’s btw?

  • Lloydiee says:

    My Nan was cremated a few months ago and my brother has a necklace with some of my nans ashes in, personally it’s not my kinda thing I like to remeber her in memories but each to there own ☺️

  • Bubbles Butterfly says:

    And why aren’t you doing ASMR you are so good at it! 🤗

  • 1BoardwalkAngel Forever says:

    I had already decided on direct cremation no services with having my ashes scattered. However, after seeing this video, and having a son-in-law who is a licensed tattoo artist, my youngest daughter (his wife) already has a beautiful tattoo on her forearm of hibiscus flowers with "Mumma" (which is what she always called me as a child) printed underneath. At first I found this a bit odd (why do you have a tattoo with my name under it taking up the majority of your lower forearm honey?) I then realized that she has one for each of her children as well so I accepted it as love, but now I'm thinking she could take a bit of my ashes and put the dates underneath my name in memoriam.

    My eldest daughter is an artist so she could have the same amount of ashes to put in a painting or necklace even if she wishes.

    Then scatter the rest of me.

    My son-in-law was given a small amount of his paternal grandfather's ashes in a necklace in the shape of a rifle cartridge, but it's not actually a real shootable cartridge or anything. He can't actually bring himself to wear the necklace so it hangs on a key holder on the wall next to his side of the bed.

  • MilliganX says:

    Gross, NO! No art made of dead people, no paraphernalia either, eww.

  • Amanda Kaufman says:

    I’ve been an oil painter for almost a decade and I still accidentally get paint all over me, especially my face (not so safely around my mouth and on my lips). I haven’t ever figured out how so I’d be a bit worried when painting with cremation paints that I’ll end up accidentally “eating” them.

  • Debbie Culpepper says:

    You can also have pencils made

  • Melissa Conley says:

    I can't believe I have never heard of this pigment. But as a deathling & fine artist, I would 100% consider having my remains to be put into a painting or jewelry some day!

  • Wade James says:

    I don’t care what is done with my ashes…whatever helps my husband grieve in his own way is what I care about. So if it’s a painting, tattoo, bullet, or putting me on a closet shelf, I’m good with it.

  • Abby Colby says:

    Make my remains into a dagger please (bone-steel)

  • SINternet Entertainment says:

    My mother wants to be made into a diamond she has four kids I think I will be more than happy to let one of them have that one.

  • Danielle Mabie says:

    I’m using my girlfriends account but I’m a tattoo artist who has done a handful of tattoos for people with their loved ones ashes and it’s kind of a grey area, and all the other artists I know don’t even have any real knowledge on why it might be a bad idea or not they just aren’t comfortable taking any risks of a reaction in the skin from using foreign materials in our ink. But I have done them before and just did a small area of the tattoo with the ashes rather than the enter tattoo in the event something does go wrong it’s only a contained area. But I am curious if anyone knows what and if there are any real health concerns using ashes in tattoo ink.

  • W W says:

    Your videos are so interesting

  • Hilde Hildegard says:

    …I scooped a pinch of my favorite aunt's ashes when we went to spread them. For 2 years, I've been trying to think of something significant and epic to do with them to show reverence and this is too perfect. She was very artful and always working on projects. Is this creepy or loving? Because I'm feeling it…

  • Amethyst Lindblad says:

    I think it’s pretty interesting seeing what things you can do with remains. I’m curious to see what the future holds

  • Evie M says:

    I found a protein shake kind of drink called Soylent Vanilla/Chocolate at the grocery store the other day. Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.

  • cortney cowan says:

    I'm the girl that makes Soylent green jokes

  • Pumpkin Lights' Fanservice! says:

    Do what some people have and turn me into a gemstone. Then put me in the hilt of a knife and stab whoever killed me in the face, because I’m not going down without a fight and I’m going to be a pretty af knife while they die ugly.

  • Nate Watson says:

    As we run out of graveyard space and environmental concerns render cremation less viable, we are going to need more variety in body disposal options. Not everyone is going to be ok with natural burial or composting. We should be experimenting with ways to dispose of bodies for environmental reasons.

    I'm glad royal french bodies were used to make paint. The royals of France were garbage when they were alive, and I support recycling garbage rather than letting it just sit in places wasting space.

  • Lena Rosio says:

    My mother carries my sister in a necklace and our uncle had some of her ashes tattooed on him. I think they are both weird and put it in my will that no one is allowed to have some of my ashes. I dont need my mom carrying around what could be my eye and butt hole in her necklace urn lol

  • Lisa Longo says:

    You can get diamonds made from cremated remains

  • Carrington Georgia says:

    I like all your videos bc of the intro

  • Katherine N. says:

    I like the idea of memorial paperweights, but I want a place relatives can visit. And now I notice the age of this video

  • BrokebutCreative says:

    People would be surprised where pigments come from. Bone/Ivory (a name carried over from when ivory was used) black is made from cow and pig bones, a byproduct of the meat packing industry. It's interesting really.

  • Christina Castaneda says:

    Yes yes yes do with me cremated remains what you will minus a Bullet. No more death with my death too much of a bummer.

  • CasualChaos says:

    I’m not going to lie, as an artist this sounds really interesting.

  • Melody099 says:

    Put me in a bullet and shoot me to bad people if you can't use me to fertilize pumpkins

  • aprilw7561 says:

    Paint me young again.

  • Ayanna Irek says:

    I have ashes from my brother, mom and aunt. I am also an artist and was thinking how to use it. I would definitely use it in a painting!

  • givemeacupofcoffee says:

    I want to have my bone dust mixed with fine china clay, which will then be turned into a fine china set with Delft blue glaze sketches of my face on every piece.

  • Gwen Knight says:

    I keep binge watching my way through all the videos…. She's so addictive

  • Diamondwarrior says:

    That is disrespectful

  • miss lizzy says:

    I wouldnt mind having mom or pawpaw I'm a glass pendant

  • Simply Shannon says:

    After I’ve seen the corpse of my husband. I am all about cremation now. My mother has always wanted to be cremated, and her ashes to be wherever we wanted them to be. I didn’t understand death, so I thought this to be morbid. Now I understand, and with that being said..why not make it into something beautiful? Instead of vase we all have to be careful not to drop, and who the hell wants it on display at their house? I’d much rather there be some portrait or something cool and useful

  • Kimberly Smith says:

    My son

  • Ken & Shan says:

    Can ashes be put into fireworks? My mom's had 2 bad incidents with ashes. 1 she bought an urn at a yard sale thinking it was a vase or decoration. The 2nd she spilled her sister in law all over herself 🤦‍♀️

  • Laura Jarrell says:

    Caitlin, I'd prefer to decompose, and nourish plants and animals! But really, whatever is easiest for my family!😂👍💝✌

  • Link2006155 says:

    I wonder if any of those mummies were lost historical people like what if one was cleopatra or someone famous for being missing

  • Bird W says:

    I wanted to add my dogs ashes into my tattoo but after paying extra to get her cremated individually they mailed us a box of large bone shards so… didn't get to do that

  • RaskelTRat says:

    Paint, sure. As an "artist" I would love to become paint.

  • Its Just Brit says:

    I wanna be turned into fireworks. I'm so calm in life I could at least have a loud and awesome death.

  • J Kilde says:

    Where can I get a gross of tiny urns?

  • Sarah Withrow says:

    Does art made with someone's ashes remind anyone else of the movie Velvet Buzzsaw? I know the artist used blood instead of ashes in the movie, but I wonder if the screenwriter knew about being able to put ashes in paint and got inspired.

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