Some time back the artist I go to for most of my work posted to his Instagram a piece he did that involved a particular image that I was immediately attracted to but, more importantly, the tattoo was placed in a way I'd not seen before. It was a tradition piece going from ankle to waist. At that moment, my brain said, "ooh! I want an ankle to hip piece just like that!" It was an eagle fighting a snake.
But I can't shake the feeling that if I get the same concept with the same placement, I'd be somehow stealing. It's a strange notion, since american traditional is based around a core canon of images, and there's only so many places to put a tattoo, so I can't think of many other instances where one could be accused of ripping something off. As long as the design incorporates its own spin on it, who cares?
But it's something about the fact that I've never seen that placement before, and it would so obviously be taken from this particular tattoo, rather than a general "eagle vs snake on this general part of the body".
I love love love this artist's eagles. I already have one. And there are few other creatures that would fit this placement. A dragon is the only other one I can think of, but I'm not crazy about dragons and the way the typical dimensions of dragon faces tell me that it would be harder to get as much detail down on that part of the body than it would a snake.
But is doing an eagle vs. a snake on that part of the body, even if the design is different, a legitimate concern, or am I driving myself crazy over nothing?
It's funny, because I've actually been in the position of having my tattoo "inspire" a rash of others like it, and I had no issue. This was a very common image though (tiger head with a snake in its mouth), but I guess people really dug the way this artist pulled it off and wanted their own and within a month four or five others popped up on his instagram page. I didn't mind and they were different colours, sometimes even different animals, but I can't help but this my situation now is a bit different.