Diehardonvhs

Artists who copy tattoos/styles

Recommended Posts

This backpiece by Shige, Yellowblaze, is one of my favourite tattoos. I loved it the second I saw it, the scale of the design, the placement, the execution, its all fantastic. However it seems like many other people also loved this design and wished they had it, but instead of taking reference from it, creating something new, adapting the design, they just copied it, line for line.

2zxo0ts.jpg

4jku9d.jpg

25ji1wg.jpg

This isn't the only tattoo I have seen copied line for line - I am sure it happens all the time. I KNOW it happens all the time. I also saw it happen to a member here who had a beautiful dragon done by Shige, his tattoo was copied by a Korean artist called Gen. Every time I see it happen it makes me disillusioned - I have met artists who are genuinely proud to reproduce other peoples work, and see no problem with it. They say "If its on the internet, its fair game". I HATE that kind of attitude. It hasn't happened to any of my tattoos, but I know it would make me angry.

Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery, or is this unforgivable plagiarism?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"If it's on the internet, it's fair game," is such a bullshit cop out imho.

You do pose a tough question though. The art of tattoo has always had copying and repetition. All the classic designs have been done to death and occaissionally been reinvented by the more brilliant and forward thinking artists. But, we're talking standard flash here and not original works of art based on japanese tradition.

To me, the examples sited above equal "unforgivable plagerism". No matter how taken I was with a design of this nature, I could not in good conscience wear it as my own without making significant changes and an artist that would take credit for it is....well.....I'll leave it at that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's straight up plagiarism for sure. The only time I guuuueeess it's "ok" is if the client is dead set on wanting it... Even then if I were a tattoo artist I would try everything to convince them to go a more original route..

What kind of respect do they even have for themselves as artists if they do things this way...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is an interesting topic with a lot of grey area. As a tattooer, it's pretty disheartening and insulting when someone blatantly rips off your work. As a client, well.. I was talking to Mr. Campise about not putting my piece online as to skate around the biters and he laid it out pretty simply. Nobody is ever going to do the original justice, and it's pretty much just free(albeit really obnoxious) advertising. Nothing can ever outshine true authenticity, and whoever ends up with the copy ends up walking around with a permanent bummer. So that's kind of where I sit on that matter... It sucks, it's inevitably going to happen, don't do it if you tattoo, and don't get down on it as a client.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A friend of mine who's got some decent tattoos told me straight out that the artist he goes to is super lazy and doesn't like to draw his own stuff out. If he had an appointment, he was told to show up early and described what he liked and the artist would search around the internet, present him with a couple of options that the artist found and then basically copy it out and tattoo it. The work is good but guess it left me kinda of puzzled as much as @Diehardonvhs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A friend of mine who's got some decent tattoos told me straight out that the artist he goes to is super lazy and doesn't like to draw his own stuff out. If he had an appointment, he was told to show up early and described what he liked and the artist would search around the internet, present him with a couple of options that the artist found and then basically copy it out and tattoo it. The work is good but guess it left me kinda of puzzled as much as @Diehardonvhs

what confuses the beans out of me is why your friend keeps going to the same person knowing that he's getting copies every time???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is funny that the 3rd picture even copied those two dark spirals on the shoulders that look like the might have been existing work that Shige had to work around. (please correct me if I'm wrong)

No I think you are absolutely right! Its also hilarious when artists copy photos of tattoos that are distorted due to the curve of the body, but they copy it straight, distortion and all. It looks absolutely ridiculous.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
what confuses the beans out of me is why your friend keeps going to the same person knowing that he's getting copies every time???

Cheaper hourly rates when I questioned him and he's satisfied with the work. Go figure...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think Kahlan raises an interesting point. My opinion is, reproducing work of classical artists that were never intended to be tattoos is kinda cool. There is no mistaking the work of a Dali or a Giger. No one could ever wrongly take credit for it. I think Giger's style has certainly been "quoted", if you will, by many a tattooer and perhaps to the point of plagerism or insult depending on the quality.

Then there is someone like Sailor Jerry. Obviously one of the most important people in tattoo history whose work is something of a standard in modern tattooing. His designs have been copied millions of times and even indirectly, plenty of designs can be traced back to him.

How does he fit into this discussion?

I suppose, in his case, we are again talking more about flash than original designs meant for one person. I'd still be interested in hearing people's take on that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The third version posted in the OP just looks so muddled and boring, especially compared to the original.

As far as the Sailor Jerry argument goes, I've heard it said (forget where...) that the biggest reason Jerry's flash is so highly regarded is that it survived. Not to belittle his work at all, I do believe he was a real innovator, but there was similar stuff happening at the time (and earlier, see Cap Coleman) and his legacy is largely based on the fact that we still have a lot of his originals to credit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
It is funny that the 3rd picture even copied those two dark spirals on the shoulders that look like the might have been existing work that Shige had to work around. (please correct me if I'm wrong)

I do believe those are called Borneo Roses. And yeah, those were definitely already there on the OG Shige.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unbelievable. I wonder how many more copies there are out there? I have seen a lot of large hannya mask backpieces recently that take obvious reference from the original, but they change it up, they are completely redrawn and redesigned, they use different elements and ideas. There are people who would say it is wrong to even use someone else's idea (In this case, a large hannya mask), but I disagree, you can always take a concept and try and change and improve it, that's how tattooing grows, artists who just trace aren't helping anything!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is exactly why Grime told me to keep my back piece off the internet. I'm glad I listened to him.

Copying flash is nothing like copying a totally custom piece made specifically for the client. You just can't compare the 2.

I commented on that 3re pictures instagram and asked if he was proud that he completely copied another persons tattoo. We'll see what he says...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This is exactly why Grime told me to keep my back piece off the internet. I'm glad I listened to him.

Copying flash is nothing like copying a totally custom piece made specifically for the client. You just can't compare the 2.

I commented on that 3re pictures instagram and asked if he was proud that he completely copied another persons tattoo. We'll see what he says...

looks like your comment was deleted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LOL, I was at a truck stop on my way home after work and picked up a random tattoo magazine to flip through, and guess what? I spotted ANOTHER rip-off of the Shige tattoo! This one was from Italy! The cherry blossoms had been changed to small peonies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LOL, I was at a truck stop on my way home after work and picked up a random tattoo magazine to flip through, and guess what? I spotted ANOTHER rip-off of the Shige tattoo! This one was from Italy! The cherry blossoms had been changed to small peonies.

Is there any way you could put up a photo of it? I would love to collect as many imitations of this tattoo as I can! Cheers!

By the way, I am always shocked when magazines publish rip-off tattoos - I guess there's no way to tell which is original and which is fake with the amount of photos they get sent...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"If it's on the internet, it's fair game," is such a bullshit cop out imho...

Absolutely. Accessibility and ease is no excuse for a lack of integrity. There's lots of literature available online too. That doesn't mean it's not plagiarized if you rewrite it in your own handwriting and change the name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recent Posts

    • check this out,I love going to conventions,mingle,look,learn.You should go to it.maybe you could get some ideas and find an artist that you like,
    • I'm busy healing my new little addition, I got it on my arm and between the easy spot and the tebori the experience was the easiest to date.  I got a Daruma doll which was one of the two things I originally set out to get anyways, I have some rock climbing goals to reach and if I do I'll get the eye blacked in during the Jacksonville Imperial Arts fest.  Pics in a few days once the eye calms down.  
    • Agree with @Oiocha.  Let it heal and then see where you're at with it. I don't think moving your wrist is going to make it any worse. I recently started working on my first larger scale tattoo and I've definitely been down the over-analyze, stare at it all night path with it. It can drive you crazy especially if you're prone to being a perfectionist. Accepting imperfections is part of the process as I'm slowly learning. As a wise man once said in another thread, "my tattoos are as perfect as I am".  Credit for that goes to @JAC1961
  • Last Sparrow Tattoo Sponsors

  • Instagram #LastSparrow

  • Recent Topics