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Art after life

By Athena Davis

In his Hillcrest studio, Daniel Ortega is constructing an ossuary—otherwise known as a resting place for the bones of the dead. “This is going to be my first time doing an ossuary, with a little window right here,” Ortega says, pointing to a two-inch dip on the lower edge of a canvas he’s sculpting that, indeed, is filled with tiny bones. The bones in Ortega’s ossuary are generic animal bones, but the sculpted canvas they’re resting in is partly composed of the ashes of Ortega’s deceased cat, Dillion. While Ortega proudly notes that Dillion’s is “the first PetStone in the family,” PetStone—the official title for Ortega’s brand of cremation artwork—has been helping other pet owners cope for nearly a decade. “I’m kind of a mystical junkie,” he says, as he flits from piece to piece, pointing out Chinese characters and arrows, pulling books full of ancient imagery out of a packed bookcase. Dillion’s piece, titled “Breakthrough,” was inspired by a double triangle symbol used for Viking divination.

Read the original article at: San Diego City Beat

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