Popular GTA Tattoo Shop Admits To Copying Artwork For Storefront in Mississauga
An award-winning tattoo shop has admitted to copying artwork from a popular New Zealand artist for the storefronts at Square One and Yorkdale Mall.
The co-founder of Chronic Ink has admitted to copying artwork for the two storefronts. Chronic Ink has now suspended Tristen Zhang due to the incident.
Chronic Ink is an award-winning tattoo shop that has many locations across the Greater Toronto Area and Vancouver. They also have a new location that’s slated to open at Square One and recently opened a pop-store at Yorkdale in Toronto.
The New Zealand artist, Yue, took to Twitter to share the news on May 6. She said that the tattoo artist traced over her Ahri piece and then used it without her permission. She also told her fans that she messaged Zhang privately before sharing the news online. Instead of replying, the co-founder reportedly unfollowed the artist.
Artwork courtesy of Yue.
The artwork is also being used as a promotional banner for the company.
Photos courtesy of Yue.
She stated that she emailed both the malls and Chronic Ink’s collaborators, Beauty Co., to inform them of the incident.
The shopping centres have made them remove the images from the storefronts. The copied artwork has since been replaced with a new image.
According to Yue, Beauty Co. stated they did not know how the image was created but have taken action to remove the assets.
Both founders have also apologized to Yue in private as well as released official statements on their social media.
On May 8, Tristen Zhang publicly apologized to the artist on Instagram. He posted an image stating: “I rushed to create a piece for our pop-up. I should have created something original and I didn’t. This was a mistake and I am very sorry. I also want to say that no one at @chronicink and none of the other artists were aware of the situation until yesterday.”
On May 10, Chronic Ink posted two images of their icon and wrote their apologies in the description.
“On Monday, May 6th we were made aware of a situation with the artwork used at our Yorkdale pop-up and Square One… This isolated incident with Tristen Zhang reflects neither the way we work or our values as artists,” the company wrote.
The tattoo shop states that they contacted the artist immediately after learning about the news. They have since kept in contact to fix the issue.
They also apologized to Beauty Co., Yorkdale Mall and Square One.
The company will also be donating the profits from the Yorkdale Mall pop-up to a charity chosen by the New Zealand artist. She has chosen to give the money to Forest and Bird, a charity dedicated to protecting the Fresh Water of New Zealand.
“We’ll be compensating Yue for her artwork; money that’s rightly deserved by her. We are working out the details with Yue now. We will not be using money from the pop up to pay her,” the company said.
Chronic Ink has also decided to suspend Zhang, the co-founder of the tattoo shop, in relation to the incident.
“This was certainly the hardest decision of all to make, we are suspending Tristen indefinitely and effective immediately…As you all know Tristen was one of our co-founders and he’s put 11 years of work into this studio so we really needed some time over the past 3 very sleepless nights to figure out what’s the right decision, and not rush and make one out of anger.”
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In light of what happened, we don’t feel good profiting from this @yorkdalestyle pop-up. What we learned on May 6th has really soured us and we want to make an honest living, so we are going to donate every dollar profited from this pop-up to a charity. - We’ve been chatting with @meltedbuns since the day we found out this has happened and we’ve asked her to pick a charity of her choice. She gave us three choices and we ran a vote with our artists at the studio and we’ll be donating to Forest & Bird, a charity dedicated to protecting the Fresh Water of New Zealand. - This doesn’t make everything right but we hope this is a step in the right direction. - As well, we’ll be compensating Yue for her artwork; money that’s rightly deserved by her. We are working out the details with Yue now. We will not be using money from the pop up to pay her. - Finally, and this was certainly the hardest decision of all to make, we are suspending Tristen indefinitely and effective immediately. We’ll be calling all his clients today. - As you all know Tristen was one of our cofounders and he’s put 11 years of work into this studio so we really needed some time over the past 3 very sleepless nights to figure out what’s the right decision, and not rush and make one out of anger. Eventually, the decision was still to suspend him. Right is right and no person should be above that. - It’s not an easy day for us and we’re sorry this happened. And we just want to say while we had some coaching for yesterday’s statement because we felt it had to be more ‘professional’ and ‘official’ sounding, this is us talking. We wrote this. We made these calls, this is us taking a stance we believe in. - Chronic Ink Family
Yue’s initial tweets about the incident have gone viral. Many people have commented and messaged the artists during the past week.
Yue tweeted, “thanks to all [for] supporting me in this, the fact they only responded after I posted on social media shows a lot and I don’t think such quick results would have been achieved without the awareness that was spread.”