Copycatting; Why Copying a Tattoo Is Not Okay:

Copycatting, it is a sad fact that it has gone on in the tattoo society for far too long already. Back in the day when we only had flash tattoos of the wall, their might have been more of an excuse for the practice. But today, with the technology and creative freedom their is within tattooing, it just shouldn’t happen.

But in spite of this, perhaps because of the internet (maybe a sideeffect). More and more people are copying tattoos, that have been done by other artists. It is not just other artists stealing work done by others. But some clients are also not creative enough, and just want an exact copy of something they have seen online. It is in both cases a very bad idea.

Tattoo are tailored to fit the individual person today. Their body shape as well as their personal wishes for their tattoo are taken into account. So copies often do not look as good, nor do they carry the same meaning or fit the persons body. But even if this is not the case, it is still not okay. Which we will explain why is the case, in 2 perspectives.

Artist Perspective:

From the artists perspective, it is basically stealing creative property without asking permission. It is reminiscent to forging paintings or fashion clothing, because you can’t afford getting the real deal. However their is a unique aspect to tattoos, which makes it an even worse crime to copy/steal ink.

The fact that tattoos are specially tailored by the artist, to fit the clients specific wishes. In other works, it is unique pieces of art, that is made this one time on this one individual. It is a project created by both artist and client. So of course it hurts any artist, that has worked hard to create a piece of art on someone’s skin, to see someone else stealing it.

Just because work is being shared online, it does not mean that it should be copied. Be more creative, it is okay to draw inspiration from other artists. But don’t cut shortcuts and steal others work. Instead work hard and create your own style and your own awesome pieces.

Collector/Client Perspective:

From the collector/client perspective. The real damage is in the personal value put into a tattoo. Yes not all tattoos are rooted in deep meaning. But all custom made tattoos, carry some personal meaning to the wearer. So it hurts that individual a lot, when they see someone else (at least in most cases), wearing their special piece of art. That they worked on together with a tattoo artist and created special for them.

It is difficult to find a comparison to the feeling. It is indeed not flattering in this case to be copied (nor is it for the artists). When someone else takes credit for your work, in both the client and artists perspective, that’s what it feels like. That sinking feeling of everything special about you, being taken down a peg. Just because someone else lacks the creativity to come up with their own piece.

The unwritten rule should be, that if you can’t think of a tattoo of your own, that you want. Don’t go getting a tattoo at all. Don’t go out and copy other people’s tattoos, just because you can’t think of anything you want on your body.
Wanting a tattoo really badly, is no excuse to copy other people’s art. (Artists should neither condone nor suggest it either).

Final Comment:


Copycatting is just not okay. I should not be practiced by any artists worth their salt. But it also shouldn’t be indulged or encouraged by any clients or collectors. It ends up hurting both artists who have their work stolen, but also the collectors, who these tattoos that are being copied, are very special to. A tattoo is something very personal to most people, so don’t copy other people’s tattoos. Please do spread the word. (for once an angry post from us, hopefully it will change some people’s opinions).

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