Don Ed Hardy "Flying" 2006 – Acrylic on archival synthetic paper
Don Ed Hardy
Acrylic on archival synthetic paper
12 x 8 inches
Framed 16 3/16 x 11 11/16 in.
A Southern California native born in 1945, Hardy acted on his childhood determination to become a tattoo artist and underwent a tattoo apprenticeship while simultaneously receiving a B.F.A. degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967. Considered one of the founders of modern tattooing, he developed the artistic and expressionistic potential of the medium with emphasis on its Asian heritage. In 1973 he lived in Japan, studying with a traditional tattoo master—the first non-Asian to gain access to that world. He resumed these studies in Japan throughout the 1980s. Hardy pioneered the pop-culture tattoo-as-art space decades before the worldwide boom in tattoo art that permeates popular culture.
In 1982 he and his wife, Francesca Passalacqua, formed Hardy Marks Publications and have written, edited and published over twenty-five books on alternative art. Now in its second printing, Tattooing the Invisible Man pays homage to Hardy’s lifetime of work. In addition to showing his own works at galleries and major museums, Hardy has curated a number of exhibitions including the groundbreaking Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos at the Drawing Center in New York and he frequently lectures at museums and universities.
His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, books, and films internationally. In 2000, he was appointed by Oakland mayor Jerry Brown to that city’s Cultural Arts Commission and he awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2004 “Ed Hardy”, a major fashion line featuring his artwork, was launched internationally. Hardy and his wife now divide their time between Honolulu and the San Francisco Bay area.