The Art of Don Ed Hardy
Including, But Not Limited To
June 30 - August 12, 2012
Curated by Piro Patton & Laurie Steelnik
Don Ed Hardy is an internationally renowned tattoo artist, painter, lithographer, etcher, innovator, scholar of tattoo history and lore and a brand name worldwide. His Tattoo City shop in San Francisco’s North Beach is legendary.
…Don Ed Hardy blew off a Yale fine-art fellowship to pursue the rogue art of tattoo, a timeless and often-taboo tradition that captivated him as a boy in the Orange County beach town of Corona del Mar. By 10 he was drawing cars and eagles on kids’ backs and arms with wet colored pencils and Maybelline eyeliner.
– Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle, 2006
Tattoo has an ancient lineage in human history and is found in cultures all over the world. Japan’s tattooing tradition is thought to extend back to 10,000 BCE. In 1991, a remarkably preserved body from 3,3000 BCE, was found in the mountainous border between Austria and Italy. Dubbed, Otzi the Iceman, his body bore 57 tattoos. Today the art of tattoo has enjoyed a resurgence of enthusiasm as men and women of diverse ages and lifestyles have chosen to decorate their bodies with tattoos.
Hardy completed his B.F.A. degree from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967, where he mastered the art of lithography and intaglio etching, where his primary mentors were Gordon Cook and painter Joan Brown. In 1973, Hardy moved to Japan and studied with the Japanese classical tattoo master Horihide. Hardy incorporates Japanese tattoo aesthetics and technique into many of his American-style tattoos, prints, painting and ceramic paintings. Hardy has continued to produce work in printmaking, drawing, and painting. In honor of the year 2000 and the turn into the 21st Century, Hardy completed a 500-foot long scroll painting of 2000 dragons that was exhibited in galleries and museums.
Retired from tattooing now, Hardy mentors young tattoo artists at Tattoo City in San Francisco and works on his own painting and printmaking. His images have become popular as far away as places like Dubai and Kuala Lumpur through lines of clothing, shoes, bags and other products based on his work.