Diehardonvhs

Artists who copy tattoos/styles

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I just received this yesterday here on the forum.

Screenshot_2013-06-19-22-33-20.png

I think lack of education on the customers part is a massive part of the problem. Some tattooers only see dollar signs, seems like even when called out they often couldn't care less. If some potential internet shopper clients see this thread and see the error of their ways it might make a difference. But honestly I've given up caring, if I got upset every time I saw something a friend or I did ripped off I'd never have any energy.

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I had to look at your gallery for the Game of Thrones piece, and holy shit is that awesome. What I don't get from my perspective as a customer is why someone would ask for your original artwork to copy? A wolf with a banner that says "Winter Is Coming" has been done many times since the first book came out and many more times since the show came on and is of such a basic premise that any good artist can take it and make it their own. Why do something that someone else got as a custom piece when you can get your own custom piece for the same price since you aren't being charged for the drawing time?

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I just received this yesterday here on the forum.

Screenshot_2013-06-19-22-33-20.png

But honestly I've given up caring, if I got upset every time I saw something a friend or I did ripped off I'd never have any energy.

And there lies a piece of my point

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no carez. no everz.

but seriously. and only because it's late. sure, don't rip a tattoo. it's bad form. but, ideas are ideas are ideas and nothing is new or original.

sorry, girl heads that you draw look like the girl heads that chris conn draws that look like girl heads that mucha drew.

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To much of the tattoo is in the execution. No two renderings, no matter how exactly copied will ever look totally the same. This is not like photocopying someones artwork and printing it for sale or selling bootleg CD's of someones music. Each tattoo is still individually applied by hand, millimeter by millimeter.

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I had to look at your gallery for the Game of Thrones piece, and holy shit is that awesome. What I don't get from my perspective as a customer is why someone would ask for your original artwork to copy? A wolf with a banner that says "Winter Is Coming" has been done many times since the first book came out and many more times since the show came on and is of such a basic premise that any good artist can take it and make it their own. Why do something that someone else got as a custom piece when you can get your own custom piece for the same price since you aren't being charged for the drawing time?

That's what I mean by education. It's obvious to you and I but a lot of people don't understand that. They see something they like on the internet, decided it's perfect and the idea of letting someone change it is scary since they haven't seen the finished product. Enter lazy/freedom tattooer, and there's another rip off on instagram.

And William, it's the art being questioned not the tattooing itself. 9 times out of ten the ripped tattoo is poorly applied or even scratcher bad which is part of the reason I'm past caring ha.

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That's what I mean by education. It's obvious to you and I but a lot of people don't understand that. They see something they like on the internet, decided it's perfect and the idea of letting someone change it is scary since they haven't seen the finished product. Enter lazy/freedom tattooer, and there's another rip off on instagram.

And William, it's the art being questioned not the tattooing itself. 9 times out of ten the ripped tattoo is poorly applied or even scratcher bad which is part of the reason I'm past caring ha.

I know this stuff happens all the time, but it's such a bummer to see it happen here since there is so much good information here...though only if you're willing to take it and learn from it. And I'd also guess this is one of the reasons why fewer and fewer tattooers post here.

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And William, it's the art being questioned not the tattooing itself. 9 times out of ten the ripped tattoo is poorly applied or even scratcher bad which is part of the reason I'm past caring ha.

Its all about execution for me...I would rather see a well done copy than a poorly done "100% all original custom art".

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That's what I mean by education. It's obvious to you and I but a lot of people don't understand that. They see something they like on the internet, decided it's perfect and the idea of letting someone change it is scary since they haven't seen the finished product. Enter lazy/freedom tattooer, and there's another rip off on instagram.

And William, it's the art being questioned not the tattooing itself. 9 times out of ten the ripped tattoo is poorly applied or even scratcher bad which is part of the reason I'm past caring ha.

Yeah, I guess I already knew the answer is customer education. Some people might not understand that the drawing and design time isn't going to cost extra and if you are going to someone good then you can get something awesome that is all your own (until you post it on the internet and someone traces it). And in his or her defense that's the best direwolf/"Winter Is Coming" combo I've seen so far so I understand seeing and it and saying "I want that on me" and wishing that it was flash.

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In my opinion I think we as non-tattooers really don't have all to much to say in this area. While yes we are getting the tattoos, all the backend stuff like references, inspiration, etc are not understood by us. We just don't do it. I treat it like people treat me at my job in computers. They don't ask me how I did everything, they just expect some magic and a positive outcome.

Also since I like to stick to classic imagery I know that my tattoos will end up looking pretty damn close to a million other tattoos. I mean really how many skull+snake tattoos do you think have been done before mine, and how many will be done after. While sure I might be a bit bummed out if I saw an exact replica of mine on someone else, whatever, I still got mine!

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Slight variant on the tattoos done after the original... found this guy while looking at various sukajyan tonight. The Gomineko Books Instagram has had too many for me not to be interested... mind you, they didn't post this one. The article it was listed in mentioned that it would look at home in Shige's sketchbook, so it's not just me.

Sukajyan-15.jpg

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I was looking at the work of a local tattooer recently & was impressed until I got to a picture of Amanda Wachob-style multicolored brushstrokes on the shoulders. While it wasn't a line-for-line copy of any of her tattoos, it made me uncomfortable - not to mention that it seems like a poor idea to imitate the signature style of one of the most visible artists around at the moment, since you'll probably come up short. Just wondering what you all might have to say about this type of copying.

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Oddly enough, the second one down seems to be applied pretty well.... Leading me to believe the Tattooer CAN produce solid work. I can't imagine the reasoning behind such an ambitious copy, when I'd be in this case he could've designed an original.

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I'd like to chip in from the point of view of East Asian art. The way this art has been and is handled has a certain importance here, since a big part of tattooing is strongly influenced by it.

Someone noted that many copies come from China and/or Korea. That is correct. It would be however very ignorant to immediately dismiss this as lack of creativity or thievery.

Traditionally, copying of masterpieces in East Asian art is not just flattery. It's the most important exercise for a student. There is a massive amount of EA art for which it is impossible to determine the author with absolute certainty, just because of how furiously students would immediately start reproducing it, over and over, often creating nigh-perfect copies of the original masterpiece. Every line, every dot, every detail. The original creators' glory would not only remain intact, but be exalted by this. This form of copy is done openly and honestly. Only after many years of copying, slowly, a practitioner of art would come to develop his own style.

Ed Hardy and a Chinese guy who is doing my sleeve discussed exactly this in an interview in the last TCM.

I think this applies, to a certain degree, to all art forms, Eastern or Western, just not to the same degree.

For me the question would be: Is Shige in any way harmed, if a tattoo is copied and people know it's Shige's?

Who is, actually, in any way harmed, if a great tattoo is copied? Someone's individuality or personality? Should we give tattoos that kind of importance? Should we give any thing that kind of importance? The ability to say "I am the only one who has this", is not just determined by positioning of pigments, but by the moment in time and the persons involved and the words said and the hours spent on it. That makes a tattoo unique, for me.

If I see someone with my exact same tattoo because he saw it on a website, I personally wouldn't care. I might even be flattered, hell, I'm not above pride. On one condition: honesty.

I might get tattooed by a Chinese guy who does amazing copies of Shige, and I have absolutely no problem with that, for the simple fact that the second he shows you that tattoo, he say's "This is a Shige design". Yes, it's from Shige, but now it's also his, through his hand and his eye, and it's also the first person's who got that kind of tattoo. And then it's also mine. Art just does that and I like to see it as a continuous, conscious and honest line of interpretations of subjects.

I don't care if it's a painting on silk or a tattoo on skin that is copied, there's no difference. It's a tribute to a masterpiece and the acknowledgement of beauty.

As long as there's honesty.

If you acknowledge your master, you're a student, if you don't...well, I guess then, and only then, you are a thief.

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I'd like to chip in from the point of view of East Asian art. The way this art has been and is handled has a certain importance here, since a big part of tattooing is strongly influenced by it.

Someone noted that many copies come from China and/or Korea. That is correct. It would be however very ignorant to immediately dismiss this as lack of creativity or thievery.

Traditionally, copying of masterpieces in East Asian art is not just flattery. It's the most important exercise for a student. There is a massive amount of EA art for which it is impossible to determine the author with absolute certainty, just because of how furiously students would immediately start reproducing it, over and over, often creating nigh-perfect copies of the original masterpiece. Every line, every dot, every detail. The original creators' glory would not only remain intact, but be exalted by this. This form of copy is done openly and honestly. Only after many years of copying, slowly, a practitioner of art would come to develop his own style.

Ed Hardy and a Chinese guy who is doing my sleeve discussed exactly this in an interview in the last TCM.

I think this applies, to a certain degree, to all art forms, Eastern or Western, just not to the same degree.

For me the question would be: Is Shige in any way harmed, if a tattoo is copied and people know it's Shige's?

Who is, actually, in any way harmed, if a great tattoo is copied? Someone's individuality or personality? Should we give tattoos that kind of importance? Should we give any thing that kind of importance? The ability to say "I am the only one who has this", is not just determined by positioning of pigments, but by the moment in time and the persons involved and the words said and the hours spent on it. That makes a tattoo unique, for me.

If I see someone with my exact same tattoo because he saw it on a website, I personally wouldn't care. I might even be flattered, hell, I'm not above pride. On one condition: honesty.

I might get tattooed by a Chinese guy who does amazing copies of Shige, and I have absolutely no problem with that, for the simple fact that the second he shows you that tattoo, he say's "This is a Shige design". Yes, it's from Shige, but now it's also his, through his hand and his eye, and it's also the first person's who got that kind of tattoo. And then it's also mine. Art just does that and I like to see it as a continuous, conscious and honest line of interpretations of subjects.

I don't care if it's a painting on silk or a tattoo on skin that is copied, there's no difference. It's a tribute to a masterpiece and the acknowledgement of beauty.

As long as there's honesty.

If you acknowledge your master, you're a student, if you don't...well, I guess then, and only then, you are a thief.

Not to completely undermine your totally valid point, but you cannot discard a copied tattoo if you decide that it is not of the quality that you expect. To me, that is a crucial difference. Also, that level of honesty is absolutely not practiced to that degree in the western world.

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Not to completely undermine your totally valid point, but you cannot discard a copied tattoo if you decide that it is not of the quality that you expect. To me, that is a crucial difference. Also, that level of honesty is absolutely not practiced to that degree in the western world.

Yes, I'm sure reality is not as romantic as it might sound in principle. Regarding Asian tattoo artists, I can only speak for the ones I've known, too... I'm just a little surprised by how easily names are thrown in this thread and would like to think that copying doesn't equal being a "leech" immediately.

As to being unable to discarding an unsatisfactory copy, not sure I understand you correctly but well, I guess you need to trust your artist's portfolio and abilities before asking for a copy (which I personally wouldn't do, on a side note, I just don't see any harm in people asking for copies and artists delivering them). After all, it's also tough to discard a custom design or flash, that doesn't meet your expectations, once it's in your skin.

It might bum you out even more if it's a copy though!

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Not to completely undermine your totally valid point, but you cannot discard a copied tattoo if you decide that it is not of the quality that you expect. To me, that is a crucial difference. Also, that level of honesty is absolutely not practiced to that degree in the western world.

I'm going to elaborate on this from the report @Lance gave of Shige's seminar from this year's SFO convention:

For about 3 hours he discussed the practice he goes through developing each of his back pieces. Starting with a day long consult with his clients to make sure they get the tattoo they want and to make sure he and they are all on the same page. He explained 1 day may seem extreme for a consult, but given the size, the fact they will be together for long periods for the tattoo, and the tattoo will be a part of the Client forever, giving them a day for a consult was most responsible. In one of the back pieces he showed us, he explained the Client originally wanted one design motif but he convinced him to go another route. In that particular case it was a friend with a family, and who owned a nail salon. The Client was originally interested in a hell scene but Shige asked him if he really wanted that type of scene given his new family and his life making people feel more attractive. The Client realized then that something else was more appropriate and together they arrived at a design incorporating a Buddhist diety. I thought this was cool because it showed his commitment to his Clients and their happiness.

He also noted that each back piece is designed specifically for each individual's body. No design can truly be swapped out for another person because he designs in full scale, and for the bearer's shape. Rather than drawing a sketch and enlarging it, he'll draw life size designs. I thought this was an interesting approach and allowed him to fit as much detail as possible into a design. This explains a lot from what I've seen of his work where for example the arc of a sword scabbard perfectly follows the curve of someone's lats.

So based on that I'm going to say that doing straight copies of Shige's tattoos is garbage and that even if the copy is technically well done it's soulless and completely misses the essence of the tattoo.

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I'm going to elaborate on this from the report @Lance gave of Shige's seminar from this year's SFO convention:

So based on that I'm going to say that doing straight copies of Shige's tattoos is garbage and that even if the copy is technically well done it's soulless and completely misses the essence of the tattoo.

At the risk of giving this thread more attention, I wanted to pop in and say that you post is 100% correct.

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Yes, I'm sure reality is not as romantic as it might sound in principle. Regarding Asian tattoo artists, I can only speak for the ones I've known, too... I'm just a little surprised by how easily names are thrown in this thread and would like to think that copying doesn't equal being a "leech" immediately.

Just wanted to agree with this. I wasn't sure of my own feelings regarding the earlier post I'd made and was interested in a more experienced point of view (though nobody seems to want to take me up on that). It seemed like a grey area to me. Do you somehow have more ownership of brushstrokes than another tattooer, if that's a style you've become famous for?

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@WideOcean 's post gave me pause for thought, although I'm not sure I can agree with it. I do think there is a cultural element to it, but if it were really a compliment or a process of a student paying homage then that doesn't fully explain why so much money is also changing hands. These are not just sketches or a learner's portfolio- it's business.

Could something that factors in be that in some Asian countries copies (counterfeits) are big business, and are not necessarily seen as problematic. Think all those Louis Vuittons... Even a whole fake Apple store in China. This could explain why there is a market for these kinds of tattoos- the customers may not care that they are copies... If they're good copies.

Something else that occurs is that there are some Taiwanese and Chinese studios doing their own house styles that are awesome, let's remember that. I love Yang, Ching and Hua from East Tattoo... Some of the big name Chinese guys too. You can see in the likes of East Tattoo's work the Shige influence in some ways (though less so nowadays probably), but then again he has visited them and tattooed them, so there's a direct tie. But they also lay their stuff out very differently these days, and they use Taiwanese subject matter more and more.

Shige and Tomo have talked of 'Chinese style' tattooing and Horiyoshi 3 spoke about the future of Asian tattooing as being a fusion of Japanese, Chinese and Western influences. This suggests there are already distinct styles in different Asian countries: Not everyone is just aping the Japanese anymore. Which is why, on balance, I am disinclined to give the big copies the benefit of the doubt. Despite cultural divides and differences in mindset, I think it's probably mostly what it looks like.

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but if it were really a compliment or a process of a student paying homage then that doesn't fully explain why so much money is also changing hands. These are not just sketches or a learner's portfolio- it's business.

This is very true. Hell, maybe I'm wrong, I don't know.

I'm just thinking that I would indeed very much like to give that benefit of doubt you mention. Maybe there's a tattoo artist who loves a piece and would love to honestly and openly reproduce it on skin, for its techical intricacies or the challenge or whatever reason. If he has the chance I don't think he should do it for free. Or he just gets a customer who is adamant on getting a copy. I can't see much harm in getting paid for it, in the same way Shige probably got soundly paid for that Buddhist deity he designed to be auspicious or somehow spiritually connected to a nail salon (I'd be curious to know which one, btw).

I'm not glorifying copies and I recognize there's a difference between a custom tattoo and a copy. But it's just a another reason for people to get tattooed. How many of us white guys get amazing custom Buddhist stuff without even knowing the slightest about it except "It's like... being detached from desire and angry at demons"

I just think there might very well be dignity to it, as long as you don't market them as your own. A lot of tattoo artists need to worry about fucking bills, too, I guess.

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You're certainly free not to take her seriously, but I'm still interested in the question of whether or not this is copying. Anyway, I think the notion of someone else doing her style of tattooing is, at least, stupid, since I imagine part of the appeal for people who have her tattoos is the name/fame...

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