Ed Hardy

Fashionista Chicago gets the inside scoop on Ed Hardy’s next venture after making it big with his fashion apparel and accessories and what he hopes you will learn from his new DVD, Tattoo The World, just released today!

Mysterious and talented Donald Ed Hardy dreamed of becoming a tattoo artist while other boys at ten years of age were dreaming of becoming a fireman or a policeman.  He was fascinated with art and texture at an early age and found his calling when he visited his first tattoo parlor at ten years of age at the local state fair.  In this new and edgy world, he found solace.  Creating permanent art on the body was the medium that would one day make “Ed Hardy” a global name. With visions of pierced hearts, flaming eyeballs and bloody skulls, Hardy started painting his friends with black Maybelline eyeliner to use as his outline and a bevy of colors to create body art.

As you can imagine, he became a hit and at the same time, a bit of a rogue in the art circle.  But that didn’t stop talented Hardy to pursue his dreams of tattooing. After graduating from the San Francisco Art Institute, he turned down a scholarship at Yale to work with Sailor Jerry Collins, a well-known tattoo artist who got his start by practicing on drifters in Hawaii.  Through his apprenticeship, Hardy went to Japan to study with a Japanese classical tattoo artist Horihide.  This Japanese influence would soon be the turning point in his career, opening new exciting doors back home.

FC:  Mr. Hardy, thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions we have for you. Your inspirations came from various tattoo parlors including a state fair.  What advice would you give a young artist today looking for an edge?

Ed Hardy:  I pursued my path because of a conviction that it might work, and no one else was doing it that way. People should make art because they are compelled to do it—an inner necessity, from a very young age, not through some calculated strategy. It’s a rough choice and for most people ends in disappointment and failure. 

FC:    Being known as the “Godfather” of tattoo artistry, how did you decide to move from permanent ink, to a fluid fashion industry?

Ed Hardy:  I didn’t decide to move into the fashion industry, the two owners of KU, a line of casual apparel with Asian influences based in LA and Tokyo,  approached me about using my classic tattoo designs. They saw an article about a painting show I had in the LA area. I liked what they were doing but didn’t expect anything from it. I was very surprised when it took off.

FC:  Your new DVD releases September 20th, what are you hoping people will receive from your documentary?

Ed Hardy:  That there is more to me and my art than the tattoos, or branded items; it also gives a social/historic context to all this. 

FC:  Lastly, can you give Fashionista Chicago readers an insider only scoop on your next big gig?

Ed Hardy:  I’m working with Joel Selvin, a San Francisco author, on a biography/memoir about my unusual life journey. This will be published by St. Martin’s next year. Also, I’ll have a painting exhibit at Tony Fitzpatrick’s Bucktown studio that opens on Friday, October 28. It’s with two longtime friends, Thom deVita and Nick Bubash, who make a lot of art in more traditional mediums as well as tattoo. We go way back and are all uncategorizable.

The show is titled 3 Aces. I first met Tony in Chicago in ’92, showed with a gallery he had then, and we really clicked. Chicago is a great city and I look forward to the visit after too many years away. 

Thank you so much!

We can’t wait to see you in October.

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