Creating Portraits Of The Essence

A Word With Guo Artistry’s CEO

Elliot Kwok

“It all started on a typical day as a millennial scrolling down facebook. I happened to come across an artist who caught my eye when I noticed he was ashing cigarette ashes onto a canvas while moving the ashes around with his other hand. As he shifted the camera towards his canvas; to my surprise, he revealed a self portrait. I was astounded and inspired. I went to work at the funeral home the following day with the thought of that video still in mind. As I poured cremated ashes into an urn, preparing someone’s order that “what if” moment hit me. And on that day my idea was born.

Cremation Art Paintings

That following week I approached a good friend of mine about the idea, and as fate would have it, he had ashes of his grandmother that he volunteered for use towards my project. As I ecstatically thanked him he said, (as morbid as this may sound) and I quote “didn’t know what to do with it and it was taking up too much space anyway”.  As a painter for the past 28 years; who used to manage a fine art gallery in alphabet city between 7nth & avenue C, I thought it would be as easy as “add ashes to paint and start painting”.. boy was that far from right.

More Guo Artistry History

My first painting was a catastrophe, thankfully my friend was (oddly) nonchalant about it. The paint started to chip and crack. You see, cremated remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulfur and most carbon are driven off as oxidized gases during the process, although about 1% -4% of carbon remain s as carbonate. In simpler terms the material was not as fine nor adulterated enough to just “mix with paint”.


After approximately three months of trying I figured I really had to study the science behind paint, which involved chemistry; I should note chemistry wasn’t my strong point at the time. One thing i didn’t know was the pigment for paint is both man-made and natural; it is made by crushing minerals into a fine powder-like texture. It is meant to be mixed with water, oil, or another base along with solvents, additives, and resins for the paste needed to create what is known as paint. This was a good finding, chemical engineering was the key.

I decided to enroll in an organic chemistry course called WR Training Petroleum Petrochemical & Chemical Engineering Inc., which in-turn gave me the tools I needed to produce the formulation patent I have today; that took me two years to formulate, but! ultimately allowed me to convert ashes into paint.”

                                                                                                         ~ Elliot Kwok~

“GuoArtistry’s painting of my husband has been able to catch the essence and beauty of all his features. When I saw it, it resignated a feeling in me that was lost when he left me, thank you for such a beautiful piece​ – Digna Morales”

Elliot Kwok’s Background

Elliot Kwok began his career in Funeral Services in his early twenties in the Bronx NY at La Paz Funeral. He then went on to further his education in Art Therapy and Bereavement Counseling and earned his Officially accredited Therapeutic Art L.C. Certification from Transformation Services, Inc. and his (Accredited Oxford Diploma) in Grief & Bereavement Counselling. He is well known in his community for helping hundreds of clients heal, reduce stress, and experience more joy, peace. His goal was to help clients increase their creativity, intuition, or self-expression.  

Using his Therapeutic art education and counseling education he set out to help his clients unlock the power of their subconscious mind, allowing them to release pain, process emotions and find clarity and meaning. Art has been used throughout human history to express the depths of human experience because our minds express through art our feelings on a deeper level than language, and now 

His work in therapeutic art and psychology helps show the reason behind how and why art is such a powerful tool for improving grieving! He taught a variety of therapeutic art processes and exercises helped his clients Improve their self-expression, Uncover and release outdated patterns, Heal past emotional pain, Tune into their intuition, Explore their deepest dreams and desires  His therapeutic art life coaching included powerful ancient art designs for meditation and self-exploration, such as mandalas, as well as modern day artistic approaches for goal setting and manifestation, such as vision boards or dream boards.  
Artist Elliot Kwok facilitated dozens by the dozens (through a 10 year period) of 
one-on-one life coaching clients, group life coaching programs etc.

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