Each weekend, tattoo conventions are held in cities world wide that enable artists to come back collectively from each close to and much to create artwork below one roof. Tattoo conventions are an ideal alternative for artists to community and get their identify out, nevertheless it additionally permits purchasers the uncommon alternative to be tattooed by artists from completely different cities, states, or international locations. And at virtually each conference, there are contests held daily and trophies are awarded in classes corresponding to “Greatest Sleeve,” “Greatest Black-and-Gray,” or “Tattoo of the Day.” These trophies are sometimes accompanied by prizes, nonetheless, they primarily function bragging rights and permit artists to doubtlessly increase their charges as they’ve gained recognition from the business.
Final weekend, on the Nation’s Tattoo Expo in Washington DC, an artist walked away with the very best award of the conference: Better of Present. This award was given to an artist who’d created a tattoo throughout the weekend and was chosen by the judges as one of the best of the bunch. The artist who obtained this honor at Nation’s Tattoo Expo was Tro, also referred to as “The Joker,” who works out of Black Ink in Atlanta, Georgia. After being declared the winner, he took to social media to share his pleasure and upon releasing photographs of the tattoo, was instantly met with criticism.
Social media customers instantly seen that Tro’s tattoo was an virtually direct copy of a customized design by Montreal artist, Arielle Gagnon. Gagnon had posted the photograph of the tattoo in January of 2019 and it had been chosen by the consumer from a board of flash Gagnon shared in September of 2019. Tro made slight modifications to Gagnon’s design, by including the snake, doing the tattoo in black-and-grey, and inverting the drawing, nonetheless, it is clear as day that the piece had been copied line for line.
Tro clapped again on the criticism he started receiving on-line with an Instagram submit, the place he claimed to have by no means heard of Gagnon and that he’d made the tattoo from a photograph his consumer had introduced in from Pinterest. He then goes on to say that as a result of the design wasn’t copyrighted it was up for grabs and that social media customers have been solely upset as a result of he’d received Better of Present.
And as somebody who’s judged numerous tattoo conventions and has achieved a fair proportion of articles on tattoo copying, he is made good factors. There aren’t legal guidelines which stop an individual from copying one other’s artwork and tattoo copying occurs each single day. And excluding placing them in a foul temper, tattoo artists aren’t impacted by different artists ripping off their designs until in fact, these individuals are stealing their purchasers.
Tro’s additionally right in saying that it is as a result of he received an award that individuals are upset as a result of tattoo copying does occur daily and most often, it goes fully unnoticed. Nevertheless, does that imply it is okay he was awarded Better of Present for a tattoo that was replicated line for line from one other artist? Completely not.
So you could be questioning, what is the answer for this situation? As a result of whereas this case has been getting plenty of consideration, it is from being distinctive. Properly, it comes all the way down to integrity, a accountability that in an ideal world could be upheld by not solely the artist, however purchasers, the media, and the tattoo business at giant.