This is One of the Biggest No-Nos When It Comes to Tattooing
It's about time that we break down tattoo copying. Tattoo copying occurs when a "tattoo artist" rips off another artists design and copies the tattoo line for line. Unfortunately, tattoo copying happens every single day and may people still do not understand why it is wrong.
Here's the thing, tattooers are artists and their tattoos are their original artwork. The tattoo artists who get ripped off the most are often times the best original artists of the moment and copying cheapens the art of tattooing. Tattoo copying happens out of a lack of understanding of the ethics of the industry and creativity—both of which are unacceptable for people who call themselves tattoo artists.
An aspiring or veteran artist should not under any circumstances copy another artist's work, even if it is the client's request. Many clients don't understand why copying is wrong and it's an artist's job to tell them that they can't steal another person's work of art.
There are obviously exceptions to the rule and that exception is flash. No one will be upset if they see someone else with the same piece of traditional flash because it's not an original piece. There are thousands of identical clipper ships and lines of script out there—because these tattoo designs are intentionally unoriginal and meant to be replicated. However, when it comes to the 100% original pieces that were created by hardworking artist, stealing is just wrong.
If you can't put yourself into the perspective of a tattooer, at least try and see it from the side of the client wearing that original piece of art. That client sought out their artist for a one of a kind tattoo and paid up to work with a talented tattooer. Their tattoo probably means a lot to them and to have someone rip it off their body is really cheap. If that person wanted a good piece of art, they should have gone to that artist in the first place and requested a *similar* design or style. That's how tattoo copying should go down, people finding inspiration from pieces and borrowing "bits and pieces" to create a unique design.