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Don Ed Hardy
Don Ed Hardy at the second World Tattoo Convention in Reno Nevada, 1977.
Born January 1945 (age 70)
Known for Painting, Drawing, Tattoo
Movement Body art, Postmodern art

Don Ed Hardy is an American artist raised in Southern California. Hardy is best known for his tattoo work and his eponymous apparel and accessories brand Ed Hardy.

Early life[edit]

Hardy was born in 1945 in Iowa, where he lived for a year before his family moved to California. He attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking.[1] Hardy was a student of Sailor Jerry Collins and, through his association, was able to study tattooing in Japan in 1973 with the Japanese classical tattoo master Horihide.[2] He became recognized for incorporating Japanese tattoo aesthetics and technique into his American style work.[1]


In 1982, Hardy and his wife formed Hardy Marks Publications. Under this marque, they began publishing the five-book series Tattootime.[3] Hardy Marks has gone on to publish more than 25 books about alternative art,[4] including catalogs of Hardy's work and that of Sailor Jerry Collins.

In 2000, he was appointed by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown to the city's Cultural Arts Commission.[5]

Today, Hardy is retired from tattooing.[6] He oversees and mentors the artists at his San Francisco studio, Tattoo City. Since the 1960s, he has concentrated heavily on non-tattoo based art forms, especially printmaking, drawing, and painting.


2008 Ed Hardy brand shoe.

In the 2000s, Hardy has licensed his brand, and it is now found on a wide variety of products. This began in the early 2000s, when Hardy licensed Ku USA, Inc. to produce a line of clothing based on his art.[7] Within two years, the collection had drawn the interest of Saks companies.[citation needed] Hardy and Ku USA formed Hardy Life,[citation needed] now Hardy Way LLC, which own the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks.[8][9] The brand has subsequently by extensively licensed, at one point having 70 sublicensees,[10] selling goods as diverse as clothing, accessories, lighters, perfume, hair styling tools,[11][12] and condoms.[13]

The most famous licensee was Christian Audigier, previously of Von Dutch Originals, which marketed the imagery of Kenny Howard (aka Von Dutch), another noted American subculture artist. Audigier licensed the worldwide rights to the Ed Hardy brand in 2005 through his holding company, Nervous Tattoo, and attempted to replicate the marketing techniques employed by Von Dutch Originals, marketing directly to celebrity clients and by opening stores in high profile fashion districts. Ed Hardy stores were located in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Honolulu, Scottsdale, Tucson, Vancouver, Dubai, Johannesburg, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Gurgaon, Delhi, Mumbai, and Qatar.[2] The face of the brand (from 2008) was Sarah Larson.[14] The brand under Audigier was extremely popular for a time, peaking at more than $700 million in gross revenue in 2009,[10] but collapsed quickly in 2009–2010, with many stores closing. Among others, the Australian sublicensee of Ed Hardy (owned and operated by Gary Berman) entered administration and closed in 2010.[15]

Hardy blames the collapse on creative and marketing decisions by Audigier, such as Audigier featuring his own name prominently (on one item 14 times, compared to Hardy's once), and prominent association with short-lived reality TV celebrity Jon Gosselin. Following legal battles, Hardy regained control of the brand in 2010, though as part of the settlement Nervous remained a licensee for t-shirts, hats, and hoodies.[8][9]

In May 2009, Iconix Brand Group announced it had acquired a 50 percent interest in Hardy Way, LLC, the owner of the Ed Hardy brand and trademarks,[16] which it increased to 85% in 2011. Hardy retains a 15% minority stake.[8]


  1. ^ a b DeMello, Margo (2007). Encyclopedia of Body Adornment. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 145. ISBN 0-313-33695-4. 
  2. ^ a b Hamlin, Jesse (September 30, 2006), "Don Ed Hardy's tattoos are high art and big business", San Francisco Chronicle (Hearst Communications, Inc.), retrieved March 26, 2010 
  3. ^ DeMello, Margo (2000). Bodies of Inscription: A Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community. Duke University Press. p. 103. ISBN 0-8223-2467-9. 
  4. ^ Biography – Hardy Marks Publications and Don Ed Hardy Archive. Hardymarks.com (2012-07-14). Retrieved on 2012-08-08.
  5. ^ DeFao, Janine (December 30, 1999). "Jerry Brown Picks Tattooist For Art Panel". San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco: Hearst Communications, Inc.). p. A-1. Retrieved February 6, 2009. 
  6. ^ Vance, Ashlee (November 12, 2009), "Ed Hardy’s Tattoo Art Is Booty for Digital Pirates", The New York Times, retrieved March 26, 2010 
  7. ^ Alabi, Mo (September 4, 2013). "Ed Hardy: From art to infamy and back again". CNN. 
  8. ^ a b c "Iconix buys global rights, ups stake in Ed Hardy brand". 
  9. ^ a b "Ed Hardy(R) Settlement Agreement Reached Between Nervous Tattoo, Inc. and Hardy Way, LLC". 
  10. ^ a b Fleming, Kirsten (June 16, 2013). "That inking feeling". New York Post. 
  11. ^ "IGP Beauty, Inc. Secures Celebrity Hair Care Lines". May 13, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Ed Hardy". IGP Beauty website. 
  13. ^ Juli Weiner (May 26, 2010). "Ed Hardy, Terrible Clothing Company Popular with Terrible People, Introduces Line of Condoms". Vanity Fair. 
  14. ^ Norm Clark (June 15, 2008). "Larson the face of new clothing line". Review Journal. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ Ben Butler (August 12, 2010). "Ed Hardy clothing goes into administration". Business Today. Retrieved November 19, 2013. 
  16. ^ Bhattacharjee, Nivedita (May 5, 2009), UPDATE 1-Iconix Q1 tops market; buys 50 pct in Hardy Way, Reuters, retrieved March 26, 2010 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Ed_Hardy — Please support Wikipedia.
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448 news items


Fri, 10 Jul 2015 08:14:23 -0700

Ed Hardy launched in 2004 with an array of rhinestone-studded T-shirts featuring designs by famed tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy, who filed a $100 million lawsuit against Audigier in 2009 for manipulating his inked imagery and underreporting sales. A ...


Mon, 13 Jul 2015 06:25:29 -0700

Audigier licensed the designs for his two companies from artists Kenny Howard (a.k.a. Von Dutch) and Don Ed Hardy. In 2009, Audigier settled a lawsuit with tattoo artist Hardy, who accused the businessman of not abiding by the terms of their licensing ...
Sun Times National
Fri, 10 Jul 2015 07:58:37 -0700

Christian Audigier, a French entrepreneur and the head fashion designer of Ed Hardy, has died at the age of 57. Audigier had been diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer that affects the bone marrow and blood, in January.
Bend Bulletin
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 00:07:30 -0700

After finding success with that company, Audigier left, and, in 2004, licensed the designs of a once-obscure San Francisco tattoo artist named Don Ed Hardy. Audigier was an irrepressible marketer of his wares, and Ed Hardy tattoo prints — of skulls ...

OC Weekly (blog)

OC Weekly (blog)
Mon, 03 Aug 2015 05:11:15 -0700

He even drove a lowrider up to the Bay Area just to hear a lecture from Don Ed Hardy. Ultimately, he's learned that tattooing really comes down to one thing: pleasing the customers. "I think the most important thing is that the customer is happy and ...


Fri, 10 Jul 2015 05:00:00 -0700

Sein endgültiger Durchbruch gelang ihm aber im Jahr 2004, durch eine Kooperation mit dem Tattookünstler Don Ed Hardy und der gleichnamigen Marke Ed Hardy, dessen Kopf Audigier war und die er sechs Jahre später mit großem Gewinn verkaufte.


Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:32:48 -0700

In some sense this exhibit sets that right.” “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait” continues through November 1. A number of related events are scheduled, notably noontime Gallery Chats by Don Ed Hardy and Greil Marcus. Two local artists, Jennie Ottinger ...

NBC Bay Area

NBC Bay Area
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 14:56:15 -0700

The exhibits are supplemented by several months of special events planned at the Museum, including Winehouse-centric tribute concerts and dance parties, plus guest "gallery chats" by an eclectic group of speakers including tattoo legend Don Ed Hardy ...

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