It’s currently fashionable among hip young people to hate on the various lines of Ed Hardy clothing, shoes, coffee cups etc that apparently generate tens of millions of dollars in sales around the world. The bureau chief, who prefers his clothes without images or visible trade marks, has no problem with that reaction but there is a delightful historical irony to the scorn. That tattoos are now popular and indeed virtually omnipresent among young people, in a way that was impossible to imagine in the 1960s, is because of the very same Ed Hardy and also of Lyle Tuttle.
This is made clear in Emiko Omori’s excellent documentary, “Ed Hardy Tattoo the World”. (Full disclosure: Emiko is a friend of myself and Madame Le Chef). The film is not currently in theaters but will hopefully be out on DVD later this year. Madame Le Chef and I were lucky enough to see a screening of it at the San Francisco Art Institute where Ed Hardy was an undergraduate print-making student in the 1960s. He was good enough to be offered a graduate fellowship to Yale but he turned away from "fine art" and entered the then outré world of tattooing.
Hardy worked as a tattooist for 40 years and only stopped a couple of years ago to devote himself totally to painting, drawing, ceramics and other forms. He currently has a show at the SFMOMA Artist's Gallery at Fort Mason if any Bay Area readers are interested. We saw it this past Saturday.
The gallery is in a great setting. Click.
A self portrait.
I don't know Russian.