Don Ed Hardy:
Who would have ever though that tattoos would have played such an important part in the fashion industry. Something that started off as the symbol of courage and power and at the other end as disgrace of exile and crime.
One of the people who made it big in the art of tattooing is Don Ed Hardy.
Don Ed Hardy was born in 1945 in Costa Mesa, California. He is based in America most famously known for his amazing tattoo designs and more importantly his enormous apparel and accessories brand, Ed Hardy. He graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute with a Bachelor of fine arts in printmaking. Hardy’s professor was one of the most renowned tattoo artist, Sailor Jerry Collins, cause of his accusation Hardy was able to study tattooing in japan in 1973. Soon after hardy settled with his work in tattooing his wife and him started a publication house called “ Hardy mark publications.” Under this marque they published a 5 series book called Tattootime. They published many more books after this one sold out well. Since hardy has studied under Sailor Jerry, his designs are highly similar to the ones of his professor and the other of hardy’s designs have the Japanese touch to it too as he studied those too. Hardy started his practicing his skills since a very young age and his professor would help him out too. He had a tough started since the time he had his first proper studio for tattooing. He is known as the “God Father of modern tattoo.”
In 1977, Ed Hardy opened his first tattoo store “Tattoo City” in San Fransisco. With his outstanding tattoo technique, Ed Hardy successfully opened a new era in tattoo land.
In 1978 the tattoo store was burned down by a big fire, the store had not even lasted for one year. Everything was vanished in one day and Ed Hardy opened a simple store in order to keep his work until 1980. In the meantime the destroyed store had been repaired and reopened.
Hardy opened his second store in 1991 and in 1992 his third store.
After all the hardships he had came a better time for him when he was approached by Christian Audigier who had designed lines for brands like Diesel, Naf Naf, Von Dutch, Levi’s, Kookai and Lee.
“My life has always been in pictures. I’ve been drawing obsessively since the age of three and have always been interested in people’s stories and the stores that pictures tell. Initially the ones that were the most exotic, mysterious or fantastic were what held my interest. Eventually, I came to value subtler kinds of narrative, and I realize that a lot of the important stuff wasn’t necessarily logical or linear or (perhaps) could even properly be called a “story”, but is the communication of something unique, even in its abstract or formal elements. This transmission of specific experience and sensation gives it power. Sometimes the content of the picture is a mystery even to the person who made it, and that’s where it gets good and makes creating things worthwhile. It takes us beyond ourselves and our conscious intentions and moves into the realm of what you could call art. It’s fortunate to be able to maneuver in that realm, and I’ve kept aiming at that, trying to activate things. Tattooing is the medium that allowed me to do that
I took up the practice out of a combination of economic necessity and artistic curiosity. It was an option that would give me both a challenge and an opportunity to be an independent agent and develop its potential as an expressive medium. At the same time, it’s “outsider” status was hugely compelling. Tattooing in the 1960’s was the most formally undeveloped and socially provocative medium I could think of, relegated in the public perception to the underworld of sailors, bikers and criminals. It seemed absurd to me that the tools of tattooing, the pigments, machines and the designs made with them were being used in such a limited fashion. Far-flung sociological and philosophical speculation aside, tattooing is a commercial art in contemporary Western society. I wanted to become successful at the business itself and simultaneously grow as an artist. Happily, these two forced went hand in hand. With the trust and encouragement of many others in the field, as well as legions of clients bringing me their concepts and skins, it has been an amazing and fulfilling journey. This book is an attempt to clarify for myself how it all fits together. Art that somehow feeds back to recognition or resonance in the viewer has gradually become devalued, and this medium has been a way for me to keep that function alive.”
These are some of the words that are said by Don Hardy himself, this pretty much clears why and how he got his interests in the art of tattooing. His aim was to not only earn or make a living out of what he did but to grow and learn more in the at that he practiced, he even wrote his books to connect to the people out there and to keep the function alive
Evolution of form:
The real evolution of the tattoos happened when Don Ed Hardy was approached by the French designer Christian Audigier who wanted to use Don Ed Hardy’s tattoo designs to create an apparels brand. No one but Christian would have made ed hardy have such a big name, he made sure hardy’s brand was worn by all the leading celebrities such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Sylvester Steelton.
Hardy agreed to the idea of him changing his tattoos to wearable and even make his dream come true which was “ wear your dreams” hardy had this typo on on one of his tattoo which means he wanted everyone to get his tattoo and if they couldn’t permanently get them atleast wear his clothes
The brand was subsequently by extensively licensed< at one point having 70 sub licenses. As time passed by the brand grew and everyone wanted it was flashed at school to malls to even red carpets. Since the brand was doing so well they started producing other products such as lighters, perfumes, shoes, hair styling tools and even condoms.
The ed hardy store was located in san Francisco, new york, los angeles, boston, seattle, Minneapolis, Honolulu, Scottsdale, Tucson, Vancouver, dubai, Johannesburg, Kuwait, kuala lumpur, Bangkok, dehli and Mumbai and even Qatar. Ed hardy as we all know and most used to love was extremely popular for the time peaking at more than $700 million in the gross revenue in 2009 but quickly collapsed in 2010, due to the stores shutting down in different parts of the world. Now hardy has retired from tattooing but he oversees and mentors the artists at his san Francisco studio, Tattoo city. 
masters in time.com
Tattooing the Invisible Man, Hardy Marks Publications, 1999