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Don Ed Hardy
Don Ed Hardy at the second World Tattoo Convention in Reno Nevada, 1977.
Born January 1945 (age 69)
Nationality American
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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Join Don Ed Hardy, one of the world's best-known tattoo artists, as he reflects on his journey from art studio to tattoo parlor and back again. Original airdate: May 2004. For more information,...

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An afternoon painting session with the legendary artist Don Ed Hardy in his San Francisco studio. Featuring music from Gallery of Mites.

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268 news items

Hartford Courant

Hartford Courant
Wed, 25 Mar 2015 11:45:00 -0700

Lynn is renowned for old-school tattoos that evoke Don Ed Hardy and 1950s rockabilly culture. Lorae specializes in imaginative celebrity portraits rendered with brilliant maquillage. Channeling spirituality into the Awesome experience, Vidaud invited ...
Sydney City News
Wed, 11 Mar 2015 06:07:30 -0700

Whether an enthusiast of body inking or not, the artistry behind Don Ed Hardy's tattoo creations have gained him global recognition. Hardy's unique Japanese and American fused art style has seen his tattoo brand, extending to dominate as a fashion label.
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 15:48:32 -0700

Ed Hardy, the apparel brand based on iconic tattoo artist Don Ed Hardy's intricate work, declared itself a big deal when it launched back in 2007 and then completely fell apart in 2010 when it was forced to close stores, liquidate assets and turn ...

Business Standard

Business Standard
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 09:18:45 -0700

Ed Hardy, the iconic apparel brand from US known for its tattoo art and created by Amercian art icon Don Ed Hardy, seems to have rapidly learnt from its mistakes in the past. In 2007, the brand was first launched by Mumbai-based Wadhawan Lifestyle but ...
OCRegister (subscription)
Wed, 19 Jun 2013 17:43:32 -0700

The first and only tattoo shop in Corona del Mar in the mid-1950s operated out of the den of Don Ed Hardy's home on Goldenrod Avenue. The name sounds familiar, right? Ed Hardy is arguably the first celebrity tattoo artist, famous for the talent and ...
San Francisco Chronicle
Sat, 30 Sep 2006 03:27:33 -0700

Forty years ago, Don Ed Hardy blew off a Yale fine-art fellowship to pursue the rogue art of tattoo, a timeless and often taboo tradition that captivated him as a boy in the Orange County beach town of Corona del Mar. By 10 he was drawing cars and ...
CultureMap Houston
Sat, 09 Jun 2012 09:08:19 -0700

Thanks to a massively successful partnership with French fashion designer Christian Audigier forged in 2004, Ed Hardy has become a household name the world over — a rare feat for any artist, let alone one who's spent most of his career in a tattoo ...

Revista Época Negócios

Revista Época Negócios
Fri, 06 Mar 2015 07:00:01 -0800

Nem ele tinha previsto o sucesso explosivo da grife que criou a partir das tatuagens do artista californiano Don Ed Hardy. As vendas tinham sido boas desde as primeiras coleções (em 2008), mas simplesmente saíram do controle após celebridades como ...

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