Greed or Lameness? I Can’t Decide…

This isn’t right!

Tattooing is a privilege granted by your skills and your clients, and NOT A FAVOR YOU ARE DOING TO THEM! You get paid because you chose (or have no choice but) to sell your art, and NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE DOING YOUR CLIENTS A FAVOR!

A Portland, Oregon man who put a tattoo on the right arm of Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace is suing to stop Wallace from displaying the work in ads for Nike basketball shoes.

Matthew Reed from TigerLilly Tattoo and DesignWorks claims he owns the copyright for the design of the tattoo. Reed’s lawsuit wants the Nike ad featuring Wallace and the tattoo off the air and the Internet, as well as damages.

According to the suit filed last week in US District Court, Wallace, who was then playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, approached Reed in 1998, saying he wanted an Egyptian-themed family design with a king and queen and three children and a stylized sun in the background.

Reed researched the idea and came up with a design. Reed said the $450 charge was a small amount, but he expected to benefit from the exposure […]

But Reed claims he became aware last year of a Nike ad that centers on the tattoo and its creation. He claims the ad violates the copyright he holds to “the Egyptian Family Pencil Drawing” […]

Artist sues Wallace over use of tattoo (emphasis by me)

Lame, lame, lame…

Unfair, unprofessional, childish and stupid… that’s what this tattoo artist does here…

It is unfair to pretend you still own something which you already “sold”… I mean yeah, Adobe or Micro$haft can do that, it’s in their nature, but shit! it is so unfair when someone — who otherwise might’ve been a colleague or something — does it…

It is unprofessional to pretend you still own rights over a drawing which you did for a paying customer. I mean, what the fuck were the 450 bucks for?!? For the privilege of sitting in your chair?! Gimme a break..! When you create a tattoo, the drawing on paper is only a sketch, a draft, a starting point. You draw it on paper so you can refine it before you put it in the skin. Once the tattoo is done, that is your creation, not the drawing, which is nothing but a preliminary step. And if you are a flash artist — for whom every single drawing you ever COPIED from someone else is a treasure, because you can’t draw your own — then I understand why you might want to keep that piece of paper and “hold copyright” over it, but then don’t call yourself an artist, because you aren’t.

Childish, because I can’t imagine an adult — even more, a businessman — would even think about doing something like this…

And stupid, because that’s what I think about all this. Attention-whores might make a living on a chit-chat message board, but in business you’re doing nothing else but damaging your own image — if you ever had one…

Please stop! It’s a lame way to get attention…

I’m not taking sides with Nike or whomever else — to tell the truth, I feel good when I hear someone sues these corporate vampires or puts them in trouble — but, in this case, I think the dude is wrong and I think he’s damaging the image of the tattooing world with this crap…

Hmm, one has to wonder why he isn’t listed (anymore?) on any of the aforementioned tattoo shops websites…

8 thoughts on “Greed or Lameness? I Can’t Decide…”

  1. Yeah but, you know, the dude kinda falls in the “colleague” category, as far as I’m concerned… In fact, I guess this is why the whole story pissed me off, because I thought (or I used to like to think) we were all artists here, visibly above this type of shit…

    If one of the corporations would’ve done it, if one of those cretins — for whom the “warning” notes on products are changed every day/week/month/year, because they do unbelievably stupid things with the stuff they buy — would’ve done it, I had no problem with it… As you said, undoubtedly, America loves lawsuits and this notion sits all right with me. But when someone from a certain group/category you belong to does it, well, it makes you sick.

    Imagine every person who ever created something (fashion designers, car designers and so on) would start suing every company or “celebrity” for displaying their creations without permission..!

    By the way, thanks for dropping by, Răzvan :)

  2. Unfortunately, artists are among the very first who are not above this type of shit. Just look at what’s going on in the music business to get a sense (and get sick). When the likes of Madonna and Metallica make a fuss about online downloading of their music.

    Yeah, music is a lot different from tatoos, but generally speaking, the “Intellectual Property” bullshit is unfortunately very handy to most artists. Unfortunately, the contrary is starting to be the exception. The reasonably thinking people, like yourself ;)

    Great site, by the way.

  3. Hi, Zoltan.

    Ahh, don’t get me started with the music industry %$@#¥! A single day doesn’t go by without me dreaming at a worldwide boycott against Sony, Warner Bros. and all these leeches… :)

    You’re right, unfortunately, artists… OK, let me rephrase: “arti$ts” are some of the loudest when it comes to copyright infringement and all that. Unfortunately!

    It’s a reflection of how our whole society has changed its views on commerce and its principles — I know — but I still have a hard time associating artists with merchants…
    I mean, fuck it, why can’t we keep it simple?! You got paid, that’s your reward for the work done. The “product”, whatever it is, doesn’t belong to you anymore. Let go and let everybody enjoy, stop being such a parasite!

    Wishful thinking, I guess :)

    Thanks for visiting, Z!

  4. The smell of blood is oozing, the leeches are gathering…

    One more misguided “artist” (beware of popup windows), one more threat to the little “=” sign between “tattoo” and “art”, one more slice of bread left out in the open for the mass media cockroaches…

    When’s this going to stop?!

    Is it going to ever stop, or will it escalate into something we — including those two hyenas — are going to regret badly..?

  5. Let me play devil’s advocate here. Companies can be evil; on this point I think we agree. But here is another way to look at it: as a tattoo artist, it is true that the artist, once she lays down they art on someone’s skin, cannot expect to still, somehow, have ownership rights to skin! That is sort of ridiculous on its face. But, nike, one of the truly evil piece of shit companies, is getting value from the work the artist did. And it is a wee bit of come-uppence to try and make Nike pay for their use of the art, even though they do not own the canvas, as it were. So greed aside, maybe the artist is trying to fuck with Nike? And can’t an artist bend on the artistic integrity a bit to screw a crappy company?

  6. Hey, Flaffer, thanks a lot for the comment!

    It is definitely true that Nike —or any other big corporation, for that matter— would deserve getting fucked by anyone, for any reason. I couldn’t agree more.
    I’m also aware of the fact that, if the situation was reversed, Nike would sue for copyright or trademark infringement… This is the shit they’re made of and that’ll never change.

    But the thing is, if I knew for sure the guy was suing just because he wanted to fuck with them, the whole story probably wouldn’t have upset me so bad…
    But I don’t know that and, to tell the truth, I’m sure the guy did it out of greed (for money, attention etc…) and that was what triggered my anger, at that time.

    Hard to draw a line here and I, for one, am always with the people and against the corporate leeches…
    But this whole thing smelled so bad and was so embarrassing, I simply couldn’t feel like the dude was the victim or someone whom I’d want to support.

    By the way, whatever happened afterwards…?
    Googled it a bit, but couldn’t find any follow up on the story…

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