“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. Hot! I grabbed one. Got an email saying that they aren’t charging my card until the order gets fulfilled. I hope it isn’t sold out. =/

  2. This was up for sale as of yesterday morning, while there are only 50 I would assume that if they sold out they would have noticed in the 24 hours since.

  3. That’s standard practice for them. They did it to me with my Abraham Obama and others. They just wait until the order is shipped to charge a CC.

  4. yeah thats their steez. i freaked when i saw a 200 dollar charge months after i ordered something, then realized what was up. ps, this print is the dope. it apparently takes an ill recession to keep stuff like this around for more than 24 hours…….

  5. Sam we should talk.

    Jon Foster

  6. Huh, this is certainly interesting……

    From Jon Foster’s site:


    Jon, have anymore light to shed on this?

  7. Well no help from upper playground. seems I may have to speak with a Lawyer.


  8. yikes!

  9. Man that’s fucked…I was thinking about buying one. I’m glad I didn’t now.
    Jon’s is waaay better looking anyhow.
    Good luck Jon.

  10. Oh dear…

  11. WOW! Looks like a complete ripoff to me.

  12. I meant by Sam.

  13. Meh, similar but different. Don’t lawyer up Jon, you’re not gonna win this one like the AP is not going to win against Shep.

  14. Hmm, it looks to me like a line by line grab.

  15. weak . . .

  16. MikeG, look at it closely. The dragon and parts of the tree are almost exactly the same.

  17. Wow; that is interesting. Sam’s a talented dude; not really sure why he’d do something like that. Regardless; it’s pretty brutal. Jon and Sam definitely need to talk

  18. How could that happen – Mr Flores is established there must be some logical reason here.

  19. I would fire a quick legal letter to playground requesting that these do not be released into the public domain until settled ASAP.

  20. Moog-
    These have already been released and have sold out.

  21. I just officially lost all respect for Sam.. that’s pretty low.

  22. Sam will call Shep’s lawyers and you’ll be fucked.

  23. Well, Sam’s is definitely too close to Jon’s for comfort…but before we call anyone out, is there any chance they’re both based off some old Japanese piece or something? I know next to nothing about Asian art, but seems like there’s an outside chance each could be “borrowing heavily” from some centuries-old print. For all I now.

    Of course, if Jon’s is truly original and was out first, then, there’s something to talk about.

  24. *blink blink* wow.
    that’s just blatant.

  25. Do keep in mind that many artists play off of other pieces. However, this seems to be a little too close for comfort. And if it was meant to pay homage to Jon, then it could’ve been mentioned somewhere, otherwise the general poster collector will attribute this concept to Sam.

  26. Similar but different? No, one is original and one is a copy of that original with a different figure put in.
    Fair use doesn’t cover reproduction for financial gain (same medium even, and he can’t cry ‘parody’ or ‘public domain’ here)

    Flores’ rep should take a hit on this one, awful stuff.

  27. Comparing the two, it seems to be that it’s a blatant rip-off of someone’s work… Like Mr. Smith said, it could be based on some older Asian artworks, but after taking a look at Jon’s website, it appears that the guy has some MAD talent and needs to get his shop up & running… Really, compare the 2. Christ, Sam could have at least moved/deleted a few of the leaves or branches… Instead it looks like he just inserted his own figure and ripped off the rest… Either way, I think that Jon is spot on and Sam… not sure what to say about Sam until he responds…

  28. I think all judgments be held back until Sam F responds – he is to public and to experienced.

  29. This is a pic with Jon’s on top with 50% opacity


  30. tronics

  31. Sam Flores is a douche for bitting of a living artist composition like that!

  32. What an utter hack. Pathetic.

  33. WoW i am glad i passed on this piece i would rather have Jons a lot better.

  34. Honestly, Sam “ripping off” your art may be the best thing to happen to your career. How else would you get so much publicity and get an instant audience for your art? Get your sh*t together on your website and start selling something.

  35. Wow. That’s some bite. Looks like Sam took “Great artists steal.” to heart… And yeah, Jon’s is way better.

    I agree with KS though– get it sorted and put it on sale.

  36. I guess people like ks have no idea who jon foster is. You should do your research before making any comments like that. Jon Foster is LEGENDARY!
    There’s no need to help out his career.
    Ripping off someone art is NEVER the best thing to anyones career. whether your a nobody or the most famous guy on the planet. of course you would have to be an artist to fully understand why!

  37. Jon Foster is a very successful and well respected illustrator. I don’t think he needs the publicity.

  38. Oops.

    But seriously, how hard is it to draw a different freakin tree. Add a branch or something. Make it different. But no, you gotta go and steal a peer’s work? Weak. I hope there’s a good explanation.

  39. Thanks for the 50% opacity picture. I think that tells the WHOLE story. Very good idea and shows that Sam almost completely ripped off Jon.

  40. someone over at EB posted this animated gif to show the line for line rip off:

    break out the popcorn.

  41. Very compelling gif. Wait a sec… Sam’s version has the dragon head a tiny bit higher and to the left. Ok, he changed it a bit, he’s off the hook 😉

  42. Jon is a great illustrator, it is a bummer this happened. I never really dug Sam’s stuff anyway (personally, not my style) but now I have less respect for him as a artist.

    This is a bit more than coincidence.

    Fight it Jon.

  43. Yup, the dragon’s head has moved, the background is gone, the flowers are gone. I was unable to reproduce the same effect with any automated tracing software, so at least it’s a hand job. It’s odd that the dragon’s head has moved slightly but not changed, while the rest of the content is exactly in place. Also, the figures occupy relatively the same space: the woman’s knees are in roughly the same space previously occupied by the boy’s one right knee. hmmmm….

    I clicked through to the comments because of the “controversy,” but it looks like a simple rip off to me.

    Here’s another comparison, which helps to show them both simultaneously.


  44. Shep is always stealing images and people are OK with it. I see nothing different here. Flores is still a great artist!!

  45. wow……

  46. well, i was on eb and people question which image came out first….
    and I found this old blog post…..


  47. come on sam say something

  48. So yeah, I hate to be the guy who says it, but I’m pretty sure we know Sam ripped Jon off. I doubt he’ll waste his time posting anything.

    Although I’m not a huge fan of Sam’s work, I can’t deny his talent. Don’t be too harsh on him, please. It’s just the way art works. Sergio Leone blatantly ripped of Kurosawa and he got sued to hell and back. It didn’t mean he was a bad director. He just got caught.

    Regardless, way to push this to the front, Mitch. Jon does amazing work, and without your site, I’d have never known. Hopefully Sam doesn’t make this mistake again.

  49. Jon Riley,
    Although Sergio Leone (and George Lucas for that matter) borrowed/stole themes, plots, and characters from Kurosawa. It was not an exact line for line lift of the dialogue from the script. As was in this case.

    Don’t be too harsh on him? This puts in question the entirety of Sam Flores’ past catalog. What else of his was stolen from someone else?

    In the creative field, integrity is everything. (IMO of course) It’s just way too easy nowadays to go online and lift other people’s work and include them in your portfolio. And in this case… he sold it and made money from work done by a peer thinking he wouldn’t be caught.

  50. mario –
    That’s right. I have no idea who “legendary” Jon Foster is…and I don’t really think my life is any worse off for not knowing. And I’m sure some people have no idea who Sam Flores is. That’s why everyone needs to get over themselves. And now I DO know who Jon Foster is, thanks to Sam.
    Focus on what you’re gonna do NEXT to overcome someone ripping your stuff off. It’s all about innovation and then moving on to the next thing and not caring who rips you off because you’re already next-level. If people care about your work, then you’ll get your defense when someone rips you off. If no one cares or only cares for a minute, well then that says something, doesn’t it?
    If you think you have a case, then lawyer up. This is America, home of the sue-happy.

  51. Jon is a very well established award winning artist. I assumed everyone knew who he was. Sam did. Obviously. Not only knew him but admired the work enough to bite it. I think it’s very unfortunate that another artist would resort to blatant copying of this nature.

  52. this is so completely f’d up! not that someone did this, people rip people off all the time. but that FLORES did this! geezus, what a way to sabotage your career.

    and yeah, calls into question his whole catalog of artwork. though to be fair, most of his stuff is figure drawings, and those are probably his. but anything with a background, etc….well its all fair game.

    i would expect Sam to address this if he expected it to not follow him around forever.


  53. Unless these are both based off similar source material, Flores has a lot of explaining to do… That being said, i saw his exit show at SVA and the work was way better. Now all he does is keep drawing the same figure repeatedly doing different poses in japanese environs… I’m amazed how much people are eating them up…. The Jon Foster piece is 1000 times better… i’m pretty sad and have lost a large amount of the respect I had left for flores…

    totally weak… And since he still hasn’t defended himself i’m pretty sure he’s being legally bound not to say anything or something… or is just too busy counting his money…

  54. man i really dug flores’s work but his lack of response has killed it for me.. man

  55. Jon Foster is about as big as it gets in illustration right now, and this piece is extremely well known. I can only wonder if this was somehow intended to be an Obvious refernce to Jon’s piece? Is there a ‘concept’ along those lines that we’re missing? It’s plagiarism either way, I just wonder if it’s as “sneaky” as it would seem. Either way, the piece is bad on a lot of levels.

  56. I found this page fantastically interesting, especially after having visited the comments here…


  57. If you’re goal was to become a famous and remembered artist Mr. Sam Flores. Congratulations! I never knew of you before but now I’ll remember your name for a analogy for being a complete hack and rip-off artist.

    “Ah man, check out that! that artist just floresed ou!”

    Hope Jon can get this worked smoothly with his lawyers and shut this tit down.

  58. This is just pathetic.

    Ripping off another artists work, passing it off as your own AND making money from is is just the lowest form of scumbaggery an artist can do.

  59. sam flores should get the douche of the year award!

  60. People talking about how “this is just the nature of art” just don’t get it. This is just plain lazy and wrong.

    Jon has every right to get a lawyer, and Flores owes him every cent he made from these prints. There is no gray area on this.

  61. Before you all pass judgement I would wait for an explanation. This could be based from a vintage peice before both their times or it could straight out be a remix of Foster’s version. What we don’t know is the intent. I personally dislike this peice from Sam, but too each their own. There are much much better art that Sam has created that have never made print copies. Everyone is inspired from someone. Why don’t you guys ask Sam on his blog or site?

  62. Additional interesting comments on Concept Art Lounge and Kidsrobot Discussion Boards. I hope Sam is not really so cavelier about all of this.

  63. Seriously, boingy? I think an innocent would have explained himself by now to protect his reputation.

  64. I bought this print at his show in Los Angeles at the Subliminal Projects gallery….then it was a print of 200….and now he reprints them again…

    hmmmmm….stoked i have it as controversy now surrounds it, but sad too

    well like others said, very happy to have been turned on to Jon Foster…SICK WORK

  65. Boingy, how long should we have to wait for an explanation? If Flores didn’t do anything wrong then the explanation should be pretty easy to come by. This is some sorry bullshit.

  66. Boingy, something tells me you own several pieces from sam. FIrst off Jon would NEVER trace something like that. He’s an illustrator, they give him a problem and he solves it. He doesn’t go searching for answers in a vintage piece. I know because I’ve seen him draw on several occasions. You tell Jon what angle, birds eye, ants view or fish bowl and he’ll draw it instantly. He can draw from imagination like no other. Sam on the other hand has no drawing skills or imagination. He can only draw frontal view, that’s why he repeats the same thing over and over again. Like this piece, If you see any of his works with a birds eye view on top of a tree, then he’s looking at a someone. He just don’t have that drawing skills required to pull something off like that.

  67. […] shock when it was pointed out that one of his most recent limited edition prints (advertised here: http://omgposters.com/2009/07/23/dragon-tree-art-print-by-sam-flores/, noted for plagiarism in the comments) appears to be almost entirely lifted from a painting by […]

  68. You hit the nail on the head, esther.

  69. Not only is Jon a terrific artist, but he is kind and humble as well. He is probably worrying about making trouble for this guy; wonder if this guy is concerned about this at all. I hope Jon DOES get a lawyer, but he probably won’t, thinking that others have the same integrity he does…I hope that doesn’t encourage MORE of this sort of thing… I hope Sam is very, very grateful…not just for the “inspiration”, but the CONSIDERATION…frankly, I think maybe a lesson needs to be learned here…by Sam…

  70. Jon should consider the legal route, especially considering Flores’s silence on the matter. Truly shameful behaviour. Apart from Flores’s generic and repetitive figure the image is Jon’s. Concerning KS’s insightful comments about innovation and moving on, then familiarising himself with Jon’s output could well open his eyes to what dedication to craft and invention really means.

    For the life of me I cannot understand why any artist would want to swipe/copy so blatantly. It’s a pointless excercise for anyone who want’s to advance their skills, but hey, maybe it’s about the money instead of self discovery.

  71. i had no idea who Jon Foster was. now galleries and illustration firms across the globe will see your work. Hats off to Mr. Flores for the unexpected helping hand.
    and now i really want one of those flores prints.

  72. I’ve been following this thread here, on OMG, and the Giant and kidrobot forums (I’m sure it’ll be all over the Banksy forum soon enought, if it isn’t already). In the interest of full disclosure, I say this up front – I don’t know Mr. Flores, although I have met him at his previous shows in L.A. Yes, I am a fan of his work, but am trying to take a step back and look at this objectively. To that end, I offer my thoughts:

    I find it very interesting that people are jumping to conclusions on this (on both sides of the issue – both pro- and anti-SF) when very little facts have actually been disclosed. The only facts we currently have are (1) the two, admittedly, very similar looking images and (2) a post by an artist (Mr. Foster or someone portending to be Mr. Foster) to OMG asking SF to get in touch with him.

    Now, I don’t know Mr. Foster either, but I find it odd that he would contact OMG to try to get in touch with SF. Clearly other channels could have been explored first. Also, did he really believe that SF would be reading the comments on OMG and thereby get in touch with him? Not to take anything away from OMG, which is a fantastic site, but I doubt it, so I suspect that there may be other reasons behind the communication that occurred some 3 months after the image was originally put out on the internet and sold.

    Situations often occur, especially in the music industry, whereby parties may be negotiating a deal behind closed doors. When one party is not receiving the sort of deal that he/she/it believes they are entitled to, the issue may be released to the public as a way of putting added pressure on the other party. It’s happened over claims of copyright infringement, licenses pertaining to sample clearance and it happens in other areas of civil litigation all the time. Now, I’m not saying that this is what is going on with this case, but similar tactics are employed in negotiating deals all the time.

    Which is why I question why Mr. Foster would post a single entry to OMG about this, yet in the 2 days since his post, offer up no other facts or explanation. Is this a case where Mr. Foster woke up 2 days ago, saw the SF image, and then decided to take action? Maybe. Did SF simply copy the image in order to pass it off as his own? Maybe. But there are also a myriad of other possible explanations for this including a collaboration gone wrong, displeasure with an insufficient license fee, or, as someone pointed out, an unknown source material that both artists borrowed liberally from.

    The key point is that we just don’t know enough at this time and should really hold off on reaching any judgment until both artists explain the situation to the public/their fans.

  73. NOT Jon Foster – what makes you think private attempts to get in contact have not been made? OMG is selling the print, thats a good reason to contact OMG in addition to SF.

    “A collaboration gone wrong”? That piece is a book cover. It was commissioned by a publisher. Sam Flores was not involved in that process several years ago.

    To suggest that Jon’s piece is copying something to the same degree that SF’s is, well that’s just insulting. The dragon is a character that Jon has been commissioned to portray multiple times over the course of the book series. From different angles, in different actions, etc. I can tell you don’t know how to draw based on your commentary.

    “yet in the 2 days since his post, offer up no other facts or explanation” – Jon’s not the one who needs to offer an explanation here. Wake up.

    It sounds like you’re more interested in finding excuses for SF than facing facts.

  74. McLean, I was never selling the print, just posting about it.

    I think Jon just probably thought this would be a good place to point it out so that people know.

    I’m pretty sure it was the real Jon Foster, and that he has a legitimate complaint.

  75. Passerby – Jon’s work is in bookstores all over the country, and he has an extremely passionate fanbase (as I’m sure we’re all seeing in these comments). Illustrators usually know who Jon Foster is. As stated before, there is little value to Jon in SF ripping off his artwork.

    I guess its nice that you would like to see SF’s actions in a positive light, but I feel its a view that only those outside of the industry will be able to embrace.

  76. admin – my mistake! Sorry about that.

  77. wow this is awesome- some people need to be shot in the head- not even talking about the artist.


  78. Jon is a well known and established in many areas of illustration from storyboards to comics, book covers, teacher etc. people are saying shit like look at the facts blah lets see the logical reason there is none its black and white in your face why lie to yourself or deny that. Sure Sam has done some ok pieces but this shows low behavior in our industry. im actually really angry cause i have met Jon and he is a great individual and seeing him talk about his process and his hard work and having a fellow artist do that, man that is not right. sue his ass every artist has the right to protect ones works from douchbags like this. keep drawing the same thing over and over Sam Flores pshhhh..

  79. i love the drama….u go Jon Foster

  80. $150 for a limited edition rip-off? bargain! sam should be ashamed!

  81. Jon- we’re behind you all the way!

  82. Wait a minute! Both of these look like the classic 1940’s “No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” Burger King Ad…….


  83. hahah classic Isaac!

  84. Lol.

  85. First and foremost, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone I’ve offended regarding a mistake I’ve made recently reinterpreting a Jon Foster image. Before I explain the carelessness that led to this, I want you to know that I have already contacted him directly and offered all compensation made from the posters, as well as a public apology for not thoroughly researching my source of inspiration. I was looking online awhile ago searching for old illustrations from the 1900s and came across a small image of a tree painting that I dragged to my desktop. It was on the same page as Arthur Rackham’s paintings, and my mistake was assuming it also belonged to Rackham, and revisiting the image without thorough research, i wanted to have one of my characters visiting his painting as sort of a homage not to pass it off as my own. There’s absolutely no excuse for this neglect on my behalf, and I’ve learned a huge lesson in all this to always do your homework. I never intended to deliberately use his art and pass it off as my own. My biggest regret, however, was meeting such a talented artist under such unfortunate and preventable circumstances, and undermining his work on account of my negligence. Once again, I apologize if I let anyone down and promise to be more responsible as a working artist humbly in the presence of exceptionally talented peers.

  86. i think this thread is a little “over dramatic”
    geez people, lighten up

  87. Good job sam on manning up!

  88. Yup, good to see Sam step up and give a good explanation. Hopefully every one can now move on.

  89. Nice to see the thoughtful response and action taken by Sam. It’s often true that things look worse than they are.

  90. Well said, Sam Flores.

  91. not trying to get flamed or anything but how do we know that is in fact the real sam flores. I mean I can make any name to post here. Just saying it could be very likely that’s not the real sam flores.

  92. Yeah, bob theory is correct. How do you guys know if im really obama or not.
    But seriously, either same is lying his pants off or he just clueless about art.
    If he cant tell the difference between an artist from the 1900’s (Arthur Rackham) and a contemporary artist (Jon Foster) then he shouldn’t even be doing art.

  93. A truly shocking ripoff. Dead or alive, you can’t replicate an artists work without out justifying it. “I never intended to deliberately use his art and pass it off as my own.” Well I think you did, no other way about it.

  94. Satisfactory. Who hasn’t ever in their life fcked up before? We’ve all been there. Case is closed for me and I can be the biggest prck there is sometimes. Sam, at this point my advice to you is, do a couple of charity prints or some sht like that to get some positive vibes going. Good luck.

  95. Thank you Sam, but I do want to be clear to all reading. I would like the image that used my work to be taken down and no other financial gain made by it’s use.

    Also to be clear as I have read that some or misconstruing Sam’s message, I have not asked for or taken any money from Sam.

  96. First of all, just for clarification, “NOT Jon Foster” borrowed my post to other forums and posted it here. Kinda funny that this would happen in a posting dealing with purported plagiarism. :)

    Which leads to my second point, just as “bob” stated above, unless Mitch can verify and authenticate, we have no idea who is posting under these names, whether it be Jon Foster and/or Sam Flores. Something to keep in mind for this and all postings on the internet.

    And in response to McKlean, the point of my original post was that no one (not you, myself or anyone) should jump to conclusions until all of the facts are known. This is not a defense of SF or an attack on Mr. Foster, it’s just a practical way that we should all strive to handle ourselves. To often we as a society rush to judge others. Sometimes that conclusion may be right, but often times it is not. That was the point of the post. Again, a call to both sides (anti-SF’ers and pro-SF’ers) to keep a calm head and wait for the outcome …


  97. Everything seems to be straighten up. Some people are more offended than Jon who’s work was ripped off. Sam has fucked up, apologized and Jon is a nice guy enough not to make huge deal out of it. All he wants is his work to be removed and not used to make profit off of. Much respect for the guy.

  98. Wow.

    If that was SF post and it sounded like it was then that it sounded like a clean self inflicted shot into the testicles – Clean off across the yard.

    If plagiarism is the basis of culture the SF is up there with Mr Brainwash !

    Interesting thread indeed.

  99. For what it’s worth, the IP on the Sam Flores post is indeed from The Bay Area.

  100. From now on, every time I look at a piece of his I will always ask myself, “I wonder where he swiped that background from”. Sorry for my cynicism, but why did it take nearly a week to come up with this (un)likely scenario? And why not post it on his personal web site as well? That would be preferable since the topic of Sam Flores: Plagiarist has since spread to at least 5 other art forums… Like “bob” said, anyone could have posted as “sam flores”. This incident has put into question the integrity of his entire body of work.

  101. “I was looking online awhile ago searching for old illustrations”…. that’s how most artist work these days.. lol..

  102. Sam should give ALL of the profits to charity. Just because Jon is a great guy, doesn’t mean SAM should continue to profit—Jon is NOT being compensated and has not asked for any comp., Sam just said he “offered”—it is still up for sale and SAM should still be ashamed—give the money to charity and be VERY grateful to Jon—he is awesome—Sam, NOT so much.

    Maybe Sam should have gone to art school—not for technique but for humility…and fairness…

  103. I’m so tired of reading …yawn…

  104. sam, while we have your attention, which of your other prints are inspired by earlier works?

  105. ok nice apology. makes me like him a little bit more as a human being. but as an artist, it still doesn’t matter. Sam still ripped someone off, doesn’t matter if the victim of the rip is dead or alive. a clear trace is a clear trace. there’s nothing really to discuss here, art wise and legal wise. jon is just being a good guy about it.

  106. Unfortunately Sam is heavily influenced by other artists. Check out his paintings on his site and google Jakuchu Ito and Katsushika Hokusai. Even more cases of tracing elements and supposedly making them his own. His explanation was only given when he was caught, and it is a clear disappointment.

  107. weak excuse sam… Man up and admit you stole it and got caught.

  108. Glad that’s cleared up.

  109. @ Luke

    Wow…good call.

    Jakuchu Ito:


    Flores website:

    In Paintings, 1st column, 3rd one down

    Pretty much what he did to Jon Foster’s illustration…

  110. I feel somewhat bad for Flores. I really don’t think he can draw and yet he’s somehow fallen into this as his profession. He just reuses the same character from the same two angles again and again and again, like a child who can only draw that one thing well. His backgrounds generally look more skilled but given the clear limits displayed with the re-use of the character from the same angle (to the point that it’s like a clipart stamp), and what’s been proven above, I’m going to guess that all his backgrounds are the result of tracing.

  111. Well said Charles.

  112. http://ursispaltenstein.ch/blog/images/uploads_img/hokusai.jpg

    on sams site second row fourth down…..
    I dunno sam….

  113. I think it is funny that people are easily swayed from one direction to the other. I guess it is all part of “when hiding behind a computer, people will say anything” .

    Sam comes on here and posts a paragraph which says “I AM SORRY” and then people assume that Sam is a good guy now. He might be a good guy but he is a thief. This douche had a show at subliminal projects and sells this print and states it is an edition of 50. THEN he re-prints the image and sells it on Upperplayground. Dragon Tree has brought a lot of attention and praise to Flores that is priceless. I also see that UP has changed the pre-sale of Flores most recent print that iss called “Jungle Baby” . You can no longer order the print because in BOLD letters it states “NOT FOR SALE”. It looks like UP is doing the right thing.

  114. What’s up with that piece of sht Sam Flores Dragon Tree print still up after Jon Foster asked Sam to take it down. Dude, it’s not up for negotiation. Jon Foster said in no uncertain terms to take it down. When the person you stole from asks you to take down the stolen image, you take it down. Sam Flores had time to change the description of the ad at UpperPlayground but not to take the entire ad down entirely? Lame.

    And what is up with the change in the copy of the that weak Dragon Tree print? You changed “Sold Out” to “Not For Sale”? Are you going to try and make things right or are you playing games? That POS Dragon Tree print was Sold Out. Let me repeat,, you SOLD OUT 50 prints at $150. You made $7,500 on that edition. Even more ($15,000??) if it was a re-printing of a previous 50 edition.

    It takes 5 minutes to take an image down. You were already in the code to change the copy. But you intentionally ignored Jon Foster’s request and left the image up and Live on UpperPlayground. WTF are you waiting for?

  115. 3d – It’s not on the store. I just searched for it. But if you already have the link, you can make it come up. God. Take your hate elsewhere.

  116. And, only 50 of these prints were made, everyone!
    I did my research. Sam bought down some of the 50 and artists’ proofs to the show.

  117. To all on this thread that talk like gangsters behind their computers… If you’ve got so much to say why not go talk to Sam’s face. Sam is an OG writer and I guarantee you will get your teeth knocked out.
    HATERS Sipping too much Hater-Ade. Get back to work,
    Mr. Kinkos doesn’t like his time wasted and you have paper trays that are running dry. I say knock’em all out TIGER.

  118. lets move on folks. I think sam gets the picture.

  119. From Sam’s fan collective: “Lets just wish it away now. it’s only hurtful to collectors that paid $5000 for Sam’s paintings. furthermore, *most* of the artists he has *appropriated* from were already dead. this is a victimless crime. Sam has been wrist-slapped, and has learned his lesson. he promises to be more discreet about his *sources of inspiration* next time. rather than trace things line for line, maybe he’ll invert or flip them 180 degress or something. love and happiness forever. let’s drink to that”

  120. KS- there is also 2 other colorways: 1) with black background 2) with a dark tan background. Both are limited to /12.

  121. From above posts, but with actual links:




    More “homages” I guess.

  122. 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

  123. thank you, I’s Wide Shut!

  124. dun dun duuuuuuunnn

  125. 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.

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

  127. “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.

  128. 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!

  129. An other one



  130. 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.

  131. 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.

  132. 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…

  133. 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.”


  134. 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.

  135. 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

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

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

  138. 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.

  139. Make your own life time easier get the loans and everything you require.

  140. […] 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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