OutOfIdeas

Asking a tattoo artist to tattoo someone else's (non-tattoo) art?

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Would it be unreasonable to ask a tattoo artist to recreate a painting that a friend did, as a tattoo? I could see an artist not wanting to copy someone else's work instead of drawing it themselves, but i also would like to have my friends design as a tattoo, so i was wondering what other people thought of this idea, or if it was something that most people wouldnt do?

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Um well I think that the tattoo artist would be fine with it...but im sure the artist would still probably want to try and tweak it in one way or another just to add his own personal style...but you are the client so I dont see why someone would fight with you unless the design was just really horrible. But who knows?

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If the painting sucks they're not gonna be that stoked. If the painting is rad, then they'd be more into probably. There lots and lots of people who get paintings tattooed on them, like a Van Gough image or something. There's also lots and lots of people who bring in their own or their friends art that they want tattooed on them. Most of the time it's not that great and needs to be redrawn, but there are artists who will do it exactly like you bring it in, if that's what you really want.

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@OutOfIdeas You should ask the person who's going to tattoo it.

I tattoo paintings all the time. Raphael, Durer, DaVinci etc, etc. Every time I do praying hands or the classic Jesus head, it's from a painting or drawing.

If your friend painted a tattoo style image, it will probably need tweaking a bit but you should just have a good tattooer design it for you or choose some flash. If it's a non-tattoo style painting it may need simplifying or tweaking or maybe just tattoo a portion of it to suit the body part you want it on.

If something needs tweaking, it's not usually because I want to add my own personal touch, it's because it won't work as a tattoo.

Like Ursula said, if its a cool painting, it's probably gonna be fun to tattoo but not all good paintings make good tattoos.

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Paintings, illustration and drawings are great for reference and you can reproduce the motif in them just fine. But it gets tricky if you want reproduce the look and feel of other mediums as tattoos. A soft, subtle watercolor or a sketchy charcoal drawing make bad tattoos.

All mediums have a natural look to them. Watercolor, oil painting, charcoal and tattooing. Now, I can force a watercolor painting to look like an oil one, but it wouldn't be in the best interest of either mediums. Same with tattooing. You can reproduce your friends painting but make it look like a tattoo.

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I have quite a few tattoos based off of things I have drawn, but none of them are tattooed exactly the way I drew it. When I'm sure I want one of my own ideas tattooed on me I take in the best drawing I can do, and ask first "will this work on my body where I want it"? If the answer is "Yes", then I just ask for it to be re-drawn so it will fit and be "tattooey".

This has worked for me for on a good number of tattoos now.

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How does your friend feel about you having their art as a tattoo? As an artist, I think I'd at least like a heads up that someone was going to have something I created redone as a tattoo or any other medium.

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your post mentioned a lot of tweaking @Stewart Robson

everyone's different, if i'm busy with custom work i would probably turn that down to concentrate on the stuff i have to draw up, but it also depends on the painting itself and whether the tattooer likes it and thinks can work as a tattoo

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Kev - she wanted to draw up a tattoo for me, its a good painting but im not sure how well it will translate to a tattoo

Im just going to take it in to the artist and ask him, i just didnt know if this was something that tattoo artists generally didnt like, so ill find out from him when i can, thanks for the advice everyone

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There is a guy here in Salt Lake City by the name of Phil Lambert who seems to really enjoy tattooing artwork/illustrations/paintings etc. He is very good at it and stays as true as he can to the original artwork. He is even able to create the appearance of the lumps and textures that an oil painting would have. He is a very nice and quirky dude. I met him a few years ago and a good friend of mine has an entire sleeve, chest and side piece by him. If you are interested in getting some original artwork tattooed, you should check him out.

Philip Lambert Sole Tattoo

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I think Stewart and Stefan pretty much nailed it. I have people come in the shop asking to get others artwork done all the time and I've noticed it just depends on the quality and style of the piece. If it's something that is a tattoo style, the professional your approaching can most likely draw it better than a non professional. If it's got more of a paintery feel to it then it just depends on how it will translate to skin, like they said not all art styles translate well as a tattoo. Also with tattoo style art you have to realize that your tattoo is a representation of that tattoo artist work, so if its a bad drawing the artist will most likely want to redraw it because they don't want you walking around with a friends bad drawing tattooed on them and people thinking that's the quality of work they do. But above all take your artist opinion, that's why you went to them because they are professionals and know what will work and what won't. I can't stand it when I nicely try to explain to someone that the piece of art they want won't work well as a tattoo and they storm out of the shop as though I'm a dick or don't know what I'm talking about.

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As a slightly different question, do you consider it "acceptable" to get a famous artists non-tattoo art made into a tattoo? I found some Banksy art that would work really well for a coverup, but I feel like while it might be rude to get his art tattooed on me without permission, I don't know that's it's possible for me to contact him to ask permission. I've seen plenty of Banksy tattoos before, but that doesn't make it right... I can't see it being a huge deal (the whole point of his art is to create as much attention and stir as possible anyway) but I just didn't want to do something really rude by accident... So I guess would that be rude?

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As a slightly different question, do you consider it "acceptable" to get a famous artists non-tattoo art made into a tattoo? I found some Banksy art that would work really well for a coverup, but I feel like while it might be rude to get his art tattooed on me without permission, I don't know that's it's possible for me to contact him to ask permission. I've seen plenty of Banksy tattoos before, but that doesn't make it right... I can't see it being a huge deal (the whole point of his art is to create as much attention and stir as possible anyway) but I just didn't want to do something really rude by accident... So I guess would that be rude?

I think you'd have a very tough time getting in touch with Banksy...

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And wouldn't having to get permission to use graffiti as a tattoo kinda negate the whole concept of graffing?

Banksy is a huge grey area of what is and what is not 'graf' anyways.

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Banksy is a huge grey area of what is and what is not 'graf' anyways.

Maybe, but if you bomb a wall with something, it's graf, whether you call it art or whatever. IF you get paid to do it, then I suppose it moves into another territory, but it's still out in the public.

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As a writer, I enjoyed that Banksy banter, but...back to others posts regarding the recreation of pre-existing fine art. Not only do I look through books and mags, marveling at the paintings of others, wishing someone would commission me to recreate that piece, but I will sometimes get inspiration from those works for custom designs I create from scratch. People talk about copying, or "bytin'" others artwork, but most ideas have been done before, in one form or another. A positive perspective is using the brilliance of another's creation to inspire your work. You may even be paying homage to the original creator. At least try to put your own spin on things....DON'T JUST BYTE!!! lol.

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I'm in a similar-ish boat as the OP. Except the person who made the piece of art I like is a complete stranger to me - I found it on Behance. I'm not interested in getting an exact replica of her illustration, but the concept and major shape of it is EXACTLY what I've been looking for for the past six months or more. I randomly stumbled across the image on Google and was like YES!, haha.

I would like to show it to my tattoo artist and ask him what he can do with it. But for now I have emailed the author of the illustration and told her that I love the piece and would like to incorporate it into a tattoo for myself, and how does she feel about that? We'll see if she replies to me.

I feel like getting tattoos would be easier if I could draw, ha!

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As an artist/illustrator, I've had people ask me if they can get my work tattooed on them, and I usually say it's okay. I have had people not ask me though, and i've somehow stumbled upon a photo of a tattoo of my original work without my consent. The way I look at it, is a tattoo artist should be okay with tattooing someone else's work so long as the client has the permission from the original artist. Of course, there are exceptions, like artists that have passed on or artists that are very popular and difficult to get a hold of. It's not really a black and white issue. All I know is I feel pretty ripped off when someone copies my work.

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The only tattoo I have at the moment is some old art, though it isn't entirely faithful to the original drawing. It was a reassuring choice for a first tattoo, my logic being that if it was still worth looking at 100 years after its creation, it was OK to put on my body (which is probably why a lot of people choose old art for tattoos), and it's really not well-known unless you're digging around in the Charles Rennie Mackintosh archives, but I don't think I'll go that route again - I think I would want to use art references a bit less literally.

Just read an unfortunate essay by a young lady wanted to get a tattoo of an illustration by [famous tattoo artist] and claimed to have found the ideal person to do it. Guess who it wasn't.

A lot of this stuff wouldn't have been obvious to me prior to joining this board, either. It's frightening how little information reaches so many people who are getting tattooed...

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It's not really a black and white issue. All I know is I feel pretty ripped off when someone copies my work.

Just out of curiosity--and I'm not being confrontational with this question or trying to dismiss your feelings--how exactly do you feel ripped off? I could see if someone was passing off a design/selling it as one of their own, but if someone gets that image tattooed on them, I don't really see it as the creator of said image being ripped off. I do understand that the tattoo artist is charging the person to tattoo that image on them, but they're charging the person for the work being done on them, not for the image itself. Now if a tattoo artist had someone else's design up on a wall w/o consent and was trying to pass it off as their own, then yeah, I could see where the feeling of being ripped off comes into play...but if an average Joe walks into a shop wanting to get an image tattooed on them, I don't really see it as ripping the artist off.

Now if the image is copyrighted and the tattoo artist still tattoos the image, then I completely understand where feeling ripped off comes into play...but if there is no copyright attached to a piece of work, there's really no way to enforce it.

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