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Artist Bio

"Remembrance begets Transcendance."

Bringing awareness to grief and the potential it has to shape growth, personal expansion and compassion.

Ian and the art piece are available for interviews, keynote presentations and gallery residencies.

The Story of The Ash Rose

Artist and grief counselor Ian McCartor uses art to help individuals cope with the loss of loved ones. Integrating cremation ashes into custom artwork, he provides a thoughtful way for clients to remember and honor those they have lost.

Ian has worked for years as a bedside hospice nurse, developing a philosophical kinship with a number of his patients before they took their last breath. On many occasions, he and his end of life patients would talk about their final insights of life - their legacies. Stories of retrospect and wisdom. Joy and pain. Regret and victory. These experiences are what sparked a greater meaning and conviction in this artist's craft. The questions were finally answered:

"Why create?"

"What is there to say?" 

While providing his unique service of "Ash Portraits", several of Ian's clients have offered up a portion of their loved one's ashes for him to incorporate into an art medium unlike any before - so that any subject would hold a most precious remembrance and reverent context.

Ian has held the hands of many people in their last moments and reflects on how mortality is our common destiny. We are all equal, human and family in this regard - we all will die someday. This awareness has a life changing effect when approached with compassion, equanimity and surrendered acceptance. 

In a world that is surging forward with technology and advances in efficiency, ease and "hands off" sterile processes, his work remains tangible, with disregard for haste.

Unflinching and respectfully raw.

It's about simplifying an inevitable that has the potential to frighten and overwhelm. The unknown can scare us - or - lead us to be curious and full of wonder. Working in hospice, he has seen both of these perspectives and believes that though we cannot predict death or our reactions to it  - we can practice to meet it as it is. Surrender openly, with deep love and a desire to give.

Like the process of creating art.

In working with bereavement as an artist and grief counselor, he has witnessed many beautiful transformations in people who have been so brave as to come forward and embrace support. Healing takes work, both internally and externally.

There is a shaping potentiality waiting within the ashes of loss and this art form celebrates a message with the viewer.


Ian's last year of working in hospice was through the pandemic of 2020. Isolation was the more insidious killer, and continues to be for those that suffer without the hope of reconnection. This art is a celebration of the people we have loved and they will never be forgotten. It's not only a way to heal but an opportunity to reach out others who are in dire need of closure and peace.

As a steward of these precious and powerful ashes, Ian is an ambassador of hope to welcome others to trust the journey, reach out for help, and discover what is waiting to bloom within themselves.

The singular piece he has created for exhibition, "The Ash Rose" holds many layers of these insights as a pinnacle art piece.


Ian and the art piece are available for interviews, keynote presentations and gallery residencies.

"The Ash Rose" is not for sale.

The Ash Rose

Cremation Ash and Charcoal - 9x24in

Concrete Wall
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