Don Ed Hardy: A Modern Artist
Don Ed Hardy is one of the most influential and successful artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century because he has created some of the most unique pieces of art and created his own style that is portrayed best in his painting “Love Kills Slowly”. Most of his art can be used as tattoos since he is also a famous tattoo artist. His entire life has been dedicated to changing the way art is portrayed. Ever since he started painting and doing tattoos, he has managed to amaze others with his skills. Don Ed Hardy was born in Corona del Mar, New Port Beach, California in 1945 (Hardy Marks, 1999). Ever since he was a child, he had done the best he could to become a tattoo artist. After high school, Hardy decided to attend the San Francisco Art Institute where he would graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking (Sharks Ink, 2003). During his attending college, he also was under a tattooing apprenticeship. This gave him the experience that he needed to fulfill his dream of becoming a tattoo artist. Although he had what it took to permanently color others' skin, he was not satisfied with the skill level he was at. He went to Japan to study the Japanese art form that would mold him into the artist he is today (Sharks Ink, 2003). While living in Japan, he was able to adapt the Japanese culture into his own artwork. This culture that he shows in his art distinguishes him from others and makes his works recognizable. After his enlightening learning experience in Japan, Hardy and his wife moved to the island of Honolulu and started Hardy Marks Publications in 1986. Over the years, Hardy and his wife have published over twenty-five books on art (Hardy Marks, 1999). He also has a tattoo studio that he maintains in San Francisco. At the studio, young adults with ambitions to be tattoo artist train, practice, and learn how to become a professional tattooist. These young artists will use the same type of art that they learn from Hardy's studio, when they develop their skills. Artwork
Japanese style artwork isn't the only skill that Hardy has in his arsenal. He also has learned cholo, tattoo, surf, and hotrod in his many years of doing artwork (CoutureCandy, 2007). Having all of these different styles in his art creates a very interesting result when brought together. This unique blend of different looks gives a look that no other artist can compare to. An example of this form of art is displayed in one of his most famous pieces, “2000 Dragons”. It is a 500 foot long canvas that has 2000 dragons painted on to it by Don. The purpose of the painting was to honor the beginning of the twenty-first century. Many people enjoy 2000 Dragons, so Hardy decided to make it a moving exhibit that travels around the world for people too see.
In September of 1995, Don Hardy organized his own exhibition at The Drawing Center in New York. The exhibition featured works from The Honolulu Academy of Art, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, The San Francisco Fine Arts Museum Achenbach Collection, and the University of Colorado Fine Art Galleries. The exhibition featured about eighty artists in all. Fashion Line
In 2002, Don licensed Ku USA, Inc. to start making clothing based on his art. After a couple years of drawing the attention of the public, the two joined together to form Hardy Life LLC (Associated Press, 2011). In 2004, Christian Audigier licensed the rights to produce the Ed Hardy clothing line, which is made to replicate Hardy's works. In May 2009, Iconix Brand Group announced it had acquired a 50% interest in Hardy Way, LLC, the owner of the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks (Associated Press, 2011). Today the Ed Hardy fashion line makes many different products, all of which are made to look like Don Ed Hardy's art. Products include shirts, pants, shoes, posters, hats, underwear and almost anything that you can wear. The Ed Hardy company doesn't stop there...