You were born an original – stay that way

January 8, 2017

Originality. It’s a funny thing.

A quick google search brings up so many quotations:

“All good things that exist are the fruits of originality”

“Originality is a by-product of sincerity”

“It is better to fail at originality, than to succeed at imitation”

And it’s that last one that sticks out to me most.

This blog started out life as a tattoo blog, and tattoos remain to this day, one of my biggest passions. The art as a whole took a bit of a sideline last year due to being pregnant for half the year, and being a new mum for the remainder, but I will be focusing more content to tattooing this year, starting with a bit of a rant. 

I’ve previously talked about tattoos and originality in this post about copying tattoos back in 2015, but I want to do a little revisit. 

I recently saw yet another tattooist having to call out another on stolen artwork just a day into 2017! To be honest, it makes my blood boil. Imitation is NOT a form of flattery. Whether it’s written word, a photograph, an oil painting or a tattoo.

Yes an awful lot of the responsibility of not copying another persons work, should stand with the artist/writer/photographer/tattooist, but the customer can also help with this. 

As a blogger, I’ve seen far too many times on twitter, creatives complaining that their work has been ripped off by another, which isn’t right. And it’s seen just as many times for tattoo artists. 

When it comes to tattoos, it is quite often the case that a custom piece is likely to have some sort of significance to its recipient. At the end of the day, they’ve commissioned a piece of work to be marked permanently (practically) on their body. A high percentage of people take that pretty seriously. Every artist that I’ve met or spoken to, takes an enormous amount of pride and hard work into their work, creating a piece that is to be loved by its new owner for the rest of their life (with a bit of luck anyway). To see that copied, line for line by another artist for their client, is pretty much disgraceful. There just isn’t an excuse for it. Tattooists, and creatives in general, should know better. We all know how much work and effort we each put in to our own creative outlets, so why would any self respecting individual steal from another? 

I do get it. Sometimes you see a tattoo in Instagram, and you’re like “holy hell, that is beautiful, why on earth is that not on me? I’m so jealous it’s perfect for me”… blah blah etc. I’ve been there. I’ve definitely seen some beautiful pieces that I desperately wish were on my arms/legs/torso/butt, however, they’re not, nor will they ever be. 

Part of what makes tattoos so great is that they’re so unique and hopefully one of a kind. They tell a story about you. 

Good tattooists will not copy someone else’s work. Full stop. Each tattoo should want to put their stamp on it, and why not, you chose them for their style and skill set.

I guess the point of this rant is just to educate. If you wouldn’t want to see someone else walking around with your tattoo, extend the same courtesy to others. 

Of course there is absolutely no harm in taking an existing tattoo to a tattooist and asking them to create their own version of it for you. That’s called inspiration! 

Have you had a tattoo copied? 

17 responses to “You were born an original – stay that way”

  1. Emily-May Spake says:

    I think I'd absolutely hate it if I went through with getting a tattoo then saw the same on someone else!

  2. Jane says:

    I would be furious if someone copied one of my tattoos! Also, I enjoy working with the artist to come up with a design for my concept as I only choose tattooists whose style stands out to me and each of my tattoos has a meaning – someone lifting that would just lose it all! ��

  3. Perla Q. says:

    I was not aware of the fact that a tattoo could be copied line by line by another tattoo maker. Never had a tattoo (so far). I guess that must be very annoying.

  4. Ivana Jeknić says:

    Nice post, i love to make and creat so copying is not on my list..xox

  5. Jasmin N says:

    I've planned all my tattoos by myself, with a little details so they're hard to copy. That's how I know I've got the "original" one 😀 although, it wouldn't bother me if someone else had the same tattoo.

  6. Meghan Sara says:

    I have a pretty simple design across my chest: five red roses. Someone probably has the same tattoo as me, I don't know. I just found an artist whose floral work and traditional style I liked, and told her what I wanted and this is what she came up with. It would probably be weird to meet someone with the exact same tattoo by coincidence, red roses are not the most "original" thing in the tattooing world, honestly. But if someone took a picture in and tried to get an exact replica of my tattoo, I'd probably be pretty angry. I have had people say they love the way mine looks and want to get something similar (but in different colors or with added elements) and that doesn't bother me all too much, but if someone got MY EXACT ROSES on the same place, it would send a chill down my spine. That's too creepy.

  7. MishyV says:

    I love all what you wrote down! Unfortunatelly most of the people who you're talking about will never see themselves in this 🙁

  8. Mitch Hyde says:

    Yes you are right, it certainly is a tough one. Tattoos are such an individual thing, and to see someone with the same one as me would be shocking!

  9. Nora says:

    Great post! It's okay to take ideas from others but copying their work.

  10. Helene.Vlacho says:

    I don't have any tattoo (yet) but i know that i would like to have an original one, meaning to make a design all by my self if possible. Regardless, copying is not acceptable in any kind of art.

  11. Борка Шаула says:

    I guess I wouldn't like to see someone else with my tattoo. People sometimes don't know how to be themselves or need some change and end up being someone else, which is worse.

  12. Katja Knox says:

    I've got a tattoo covering my whole back which I had designed by the tattoo artist. we went through 4 designs before I accepted the one that's on my back now. It's Valkyrie Wings with norse runes and it;'s beautiful and mine. Katja

  13. Kate says:

    This is so so true. It's why I used my photo of Kilimanjaro for my tattoo of the mountain and not the generic shape. The tattoo I have has the snow and glaciers exactly how they were on the day I summitted! Would be fuming if someone ever copied it so I can imagine the anger!

  14. Kayla Hughes says:

    i couldn't have said it better myself. it's common courtesy, not to copy someone else's idea. whether you are the customer or the tattooist, both should know better. kayla | xo

  15. Kellsey Morris says:

    This is absolutely spot on. BeSt post I've read in a long time and I'm glad someone is as passionate as me about it. Recently this year I've also had to call out an apprentice tattooist on copying tattoos around 7 times now!! And she still continues. It's just wrong

  16. Amy Rutter says:

    I agree, it's like the modern day version of picking a basic design of a butterfly from a book in the shop – laziness!

  17. Felicity Sarah Guard says:

    Great post! I find people who copy work despicable. I had my tattoo of my bunny copied, and I mean exactly copied. The copy artist even did it in the same colour as mine, which I had had personalised to match my bunnies!! My tattoo artist felt so bad, but I didn't blame her, it's the people ripping off her work, which has happened to her a few times. I wish people would just stop being so lazy and come up with their own personal ideas >:(Felicity

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