ICONS IN ASH
 

FAQ

What is ICONS IN ASH?
ICONS IN ASH is an art project created by the artist Heide Hatry. ICONS IN ASH are memorial portraits made using a proprietary technique by means of which the actual ashes of your beloved become a poignant, dignified, and enduring portrait. The art-work, IS our beloved.
You can learn more about it at www.iconsinash.com

Who is Heide Hatry?
Heide Hatry is a practicing fine artist, represented by Ubu Gallery in New York City. Her work is known for its subtlety and depth and is often described as neo-conceptual, though unlike much art that is so described, it is equally concerned with aesthetic beauty.
Heide Hatry grew up on a pig farm in the south of Germany. She studied art at various German art schools and art history at the University of Heidelberg, and then taught at a private art school for 15 years while simultaneously conducting an international business as an antiquarian bookseller. Since moving to New York in 2003 she has curated numerous exhibitions in the United States, Germany, and Spain and has shown her own work at museums and galleries all over the world. She has edited more than two dozen books and art catalogues and her own books Skin, Heads and Tales, Not a Rose, and Icons in Ash were published between 2005 and 2017.

How did Heide Hatry come up with the idea of making portraits out of ashes?
When her father died unexpectedly and under mysterious circumstances more than twenty years ago, she was disconsolate, and she lived with a gnawing grief for many years. In 2008 one of her closest friends chose to end his life. Not only was she shocked and devastated, but she found that the still unresolved feelings of loss in her father's death had resurfaced all the more powerfully. With a sudden inspiration, she determined that she would make a portrait of her friend out of actual ashes. And then she did the same for her father. She has described the access of calm and tranquility that she felt upon completing the works and abiding with them in silent communion as life-altering. And she realized that she could offer the same deep solace to others as well. During her lengthy experimentation, she discovered a way of creating an actual relic that both honors the dead and inspires the living with a rich sense of presence, continuity, and connection.

What is an ICONS IN ASH Mosaic Portrait (MP)?
“Mosaic Portraits” are completely hand-made realistic portraits in a black, white, and grey palette, made out of the ashes of your beloved. The unique process Hatry has developed involves the individual placement of loose ash particles upon a surface of wax on which they rest gently, until, through several delicate layers of application, a rich and textured likeness is achieved.

What is an ICONS IN ASH Cinerary Photo Portrait (CPP)?
“Cinerary Photo Portraits” are a more modestly-priced option for a hand-made realistic portrait in a black, white, and grey palette, made from the ashes of your beloved. Again uniquely developed by the artist, the process makes it possible to transfer the ink of a photographic image directly onto a pure and slightly irregular surface of ashes or an emulsion in which ashes are suspended.

What is the difference between a Mosaic Portrait and a Cinerary Photo Portrait?
“Mosaic Portraits” are mosaics, meaning that the ash particles are affixed one by one onto a substrate. The choice of different shades of gray creates the diversity of hue that results in a portrait, similar to the way that individual pixels contribute to complex images on a computer. Depending on the size, this technique requires up to 6 weeks.
The process and materials used for making “Cinerary Photo Portraits” are similar, but here a larger number of ash particles are affixed at the same time, and afterwards the ink of a photo is transferred onto that surface. Depending on the size this takes up to 2 weeks.

How much ash do I need for a Memorial Portrait?
The amount of ashes needed, depends on the technique and size:
Mosaic Portraits of 11 x 14 x 3” require 3 ounces of ashes, which is about 6 teaspoons of ashes
Mosaic Portraits of 5 x 7 x 2” require 1.5 ounces of ashes, which is about 3 teaspoons of ashes
Cinerary Photo Portraits of 11 x 14 x 3” require 6 ounces of ashes, which is about 12 teaspoons of ashes
Cinerary Photo Portraits of 5 x 7 x 2” require 3 ounces of ashes, which is about 6 teaspoons of ashes

How many memorial portraits could be made from a single person’s ashes?
It depends on how much ash is available, but given the modest amount necessary for a portrait, a memorial portrait could easily be made for every family member and even friends.

What can I do with the rest of the ashes?
In deciding to commission an ICONS IN ASH memorial portrait, you don’t lose any options! A quite sufficient quantity would still remain for scattering, preservation in an urn, making jewelry objects (please see madelynco.com) or whatever other means you might choose to honor and remember your loved one. We do also offer a framing option that includes a secure compartment for the preservation of the remaining ashes.

How is ICONS IN ASH “An Alternative to an Urn?”
ICONS IN ASH memorial portraits can be displayed in the same manner as an urn, with the obvious visual difference, of course, and it can be fitted with a compartment in the back of the shadow-box that can be used for storing the remainder of the ashes.

Do I need an urn in addition to the ICONS IN ASH memorial portrait?
No, the wooden shadow-box can be equipped to contain the remainder of the ashes, but you can, of course, contain those in a separate urn if you choose.

Why should I consider an ICONS IN ASH portrait for my beloved ones?
Everyone who owns a memorial portrait by Heide Hatry has described a profound effect of presence that is “calming,” “soothing,” “consoling” or just “wonderful.” Many, especially when they had been suffering powerful grief, have described it as life-changing, as a way of coming to terms with the fact of death, especially when it came upon them unexpectedly.
Grave-yards and mausoleums stay where they are, while we do not. Especially in a time of global movement, it seems more appropriate to be able to take our beloved with us when we have to move.

Why are ICONS IN ASH portraits different from all other ways of memorializing our beloved ones?
An ICONS IN ASH portrait look as realistic as a photograph of your loved one, even more so, as it has adepth and a texture that photographs cannot achieve, and at the same time, it is your loved one. The effect of that reality is truly indescribable, and will always be true. You are seeing the person you loved in her or his image, and this knowledge never diminishes, effortlessly enriching your relationship to the image and to memory.

How do I go about commissioning an ICONS IN ASH memorial portrait?
Please ask your local funeral home or crematory, or get in touch with us by email (info@iconsinash.com) or by phone (917 932 4999) and we will send you a list of funeral homes and crematories we work with. We also can send you a mailing kit directly.

How do I know what to do when I have received my mailing kit?
The mailing kit contains very simple, detailed, step-by-step instructions. Nothing else is required but a stamp to send it back to New York. Or ask your local funeral home, or crematory to deal with this for you.

How do I know that I will get back the ashes of my loved one?
We use the same careful and conscientious system as crematories: the ashes are marked at any given time with a name tag, from the moment they arrive at our facilities until they are sent back to you. Every precaution has been taken, and every care exerted to insure that no errors are possible.

How much do ICONS IN ASH memorial portraits cost?
Please ask your local funeral home, crematory, or Ubu Gallery for the exact prices, tax and the shipping or delivery costs of the portrait you are interested in.
The price depends on the technique and size:
We offer ICONS IN ASH Mosaic Portraits (MP) in the size of
11 x 14 x 3” for life size portraits, and 5 x 7 x 2” (for a bit more than half of the life size portrait prize.)
A high quality wooden shadow-box, equipped with museum-quality glass is included in the price.
Compared to other artwork, drawings or paintings, mosaic is the most time-consuming and painstaking technique: every single particle of ash is individually placed on a bed of wax substrate that connects with the ashes. Each portrait consists of thousands of particles, and it takes up to 6 weeks to make a single portrait. To commission a painting by a prominent artist costs significantly more, and by the standards of the art-market, our price structure is demonstrably modest, because it is a social art project and not a regular part of the art market.
ICONS IN ASH Cinerary Photo Portraits (CPP) we offer in the size of
11 x 14 x 3” for life size portraits, and 5 x 7 x 2” (for about 2/3rd of the the life size portrait prize.)
In the price included is a wooden shadow-box, equipped with plexi-glass. This technique allows a larger number of ash particles being affixed at the same time, and afterwards the ink of a photograph is transferred onto that surface. Depending on the size this takes up to 2 weeks from ordering to receiving the portrait. 

When and how do I have to pay?
Please ask your local funeral home, crematory, or Ubu Gallery for their preferred pauyment method.

What are the shipping options? 
The portrait will be shipped by USPS. Hand-delivery is free in Manhattan; delivery to any other location will be priced individually, and if hand delivery by plane is required, we will charge air fair, cab or rental car costs, plus $10/hour for the time needed to deliver it, from the point of origin.

How will you guarantee that the portrait isn’t damaged in shipping? 
The Mosaic Portrait, museum glass and frame are wrapped separately and shipped in a custom made crate, with very simple set of step-by-step instructions regarding how to put the artwork into the shadowbox without damaging anything, the Cinerery Photo Portraits are carefully packed in a box with unbreakable plexi glass and ready to be hung on the wall. You can also choose to pick up the portrait in NY or we hand-deliver them to you.  Hand-delivery at great distances might have a significant impact on cost.

How do I decide which photograph I should choose for my ICONS IN ASH memorial portrait?
Please look through your favorite photographs of your loved one and send us several options, ideally as many as five, to info@iconsinash.com, or include them as prints in the memorial kit. The photograph can be an image of your loved one at any age in his or her life – that is completely up to you. We have three requests though: the photograph must be high resolution, the face needs to be fairly prominent on the photograph (it doesn’t help if it is a high resolution photograph but the person in question is somewhere in the background or their face is too small to be magnified into an easily visible image), and if possible the subject’s mouth should be closed. We will discuss the options when we have reviewed the photographs and help you to choose the perfect image from your pre-selection. You can also number the photographs in the order of your preference. Heide Hatry is a very experienced portrait artist and can readily assess what will look beautiful and what might not produce optimal results in a memorial portrait. We will agree upon one image together before beginning with the work and before you are required to pay anything.

How long will a Memorial Portrait last?
Heide Hatry invented the technique in 2008/2009, so it is impossible to say with absolute certainty, but if you imagine a candle that has collected dust when it was burning, those particles never come off, so we assume that the portraits, too, will last forever. Artworks known as encaustics, (for example used for funerary portraits in Egypt and visible in the Metropolitan Museum) which also use a wax-based technique of integrating pigment are completely stable, assuming that reasonable care is taken to keep them away from excessive heat.

How are memorial portraits displayed?
The Mosaic Portraits are presented in deep wooden shadow-boxes, equipped with museum-quality glass. They can be hung on a wall like a painting, rest upright on a table, pedestal, or mantle-piece, in a glass display case in a cemetery, or basically whatever method you prefer. The same is the case for the Cinerary Photo Portraits but they are equipped with plexiglass.

How do I care for my Memorial Portrait? How often should I dust it?
Your memorial portrait is an art work and should be treated like an art work: never hang it in direct sunlight, don’t expose it to moisture, maintain it at normal room temperature, and never remove it from the shadow-box.
It is not terribly fragile or susceptible to damage, but it can collect dust very easily, so it should never be removed from its frame. Naturally, in the event of an accident, it could be restored, though that would involve a lengthy process and additional expense.  If the frame should be damaged, please contact us and we will assist you in best protecting and restoring the structure as needed.
If you need to transport the Mosaic Portrait, we suggest to always keep it laying face up or remove it from the frame and transport it in the way you received it.

How can I donate money for people who would love to have one of the modestly priced Cinerary Photo Portraits, but can't afford it?
Please email us at info@iconsinash.com or call at 917-932-4999 and we will happily discuss possibilities with you.

How do I schedule a time to come to the gallery to see original portraits?
Please email us at info@iconsinash.com, or info@ubu gallery.com, mail your request to Ubu Gallery, 416 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022 or call at 212 753 4444 or 917-932-4999.

How do I find out which funeral home or crematory is offering your portraits?
Please email us at info@iconsinash.com or call at 917-932-4999, and we will send you a list of funeral home we are working with, or ask your local funeral home or crematory to get in touch with us.

How do I request a media interview?
Please email us at info@iconsinash.com or call at 917-932-4999.

Does Icons in Ash have any internship or volunteer opportunities?
Please email us at info@iconsinash.com or call at 917-932-4999.

I have a question that is not answered here, what should I do?
Again, please email us at info@iconsinash.com or call at 917-932-4999.