“Dragon Tree” Art Print by Sam Flores

The Burlesque Design-produced Sam Flores art print that we previously discussed is now available.  “Dragon Tree” is an 18″ x 18″ TWELVE color screenprint, has an edition of 50, and is $150.  Visit UpperPlaygroundStore.com.

EDIT:  Bumped to the top, new developments in the comments.

140 Responses to ““Dragon Tree” Art Print by Sam Flores”

  1. From above posts, but with actual links:




    More “homages” I guess.

  2. I hope you guys don’t buy shepard fairey. He’s a copycat too. He’s getting sued by the AP. Or banksy either because blek le rat started off with the rats

  3. thank you, I’s Wide Shut!

  4. dun dun duuuuuuunnn

  5. Luis:
    Haha. I think you miss the point, but thats ok…. I think I missed part of your point too….what does this mean? For all of us that are not OGs……

    “Mr. Kinkos doesn’t like his time wasted and you have paper trays that are running dry. I say knock’em all out TIGER.”


    As for those other images, for what it’s worth they are public domain…On top of that, the background is slightly different…they seem more like tribute works…

    I read before that Flores is trying new things and I give him credit for that. I think after reading his alleged post, he learned some stuff.

    Other than that, time will tell. This whole blog posting made me not care for his work as much, but I’m curious to see what he does next.

  6. I want my $ back, not shifted to Jon.

  7. “Tributes” and accidental copying? Wow, that’s a pretty wide berth for this guy.

    We should all be so lucky to get the benefit of the doubt to that degree.

  8. Has anybody considered the circles this come from? We all appreciate a bit of lowbrow art or whatever you want to call it. So these days, now that there is a whole big market for figures, prints, shirts, custom this, whatever the fuck that, books, etc…. someone (and most likely others) takes to ripping other artists in order to produce shit to sell for cold cash. Sure, its nice to have a little bit of work from an artist you like. The majority of people who offer their work through mass produced items or prints will not always be in it solely for cash, but the fact that you can do this is a pretty tempting route.
    Not that I blame others for what Sam Flores did. I blame him for that. How could you believe a painting of a guy covered in tattoos and wearing contemporary clothing was by Arthur Rackham? I call bullshit on that half assed excuse. “Sorry, I meant to copy someone else.” BWAHAHHHHAHAHAHA!

  9. An other one



  10. I think there’s a need to clarify some concepts. The work by Sam is clearly not “Inspired by” but a direct copy and theft. Even in the post by I’s Wide Shut, you can clearly see that there was very little creation coming from Sam, just a grab for money; generation of new prints without any effort or new creative input in order to have something new to sell. If you want to call it inspiration, it has to be something more like hearing a song and generating an image or seeing the angles in an interior design and wanting to write a poem. You can’t just reproduce an image and call it inspiration. It may be legal if the person has been dead for fifty years, but it still makes your creative work uncreative and just a shitty contribution to the history of art.

    Now, there are some exceptions, like when you make no personal claim on the stolen image or images, but conceptually you must steal. There are many examples of this, where artists steal images outright and give credit to the original producers, but then use that image as a small part of their overall creative content. In Sam’s case, however, it wasn’t about recycling work from his contemporaries or any other such commentary on the work that came before him. This is made apparent by the apology; he clearly was not intentionally and unapologetically stealing for commentary, but was stealing for a lack of ability to create his own new content.

    You can also look at denotation versus connotation in a sense. If you steal imagery like this, you could consider the focus and meaning of the work overall. For instance, if Sam had stolen the tree and leaves outright (as he has) but left the dragon out of it, you could argue that it is simply a background—a negative content area. The focus, the purpose, and the message are not contained in the tree and leaves. The tree and leaves are not why people would buy the work. However, the dragon adds an incredible amount of potential message and content and meaning. The audience may be buying the work for the level of meaning that this stolen image adds; they may be paying Sam for the work done by Flores.

    It can be a tricky thing to consider. I think in the three examples of Sam’s rip-offs posted here it is obvious that Sam is stealing both denotation (the actua lines and colors) and connotation (the meaning and expression given to the work). Even if you could justify that he only stole minor elements and that the major message was his own, it’s a shitty way to work.

  11. Wow, this douche is starting to really piss me off. Thanks Johannes for that find.
    We have sam tracing 5 artist now. Keep finding more and lets expose this douche for what he really is.

  12. To me the pictures linked by “I’s Wide Shut” are fine. They look redrawn in Flores’ particular way. They’re very uninteresting, completely devoid of imagination, I’d agree with that, but I don’t think you can call them plagiarism anymore then you could call a redrawing of the ‘Mona Lisa’ in a cartoon-style plagiarism. I think the pictures he drew from there are so well known – and drawn so close to the original – that you couldn’t really imagine him or anyone else trying to pass them off as works of their own imagination. I think it’s utterly lame that someone can get by on such work but I still can’t really see it as plagiarism/biting.

    The picture at the top of the page and the dragon shirt linked by Johannes, however, are undoubtedly plagiarism, I’d say. They’re drawn line-by-line, a trace, and an effort seems to have been made to conceal their origins by choosing such obscure images and taking just bits and pieces from them. I can’t see anyone seriously arguing them a “homage” or “nod” to another artist. With those he seems to have just taken from others because of the limits of his own skills – he chose them not because he wanted to reference another artist but because of the limits of not only his drawing abilities but his imagination.

    Going back to the dragon shirt that Johannes linked. If you go to Google Images and simply type in “dragon” you’ll see something even more damning in the fourth picture from the left. I wonder how many more source pictures can be found with such blunt and simple search terms.

    Looking at that Google page I’m actually kind of impressed that Flores has gotten as far as he has. To me it seems like a possible situation akin to Stephen Glass or something. Friends should be asking themselves now if they’re ever actually seen Flores draw something in front of them, heh. Perhaps the Stephen Glass comparison is too much, maybe ‘the Carlos Mencia of art’ is more reasonable…

  13. I found the real original dragon from the shirt. It’s done by Ciruelo.

    “For sure some of these images painted by Ciruelo are familiar to you.
    They have been reproduced dozens of times on the internet,
    sometimes without the proper copyrights.”


  14. Sam Flores likes to use images that are already made, are already interesting, and that he can imagine another use for. He closely renders from the image, which is his intent at keeping it the way he imagined his deviation. This is called plagiarism. It is illegal to plagiarize–in this case he’s selling the work of other peoples’ with his little characters added to it (which are incredibly boring / lame in my opinion). Sam, as an established artist, should know better not to do that….but he does it anyway because he’s thoughtless. He’s made many very stupid decisions with his artwork, and now he has to pay the price with his reputation.

  15. Awesome – now everyone in the Studio knows who Sam Flores is, and what he is ~ you are going to live on forever Sam, congratulations!

    & Here I even bought something of yours before, such a waste of cash that turned out to be,

    much love.

    Dan. <3

  16. what a load of S**T! are we able to get refunds???

  17. What a thief, I will never buy another piece of “art” from this hack.

  18. Man, what a bunch of shit from all these whiny people.

    1st of all, please stop saying jack shit about copyright law if you don’t know (and so far no one here has indicated they have a JD or cited any statute or case law). Really. STFU. Your opinion on law does not matter one iota.

    2nd, one guy paints dragons (which at least the last time I checked are imaginary) the other guy paints a series of related figures in imaginary settings. Why can’t it just be that the appropriation (or reappropriation) of an imaginary space is the whole point? Maybe dude’s mom died after years of depression and he wants to paint her over and over again in a place he thinks she would be happy. Or maybe his mom is really a dragon herder with a rainbow placemat on its lap and Foster stole the idea from his mind because he wasn’t wearing his special protective hat.

    The problem with drawers or whatever your putzy illustrators call yourselves these days is you appear to be incapable of recognizing art has sort of moved beyond the Medici family commissioning pictures of their lazy asses. Which is not to say that commissions for illustrations is a bad gig or anything, just that “art” is a bigger field than just that so you better get comfortable with conceptual art pooping in your little corner of the sand box.

    Dude said he was trying to take a public domain piece about a fantastic forest and he messed up. He’s obviously done it before and he’s obviously going do it again and that’s okay because that’s what he’s trying to do. If you don’t like what he’s doing go draw pictures of dragons until your parents call you down for dinner. You whiny losers are probably going to criticize me for drawing a picture of R Kelly pissing on the kids in a Norman Rockwell painting because I am copying the background from Norman Rockwell.

    Foster’s obviously accomplished from a technical standpoint. hooray for him. http://www.jonfoster.com/#goto=illustration-1&viewimage=19 (But dude is obviously ripping off Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Ridley Scott at the same time here.)

    Me, I’d rather listen to Nirvana (technically not great musicians) than Joe Satriani (technically a douchebag) BECAUSE I LIKE WHAT THEY’RE DOING EVEN IF IT’S NOT HARD TO DO.

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  20. […] Flores has been keeping kind of a low profile since that whole tracing incident back in 2009. I guess it makes sense to go big when you’ve got nothing more to lose. To that extent, The […]

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