I know that whenever a tattoo gets published either in print or online, there is a chance that it is going to be copied. I understand this. Still, it is frustrating to see work that was custom made for one individual placed on another.
This is a tattoo that I did many years ago. I have had innumerable inquiries from people looking to have the same tattoo done or asking me if they can buy the stencil. I have consistently refused since the tattoo was done to very exact specifications for the client. Today this tattoo was brought to my attention:
I don’t even know how I am supposed to feel about it. I know that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – but come on. The hanged men represented something really specific to the guy wearing the original tattoo – the people who I have personally talked to about copying it just thought they looked cool. I wonder if this person even wondered what they were there to represent?
Most of the time when someone steals a tattoo the saving grace that we have is that they are a hack. Normally it is only new artists or artists with no scruples who copy other artists work. This one was actually pretty well done.
Is the economy that bad that we are reduced to stealing one another’s custom work? Or did the other artist not realize this was a custom tattoo? I guess these are questions that I will never know the answers to.
When I have some time I will gather together some copies of some of my more stolen tattoos to accompany this one.
This one I did some time in the early to mid nineties. It has been duplicated so many times that I am convinced that it has to be on a flash sheet somewhere.
And this one which I have seen done several times more recently.
Another update. December 2011. Apparently for some “artists” taking someone elses custom tattoo and duplicating it on your client is just TOO much work. So this guy didn’t bother. He just took my photo and posted it in his portfolio as an “in progress” custom piece.
Facebook made him take it down so I have blocked out his name.