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Since turning 22 I have decided to finally become a member of a culture I have admired since I was little, and would trace the tattoo my dad had on his arm. I got my first tattoo on a extremely warm summer day, one hour after I made the decision to get one. Now that goes against anything I ever planned on doing that day, but I did it.
Three weeks later, I had the whole post planned out, I had all pictures, and even a draft of the post written out in my notes. I sat down on the exact day, and hour I got my first tattoo, made the post.... and couldn’t press post on my instagram.
I had a similar experience also with my second one, the only way people even know I have them is if they have seen them in person. I have never hinted towards them, or talked about them unless asked about them, (or my mom has told them I have them). I have been asked multiple times why I don’t post about them, and the answer is quite simple.
They are personal to me, and each represents a part of my life, or an idea in my life. I enjoy keeping my life fairly private, and feel as though sharing them with the world is allowing the outside world too close to my story. While the process of getting them is quite public, since you are exposing your idea to an artist, shop associates, possible other customers, and friends, I like having the aftermath be fairly private.
Also the two I have are not common, I still haven’t come across any images that look identical, or even similar to them. While I think it is great to share your art, or the artist’s art, I can’t imagine how I would react if I saw my tattoos on someone else. I think I would be extremely upset though, since I have personal meaning to them.
Now you might think that Tattoo stealing isn’t as serious as I, and others are making it out to be, but let me share this. When I was designing the colors of my second tattoo, I contacted a artist I like, and asked if it was okay that I used one aspect of his work. My family and friends didn’t understand why I did that, but the response I received is the perfect explanation.
He was so excited that I asked to use his work, because he has had many pieces “stolen” from his own social media platforms, that it was refreshing to have someone ask him permission to use his work. He gave me full permission to use it, and gave his blessing to my tattoo. To me, that response was so amazing, but at the same time, upsetting. No artist should ever have to say they are excited that their artwork hasn’t been stolen. As an artist myself I can not even fathom why someone would think art stealing would be acceptable. But some people don’t have the same thought process as me, and might not see it as an issue, especially if the artist is posting their work on the internet.
Now I am not saying that the internet has ruined the ownership of art, or the expression of a person, or even that we shouldn’t share art anymore out of fear of someone stealing it. I am just saying that maybe we should think about the impact we will be having on the artist and the other tattoo wearers if we decide that we want the exact same tattoo that we just saw on Instagram or Facebook.