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?