Celebrity tattoo artist Kat Von D has been under the spotlight lately over the infamous “Miles Davis case” that started in 2021. She recently won the lawsuit, and in a recent Instagram video, she opened up about the trial, saying that she’s still “traumatized” from the entire process.
But first, some background. It all started when photographer Jeff Sedlik sued Kat Von D over her 2017 tattoo based on his photo of Miles Davis from 1989. Sedlik got his day in court in late 2023, and his lawyer claimed that Von D was “attempting to precisely replicate every aspect of the Iconic Miles Davis portrait in the form of a tattoo.”
On the other hand, when Von D appeared in L.A. court, her lawyer, expectedly, told a different story:
“Kat Von D” ‘s interpretation of Miles Davis had a sentiment that was more [melancholic] than Mr. Sedlik’s. And you’ll see that it has movement that’s not found in his. Kat Von D did not attempt to monetize the tattoo in any way. She did not make photos of prints that she sold. She didn’t sell tee shirts or mugs. She didn’t sell products in any way.”
The saga has ended for now, with Von D winning the case. However, she’s convinced that Sedlik will appeal the judge’s decision. This is just one of the things she said in the seven-minute-long video she shared on Instagram.
“It has been a really heavy week, no, a heavy two years. I think I’m still a little bit traumatized by the entire experience. I have never been sued in my entire life. I’ve never sued anybody, even though I’m sure I definitely have had reason to, but I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemy.”
Von D claims that Sedlik only filed a lawsuit as he “saw this as an opportunity to gain publicity” and that she didn’t have “anything nice to say about this photographer.”
“I knew that if I didn’t fight, the effects of something like this would be so awful for not just tattooers, but artists across the board as well as people who get tattooed and people who love fan art.”
She adds that she herself has been “ripped off many times” by big corporations for profit. She adds, however, that her tattoo of Miles Davis wasn’t one of those cases. “Cases like this kill the spirit of the creative process and the gift that we’re able to give the people that we tattoo through our interpretations of artwork and photographs and whatever else.”
After the verdict on Monday, Sedlik’s lawyer, Robert Allen, confirmed Von D’s assumptions: the photographer plans to appeal the verdict. “Obviously, we’re very disappointed,” he said.
“There are certain issues that never should have gone to the jury. The first, is whether the tattoo and the photograph were substantially similar. Not only are they substantially similar, but they’re strikingly similar.”
So, I guess that the saga will continue.