Scars by Dave Gillstrap

I’ve posted Mandy (iam:kitten, cut by Dave) a few times before, but the reason I’m posting her today is that I saw a rather disconcertingly similar piece recently — which I should mention that the wearer insists was planned separately. It’s a really pretty design, so I suppose it’s no surprise that it would be duplicated eventually, but independent of debates about “plagiarism” versus “inspiration” versus “great minds think alike”, I like them both and hope that people are able to walk away without hard feelings on either side.

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About Shannon Larratt

Shannon Larratt is the founder of BME (1994) and its former editor and publisher. After a four year hiatus between 2008 and 2012, Shannon is back adding his commentary to ModBlog. It should be noted that any comments in these entries are the opinion of Shannon Larratt and may or may not be shared by LLC or the other staff or members of BME. Entry text Copyright © Shannon Larratt. Reproduced under license by LLC. Pictures may be copyright to their respective owners. You can also find Shannon at Zentastic or on Facebook.

87 thoughts on “Scars by Dave Gillstrap

  1. I’ve never understood why some people seem to be shocked that others will copy their tattoos, brandings and such. Do I think it’s a very cool thing to do? NO. But, in the art world (even body art), everyone is biting somebody else’s style, if not exact work. I mean, look how many times the Pieta has been tattooed, drawn and painted, much less photographed. We should all strive to place less importance on out material things in life (this includes our decorated bodies). This is a life of impermanence, and we should look to more important things in life rather than worrying that someone might be marked in a similar way. Just my 2 cents

  2. I think is not THAT important to “copy” or “inspire” on some other tattoos or scars. Some people that have tattos on their bodies are artists as well, ok, but many others aren´t. So it´s hard to find a creative way of leting out the ideas and the feelings, maybe you are watching some images or tattos and something goes *click* on your head. Unless you claim the idea, drawing and everything IS yours, I think is fine, and in some ways a praising of other´s work and creative manners. I think the perfect way should be giving the tattoo artist the idea or motif and let him add his talent, so it should not look like a “copy”.

    PS: sorry for the poor english.

  3. I get the personal side to this, I really do. But, as having been copied myself, I’ve just learned to live with it.

    I’ve also done my fair share of Pieta tattoos and paintings. She’s neato.

  4. Eh, I left a bit of a snark about it on nae’s entry earlier today, and now it’s turning into a big old free-for-all, which was inevitable, I suppose. I think my main issue with the whole thing is the proclamations of innocence from the artists involved and the wearer of the art, all of whom freely admit that they have seen kitten’s/Dave’s piece well in advance of planning or performing this cutting, and all of whom claim that nae’s is totally different. It looks pretty much the same to me, albeit not going quite as far down the body and not having as nice of a flow!

  5. When I look at both pieces, I think ‘you both have cherry blossom scars.’ It never ever crossed my mind that one would be a copy of the other. I don’t know, it must just be me, but I see about as many similarities in these cuts as I do with the thousands of skull-oriented chest pieces. Why don’t we get on those peoples asses? I think both scars are very beautiful, in their own way. They are fucking cherry blossoms. How original can you get with them?

  6. It’s cherry blossoms, some losing a few petals. This isn’t a terribly original idea to start with, although it is *beautifully* done. I’d give the benefit of the doubt as far as this is concerned.

  7. I don’t think it’s shocking, I think it’s disappointing, and even more so when it happens within the IAM community. Yes, cherry blossoms are an extremely common motif, but Mandy’s are extremely distinctive in their stylizing, not to mention that if you look through the bme scar galleries, the 4 petal flowers with the falling petals are fully unique to Mandy’s design and found nowhere else.
    So when another cherry blossom scarification done with the exact same stylizing and 4 petal flowers/falling petals shows up – and the placement is exactly where Mandy’s is, it’s very hard to believe a claim of independent thought and design.

    I think everyone understands that when you make photos of your modifications accessible over a public medium such as the internet there is always the possibility of someone taking that and using it for their own purposes. but the fact that it was done by another member of the IAM community shows a complete lack of respect and disregard for both Mandy and Dave. and I think that’s whats more disappointing, that the design was stolen from within a community of people who you think would know better (or at least have more respect for someone) than to rip off a custom design.

    also [to Polonious], I think it’s a somewhat offensive to automatically assume that just because something might be a simplistic design that it doesn’t have meaning to the wearer. I’m not saying that’s necessarily the case for Mandy, but without knowing the significance something holds for someone, you can’t presuppose how they’ll be affected by someone else taking something that has personal value from them.
    I’m not saying you should spend your time fixated on whether your work has/will/or might be copied, but why shouldn’t someone feel violated or hurt by the theft of something that’s [now] a part of them?

  8. I’m curious exactly what the personal meaning is behind these pieces aside from how pretty they are before I even think along the lines of someone copying someone else’s private piece. If say, someone drew their own Phoenix, had it tattooed, cut, etc, and it represented something very important/spiritual/etc in their life, I’d be more inclined to think the original artist was within her rights to be upset. (of course, everyone has a right to be upset, justification is different.)

    Then again, a phoenix does mean growth, so that comparison might be a bit off. (;

  9. This is gay….funny thing is keylan drew prolly 50 different cherry blossoms for this piece over the last week.
    And she picked those out and I helped with the placement…and the fallen petals!
    There was lots of talk about what section was gonna be removal etc…and that is the layout and way they were done they ended up going with.It wasn’t like anyone tried to trace and copy anything.
    Cherry blossoms are almost as common as logo’s….

    Maybe kitten does have “the original” and that is awesome
    Is every new cherry blossom scar on ribs a rip off now from kitten in the future?
    So if it was on her thigh it would be o.k??….shit I have saw a few of those all ready also.
    As far as I knew Nae was planning getting her other side done the same as well….
    You know how many dudes I have run into in the last 10 years with a misfits skull tattoo on there right arm?….dozens.
    Im just sayin’.

    I put cherry blossom tattoos around her nipples,now that shit is unique…If I saw another set of those I would feal ripped off though….hahahaha

  10. I agree with #8. I expect it was a tough decision for Nae to decide to get this piece, knowing this was the kind of reaction she’d get. How original can you make a scar of a cherry blossom, which has a distinct shape? If she really is telling the truth, then I think she had a perfect right to get a piece she had thought up, despite seeing another had been done that looked very like it. But who knows…

  11. I wish you guys could see how insanely distressed I am right now. Never once have I ever had any goal of ‘ripping off’ someone. I personally am an art major and completely understand the idea behind personal work. This is not a finished piece. I am planning to have a matching left side completed once I’m healed. I love that Kitten’s embraces her entire side, that’s cool, that’s not my thing. I’ve had plans for this for a long time, and was really shocked, frustrated, and a bit upset when I saw her’s because I knew I would want it too and I knew that if I even put one picture up, someone would get pissed at me. No matter where you put a cherry blossom, it’s going to look relatively similar to every other one out there. I purposely didn’t submit the photos on my page to BME because I didn’t want them in the state they are in now to get confused with Kitten’s. I have more plans to add on to them, but I need to heal, and once everything is finshed, then feel free to judge me. But as for now, it’s not completed.

  12. Well, it’s not “a scar of a cherry blossom”, it’s a whole bunch of cherry blossoms placed exactly the same way in exactly the same part of the body, really. If I were Nae and I’d thought of the piece and knew of another piece done by a high-profile artist and published on Modblog, I would’ve modified it and done it on a different part of my body (or on the other side of my body, or whatever).

  13. And my comment was in response to #10 – I was obviously typing that as Nae was typing hers.

    Well, Nae, I can understand that you’re upset by the response, I suppose. But you knew this is what the response would be. If I were you, I wouldn’t have posted any pictures of it at all until it were completed, if the finished project is going to be so wildly different. And I have a sleeve I’ve been working on for a couple of years that I haven’t posted any pictures of yet, so I can honestly say that. :)

  14. I really don’t see what the probably is. I know about 20 girls who have cherry blossom tattoos on the backs of the necks, I know another 20 who have one loosing petals on their feet…
    Scarification is becoming more widely practiced as people are gaining a better understanding for the procedures and care. Of COURSE there’s going to be overlap of something like a fucking flower. It’s an aesthetically pleasing object. It’s going to end up on people’s bodies.

  15. or…..
    she went with what she originaly wanted and didnt change it based on the opinion of someone else.

    i just think its funny that the people who are making such a big deal of it, really should’nt concern them selves with it at all considering it has NOTHING to do with you.

  16. I really think a side-by-side comparison would show that they’re not really the same…..the placement of the blossoms is not congruent, and as she stated, Nae’s blossoms have a different movement on her body (moving toward the inner-thighs as opposed to down the leg). It’s going to take a lot more than cherry blossoms with some petals falling off to make this a copycat piece – as it is, they’re just similar motifs (and, considering how well the placement works, how can you blame them for having that similarity?).

  17. that is beautiful. nothing is original now given we as a species have been around so long and had so much time to think about everything. Doesnt mean it carries any less artistic merit or meaning though.

  18. cherry blossoms are not an original idea. how many folks have cherry blossoms with pedals falling done as tattoos. i don’t understand why this is an issue.

  19. “that is beautiful. nothing is original now given we as a species have been around so long and had so much time to think about everything. Doesnt mean it carries any less artistic merit or meaning though.”

    couldn’t have said it better myself.

    For those of you who think you’re original, you’re not. I do 2000+ tattoos a year, and if they only knew how much their “original idea” was just like someone else’s, they’d probably be some sad people. We are constantly influenced by what we see, and more often that not, moved to emulate that which appeals to us. It’s no biggie. Get over it.

  20. This is silly. No one owns the right to cherry blossums or a particular part of the body. Make sense people. There are easy to spt differences if you are observant. Maybe because scarification is a newer art form here people think they can lay claim to a design but it doesn’t work that way. Especially a design as simple as this. I have spider web scars on my legs. I have seen others with this. Need we track down who was first and battle it out?

  21. I don’t think they’re really that similar. I don’t know, personally if someone saw a tattoo or something that I had and maybe got/had one of similar subject matter, and even placement, I wouldn’t really care that much unless it was exactly to the tee the same. Especially if they don’t live near me haha!

  22. After looking at both peoples scars.. I have to say they look similar but NOT the same at all.

  23. While I agree that in certain situations similar designs will pop-up, this was too unique a piece to have two people in different parts of the country dream it up around similar times. Mandy’s piece goes from the rib cage to the leg and while it’s true that nae’s doesn’t do the same thing, what does it matter? Same flowers, same falling off petals, same general locale, come on? Do we really even have to sit here and think about whether or not it was the same planned design? And if this design IS something she planned for so long and was so personal to her, knowing the reaction, she should have kept it off IAM. I have mods that are personal to me that don’t copy ANYONE and I keep them off IAM simply because they’re part of my private life.

    She did what she did and regardless of whether or not it was a planned steal or a “coincidence,” posting it publicly when she had full knowledge it would hurt people was pretty cruel in itself.

    I feel sorry for Mandy, who now feels she has to hide her mods on IAM and I feel even sorrier for Dave who did something so original and something so beautiful and is now going to have to content with the age old question: Which came first?

  24. If it was copied, that sucks, but it’s a really common motif. I’ve seen that kind of flower drawn just like that a million times, come on.

  25. It kills me that the same community of people who a couple short weeks ago were giving Nae props for her nipple tattoos are now making her feel like dirt.

    The cherry blossom motif is not a singular original motif, whether it be drawn, tattooed or scared. Dave Gillstraps cuttings on Kitten are beautiful, but in no way an original design.

    If you people want to bash on nae for copying the placement, then you didn’t read the part where she said it was an incomplete piece. Not only does her piece not go down her leg like Kittens, but she said she would be doing the other side once this one is healed. And for you continuing turds who said she should have waited to post pictures once she was all done.. um, people are ALWAYS posting pictures of their pieces in progress to track themselves. There are plenty pictures on IAM and BME of half finished pieces, so why are you making nae feel like crap for posting her half finished piece?

    People like myself and countless others I’m sure, joined the IAM community to feel like they belonged somewhere. This was supposed to be a safe haven from the people and ideas in the world who did not approve of what we do to our bodies. To see you people bash on someone for getting a similar motif to someone else is absurd. This isn’t a case of Amina Munster syndrome.

    They’re cherry blossoms, a design that has been around for centuries and was not custom designed by anyone for anyone. Get the fuck over yourselves.

  26. This is absolutely ridiculous. My goodness, she has cherry blossoms scarred onto her side. I have a cluster of stars tattooed on my back, should I go beat down every single other person on the planet who has stars tattooed on their back? If any of you people would look at the two pictures side by side, you would see that they are vastly different. From the size and design, shape and placement; they are different. Yes, the placement is different. Stop jumping all over this poor girl just because YOU think she did something wrong. I see shit every single day that I don’t agree with, should I make that person feel like shit just because of MY OPINION?! This community is supposed to be a SUPPORTIVE environment for people who choose to modify their bodies. It still gets me that there are people here who feel so comfortable attacking each other from within. We are stronger when we stand together, people.

  27. #34- I think that Nae is fucking beautiful. :)

    I agree with anyone who didn’t go on a ego trip and bash her. If cherry blossoms were an original idea, this would be different. But, they aren’t, so…get over it. Don’t make someone feel like shit who doesn’t deserve to.

  28. Cherry blossoms are not an original idea. It’s not a customized piece. It’s not like she copied a cherry blossom that had a skull in the center with cum dripping off the petals. Because then I would understand all the bitching. This is a common design. Get over yourselves. If you don’t want to take the chance of having your work copied. Don’t post pictures of your mods. It’s that simple.

    And way to go Ali…We obviously needed to turn this into a who’s hotter than who contest. So mature.

  29. Wow, I am really shocked at all the negativity. First of all I have no idea (nor does anyone else I suspect) what nae’s plans/intentions are/were. I don’t know nae so my next comments are not said with any assumption that she is copying anything.

    In general though…what ever happened to imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? If I see a tattoo that I love does that me I can never have it? Does this also apply to piercings? If you’re worried about respect in the “community”…certainly the “community” knows who was first.

    If I came up with something so cool that people wanted to copy it I would be proud. I would reflect on my thought process as I designed it, my expectations of how cool it was going to look and my joy at seeing it upon completion. People copying it would simply be an affirmation that I was right…it is cool.

    If you design something that you love and are proud of…how does someone copying it diminish its meaning and beauty? Do people really sit around thinking “I can’t believe someone copied my piercing/tattoo/scar?” From my perspective it sounds very petty…very, very petty. Be happy with what you created because you know you are the creator.

    Anything less sounds like a snobby community not an open-minded sharing one…

  30. When I meet people with similar tattoos or placement, etc. I find that I tend to feel a bond to that person, like hey great minds think alike! And Dr. Frankenstein made me laugh… I happen to be getting cherry blossom nipple tattoos as I type this. ;)

    I think both girls are super duper beautiful.

  31. I think something this generic is a non-issue. I mean, what is there only supposed to be one person in the world with flowers on them? When you start talking about detailed artwork and specific themes, then sure, copying them is pretty lame, but to take a really obvious idea like this and replicate it is fine and inevitable.

  32. Though I do understand Mandy’s frustrations 100%…

    It makes me think. If these scars were first placed on another IAM member who was ‘less well known’ in the community, and done by small town artist… would there have even been a reason for this to make mod blog? Would such a rift have even begun?

  33. Honestly, I don’t think this even should have been featured on Modblog. It seems like the only intention was to bash on Nae. This so called “community” is falling apart in my eyes. Who really cares if the scars are similar? Is it really going to affect your life? Its not like an entire sleeve was duplicated exactly. I don’t know…fuck all the elitists.

    And really, I think this site has gone way down-hill. Modblog now seems just like any ol’ porn rag. example: The totally gratuitous picture of the christina piercing that just got posted. Why is that featured other than the fact that its potential wanking material?

  34. Trav – Read what I wrote, both in the comments and in the entry. It absolutely wasn’t posted to bash Nae. I included Nae’s comments about her motivation, and I also mentioned that I don’t personally think that sharing common motifs is a big deal either way.

    The Christina picture was posted because it’s a great photo and is a perfectly valid post in my opinion.

    …and SEX is a big part of the body modification community, and arguably the BIGGEST part of the community when you look at the big picture, since it’s the sexual aspects that survive in between the bubbles of fashion — if it wasn’t for people who find body modification sexually interesting, it would die out completely.

  35. Oh for crying out loud- no one owns the rights to a particular design or the process. What the hell would be the point if they did?? Should a design now come with a copyright tag, just so someone can turn around and say “oh i had it first” – which is probably doubtful unless you’ve got a record of every body mod every done in the history of the planet.
    Its a beautiful design and i cant wait to see it compeleted – end of,

  36. Kill me for this.. but how original can you get with cherry blossoms?… the world and his dog has some sort of cherry blossom weather its tattoed or scared.

    Its not like the first girl came up with the newest design you could think of with the cherry blossoms…

    they both look hot, and they each were done differently and consequently heal differently….

  37. Very nice, Nae. I look forward to seeing where you go from here, but even if you did nothing more, it would still be nice as is.

    As for all the swiping nonsense, I agree with Shannon’s first comment: unless it’s something extremely personal, getting inspiration from someone else’s body art/mods is no big deal. After all, was it Picasso who said “great artists steal”? How many of you who are bashing Nae were the first to come up with a piercing, or a place to get a tat done, or a way to cut/dye your hair… etc? Nothing’s so original. Get over yourselves.

    Besides, Nae said she didn’t get the idea from Kitten, just a coincidence. ‘Nuff said.

  38. Nae, I’d like to do something bold that may get me flack. I’m sorry to see you receiving so much negativity from our own community. Admittedly there is a lot of support & this is a free forum for people to express their opinions but I personally have never agreed with people bashing other people’s modifications. There is a world of difference between two people making a very personal choice for very different reasons that turns out to be simmilar & someone stealing body art for profit (IE all of those crappy t-shirts that show up on Ebay without any credit to the artists who originally designed the piece or even acknowledgement for the origin of the piece). I personally wear a lower leg sleeve based on a print by Utagawa Kuniyoshi that has been tattooed in some format thousands of times. The placement doesn’t sit entirely correct within traditional tattooing & the image is by no means an exact replica of the print. I wear it because it holds deep personal significance (it’s based around a folk tale about an Ama who sacrificed herself & is traditionally worn for luck by people who, like me, have a loved one who dives. I suppose what I’m saying is that to me it doesn’t matter how many times a piece has been done or how much it looks like the work on another, it’s what it means to & how it makes the wearer feel. More power to both of those gorgeous girls & the beautiful work you both wear.

  39. Shannon, you might say this wasn’t posted to bash Nae.. but inevitably, thats what happened. Shit, she was even badgered about this by a BME qod STAFF MEMBER on her forum, hello unprofessional. People working/volunteering for BME should know better then to bash and rag on the very people that make up this community.

  40. Wow. I turn my computer off for a week and the whole community goes nuts. I have a few things to say:

    Imitiation is definately a form of flattery and frankly I am not bothered that a “similar” piece has been done. It is unfortunate that people get the same thing as other people and though they are extremely similar, they are indeed different.

    The main reason why I don’t display my own tattoos and whatnot on this format or any other are because of biters or even those inspired to get something similar. If the work is bad ass it will be replicated over and over again.

    I don’t know Nae but I of course wish her no ill will for getting something done that she wanted and they planned out. I do know Keylan and I am proud to be one of those that have helped polish him into the artist that he is now.

    Those that are comparing this to tattoos I will say this: IT ISN’T A FUCKING TATTOO. it’s a scar and I know that when I had my scarification work done it was very personal and has more meaning than anything else I have ever done to myself. I scar comes from you. You make it it isn’t ink and not everyone does it…yet. Hell let it become like tattooing maybe I can make some real money at this gig.

    To those that keep saying that there is nothing custom or original about the piece. I am insulted. Every piece that I do, I study the motion and movement of the anatomy and the form and shape of the body. I knew what I was putting where and that is why the piece seems so elegant and simplistic. It was designed and drawn directly on her to fit her. How the fuck is that not custom?

    I can clearly tell from the picture that it is not the same and I can also tell that it will not heal the same way. so people are going a bit over board a little too quickly. I am only concerned by the “it’s not finished” comment. It can go one of two ways. The direction and placement can be different and since the heat is on, I would highly suggest not going down the leg or if you do, make it a hell of alot different. Mandy is also planning to get her other side, she wanted me to do it at the time we did the first one but it was I who wanted her to heal one out first. It will be a balanced motif and similar to the other side but not Identical.

    Keylan and I are sraight…Mandy ain’t trippin….Leave the other chick alone.

    -the artist that did the piece

  41. #33 I totally agree with you. This girl does NOT need to be bashed for having something she felt would make her body even more beautiful. She went through the sacrifice and the pain and it really means something special to her. To read all the nasty comments on her page and on here makes me ashamed.
    How do these people can talk down to her and make her feel bad about a mod is disgusting to me. We are supoosed to be more open minded here aren’t we?? I would hope we would be considering we’re a group of people that modify our bodies for the love and compassion of beauty and pain.
    I feel really bad for her.

  42. #54/Maria: So, because I am a QOD staff member, I’m not allowed to voice my opinion anymore? That’s ridiculous. I didn’t “bash” or “rag on” anyone at any time, I voiced my disapproval over what I perceive to be a plainly obvious theft of someone else’s idea, publicly and proudly posted, and at the time with NO disclaimers of “Oh, I know this looks a bit like kitten’s piece, but it’s not finished and this is how it’s going to be different.” The gist of the explanation was to the effect of “I know it’s like kitten’s, but I totally wanted it before I saw that, anyway, and I don’t care what anyone thinks.” I haven’t resorted to name-calling or petty personal insults, unlike all the shit being slung at me for daring to point out the obvious. Oh, so Nae now feels bad because a few people are calling her on it. How about how utterly sick Mandy must’ve felt after a bunch of people pointed out Nae’s post to her – incidentally, I was not one of them, I only saw this around the same time Shannon did? I’m certainly not the only person who’s said something about it, why am I getting singled out as some lone voice of contention?

    As I’ve stated repeatedly, I don’t like seeing original, custom work get copied or ripped off – and argue all you like, people, but this piece DOES LOOK RIPPED OFF TO ME – especially when the original piece is so relatively well-known within the community. Do I think all angel tattoos are ripped off of Elayne Angel’s? No. Would I perceive large, shoulder-to-bum blackwork feathered angel wings a ripoff? Sure, and so would Elayne’s attorneys, I’d imagine. This is more than just a sakura, more than just a random flower design – it’s the same motif, the same flowers shapes, the same placement. Dave’s posted that he’s not bothered about it, cool, that’s great. I’m glad you’re all cool with each other. I still think it’s sad to openly knock off other people’s original work, and I’m not going to change my opinion because of a little name-calling, sorry.

    I feel really bad for everyone who thinks that not agreeing with someone equals a flamewar or a total breakdown of IAM or whatever. How new are you guys to the internet? Open debate and discussion are what these comment forums are all about.

  43. Some where in the terms of service it says you cannot go on other peoples forums and say things like “you’re tattoos such”and that is just what the QOD staffer in question did. Saying how it doesn’t flow well etc…Not nice. Also this appears to be a fresh piece? LEAVE HER ALONE TO HEAL. Healing something like this is an ordeal in and of itself. Jesus.

  44. One last thing. A well known and respected scarification artist once said he could do the same cut on 10 different people and get 10 different scars. I think we should embrace the chance to see this happen as Nae heals. Not that I think they are exactly the same I don’t but instead of discouraging Nae to share this interesting process I think we should we more open minded and curious. Like Dave Gilstrap said above “it will not heal the same.”

  45. it’s easy to see that sakura isn’t an original design for any form of work. I do like the design of the second piece better, but the first is just as pretty. Call it a matter of taste, I guess.

    Cherry blossoms are just a classic.

  46. after reading through all that, all i can say is thats why i am selective to what i put on the internet or allow pictures of my work, so that it stays unique to me

  47. Lori,

    Maybe the shit is being slung at you because you’re so certain you have a rock-solid point when you’re completely wrong. They’re not the same piece, the blossoms are not shaded in the same way, and most importantly, [b]the placement is not the same[/b]. Look at the two pictures side by side – the blossoms are absolutely not in the same places, nor are the petals. There’s a huge difference between being ‘somewhere on the rib cage’ and the specific location within that relatively large space. The movement of both pieces is clearly different.

    I think the fact that you’re prone to ignore really important aspects of design is even more evident when you say you’d be as offput by the idea of someone with large wings as a backpiece, as though Elayne Angel was the only person to think of such a thing. Hell, she’s probably not even the first to get a piece like that done. And bringing in an attorney’s opinion is completely irrelevant; this is not a copyright issue. Just because it gets a lot of attention on BME dosn’t make a piece incredibly unique or original, in theory or practice.

    If Mandy was that upset by seeing someone with similar work, that’s her fault for getting work done using a very common theme and thinking she would be the only one. Quite frankly, if she’s so upset that her look isn’t as unique as she thought it was, I have to seriously question her motivation for getting the piece done in the first place. The definition of a ‘motif’ is a recurrent element in artistic work, more or less. The fact that they have a similar motif is absolutely not a reason to say that one was ripped off while the other is original; quite the opposite.

    Maybe people have been responding to you so negatively because of the one-sided (and ill-informed) arrogance with which you address an issue that is clearly not black and white.

  48. if you want something “original” you’re definitely not going to get it by doing a cherry blossom motif. But anyhow I looked at both pictures and they looked the same to me but that’s the way it goes. Sure they may look different in small ways or whatever but at a glance they look eeexxactly alike. Oh well, yeah? Like anyone will care, we all get old and our flesh sags and ends up looking alike anyway.

  49. designs as simple as this or very traditional in nature shouldn’t ever even be considered to be rip offs. only the very original and unique can possibly be ripped off.

    even if its something you drew up all by yourself with next to zero outside inspiration, chances are that its allready been done.

    i remember the whole drama that went down when some model with a fake leg pitched a fit because someone got a similar tattoo to her chest piece. someone said it was basically “emotional rape” or some such silly shit it had me El oh Elling all day. yeah pirate skulls and knives is seriously original! truth be told those tats were too similar in some regaurds but the “copy” was better imo but those are chances you run when you get some shit that looks like 100′s of other pieces of pirate/skull flash

  50. I think people need to read the many articles Marisa(FREE) has wrote in the past about copyrighting….Tattoos and Scarification I feel belong in the realm of copyrighted materials.

    It can be seen as two things though…As Dave said it can be viewed as a form of flattery via imitation…Although it can also be seen as an insult, especially if its a custom personal piece.

    Personally as much as my arm is just viewed as a bunch of geometric shapes that flow with my arm…It has deep personal meaning to me and if I found out someone copied it, I’d be pissed.

    There’s a lot of similarities but there’s also differences…

    The BEST way to show the similarities and differences is if you get photo’s of both of them side by side for a proper analysis of the two.

    Personally I don’t get how people are going to talk down to someone saying a cherry blossom motif is not original…Have we diluted and degraded ourselves so much to this point that we can judge whats original and what’s not? So much goes into what’s original and although what one person may view as being original another person won’t.

    It’s almost like trying to figure out who’s cool and who’s not cool…

  51. “Planned out” whatever.
    Copied? definitely. Whether they admit it or not.
    For an art major, where the hell is all the creativity?
    How about carving “original by kitten” underneath?

  52. JimmieJoe: Hey, thanks for reading my comments and posting with emotional responses, rather than facts, especially since you clearly have no idea what I’m talking about or what artwork I’m even referring to.

    I’ve said what I have to say, and at the end of the day, it’s my OPINION on the subject. I think Dave Gillstrap said it best in his comment on Keylan’s entry: “Same thing, same side, same placement. Try not to make a habit out of this.” So, yeah.

  53. I’d be totally gutted that if, when I get my moko and if I decide to put pictures of it here on IAM, another member copied my design, even slightly, strictly because of its extreme significance to me as a Maori. But in this case I think its an over-exaggeration. Like Dave said, its a scar. Scars heal differently, so they’re not going to be the same at all. “Keylan and I are sraight…Mandy ain’t trippin….Leave the other chick alone.”

  54. I just want to add that copying or emulating an artistic design is not, by definition, “stealing.” It is copying or emulating only. Nothing was taken, there was no theft. When you equate copying with stealing it is only to try and force others to see the situation negatively like yourself by using words that are negative.

  55. Taken from Skin & Ink November 2004 Issue:

    Human beings are not two dimensional canvases. Our bodies come in various shapes and sizes. Ink takes to skin differently. I figured that this argument would blow a hole through the whole idea of copyrighting tattoos. But, to be sure, I contacted an expert in copyright law, Mark Radcliffe, partner in the law firm Gray Cary, who specializes in intellectual property protection. I first asked him the basic question, “Is an original tattoo design inked into the skin a copyrightable work?” He said, “Yes, all ‘original’ works of authorship are copyrightable. The design was probably originally created as a drawing, so the actual tattoo is a ‘reproduction’ of the original work. It is covered by the general provision of the copyright law.” He added that, in suing for infringement of copyright, the tattoo must be substantially similar, not exact. Thus, a custom tattoo on an 18 year old supermodel copied onto a 300 pound couch potato would be in violation of the original work’s copyright protection.

    With the similarity issue dealt with, Radcliffe also cleared up the originality question for me. In his online primer on copyright law, he explains that the originality requirement is not stringent and that a work can be original without being unique. It can also incorporate preexisting material.

    Ultimately copyright protection I feel should always be discussed before the piece is performed, scarification or tattooing…And if the artist and the client feel justified in copyrighting the piece they should do so.

    The one issue is what if Kitten is upset but Dave finds it flattering? See where I’m getting at, as to why this type of stuff should be discussed BEFORE anything is done permanently?

  56. There is not a copyright on the images as hand. What was placed on Nae were original drawings that Keylan spent many hours redrawing to meet his personal style and Nae’s taste.

  57. cherry bloosoms in this location and design format is one of the commonest motifs of japanese artwork.

    Thousands of people would have to have hard feelings.

  58. oh yeah, and if you’re going to talk about copyright, take a look at horiyoshi’s page, on which he has the EXACT SAME blossoms, done as a tattoo, on about forty different women.

    Seriously, traced or not, it is a simple drawing of a very common motif, if there are any hurt feelings it should be the hundreds of women who are wearing the same idea and motif.

    Traced or not, yet again, it isn’t substantially different from thousands of tattoos,drawing, paintings, and scars I’ve seen. Cherry blossoms are beautiful and the way these are drawn are not very unusual-it would be hard to tell them apart stylistically from hundreds of others.

  59. The way I see it is when you make a choice to mod your body you are doing it for yourself, right? Regardless of what anyone says, thinks, or does it should not alter it’s importance or personal signifigance. Maybe I’m just too laid back but I don’t understand all the drama in the B-M-E.

  60. I don’t understand it either. In 80 years, both of them will be dead and buried, and in 150 or so, not a single person will be living that knew them persoanlly. So in the end, who cares?

  61. I… really don’t get it. How could anybody possibly claim this is copying? It’s not like two different human beings have never had the same idea before. They’re bloody FLOWERS. A common flower on a popular part of the body in a pattern that flows well with that part of the body. It’s not so shocking that they’d end up with similar results.

  62. First off, leave the poor girl alone. Her mod is not unique, no, and yet it IS because it is on *HER*. It is absolutely beautiful and suits her shape well.

    I have a completely original hand drawn piece of tattoo art draping over my right shoulder, consisting of floral elements (not unique) and an infinity sign (also not unique) and a pearl necklace (again, not unique). But the configuration itself is one-of-a-kind. Thing is, my sister & I had it done together to commemorate our sisterhood, so it’s NOT unique! See how that works?

    Secondly, did anybody else notice the placement of the Modblog logo in the photo? I dig it. Very clever, Shannon!

    PS: “…and SEX is a big part of the body modification community, and arguably the BIGGEST part of the community when you look at the big picture, since it’s the sexual aspects that survive in between the bubbles of fashion — if it wasn’t for people who find body modification sexually interesting, it would die out completely.”

    Absolutely right, Shannon – well said.

  63. I doubt if you could claim theft of design here, because the design clearly has much older roots. Even if Mandy would have gotten the idea from Kitten, it is not because of the originality of Kitten’s design, but simply because Kitten’s scars were the transmitter of a well known and very recognizable existing beautiful design. The design/concept which is also widely transmitted through books and internet sites. The type and placement on the body are similar, and perhaps could have inspired Mandy because it is so beautiful, but hey we all have similar bodies and put our body mods on similar places. That makes us a community. We learn from each other.
    Both Kitten and Mandy have liked the well known lotus flower + fallen petal concept so much that they have chosen it to permanently adorn their bodies. And I think that is so beautiful!

  64. yay dave! it’s so awesome to see a hometown artist’s work recognized on modblog, i think it’s beautiful.

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