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WATCH: Quality Tattoo Artists React to Low-Quality Copies

See How Tattoo Artists React to Copy Cat Designs

Photo by Kristian Angelo on Unsplash

No two tattoo artists are ever quite the same; at least that’s how it should be. These creators are losing their originality due to the new phenomenon known as tattoo copying. Well-known tattoo artists come together to assess copies of unique tattoos, and their reactions are downright entertaining. 

Ever had someone show you a photo of a person that you find (in the nicest way possible) completely unattractive and had them say “they look just like you”? Or how about show you a picture of a hideous dress and say “I feel like you’d love this”? This person might not intend to be insulting you, but it sure does feel that way. 

This is similar to how tattoo artists felt upon viewing tattoo copies. According to Inked, “Tattoo copying occurs when a ‘tattoo artist’ rips off another artists design and copies the tattoo line for line”. Like any other type of artist, tattooers strive to be unique and original with their work. When that work is replicated, especially in a sloppy and horrendous way, not only does it becomes unoriginal, it becomes, well, plain humiliating

e.g Image from St.Lucia / GIPHY

In a YouTube video posted by Inked, successful tattoo artists are shown photographs of original tattoos alongside their copies. These artists hold nothing back when it comes to criticizing the frauds. Tattoo artist, Pon, critiques the image below. 

e.g Image: YouTube/Inked

“My stuff gets bootlegged all the time. Like, I can see why he’s upset. It’s obviously two different photos, but it’s terribly done.”

According to Jieo Astudillo, this tattoo copy of Mac Miller is “a huge offense towards him”. This perfectly represents one of those unintended insults. Obviously the tattoo copier intended to create a realistic image of Mac Miller. Unfortunately, what ended up happening was they distorted his face enough that other artists feel bad for doing this to Mac. (Sorry Mac, Rest in Peace❤.)

e.g Image: YouTube/Inked

Though the tattoo copy of the woman above might not seem awful, the fact that it’s flipped and still doesn’t look close to the original is sad. It’s definitely not done well enough to be on someone’s body every single day for the rest of their lives. Like artist Cavan Infante said, “If you’re going to copy something to this level… just trace it, don’t try to like you know…. Draw it yourself and do a really piss-poor job.” 

Want to see more copy cat work? Check out the images below. 

Of course, copying bits and pieces of an original tattoo is perfectly acceptable. Getting an idea from someone and putting your own spin on it is also completely fine. But stealing? 

Stealing is Just Plain Wrong

Tattoos are meaningful pieces of art, and to strip someone of that unique body design by copying it line for line is pretty crummy. Let’s just stick to what tattoo artist Jess Machete said, “Gotta get your own tattoos guys!“. 

To see more artist reactions, click below to watch the video for yourself. 

Love tattoos? Thinking about getting one? Click Here to figure out which permanent and story-telling body design is best for you!

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