Upon walking up to the entrance of the I-20 Gallery for the ‘Tattoo the World’ release party, three things struck me right off the bat:
Firstly, Ed Hardy was standing out front being photographed from every angle, remaining polite and cooperative regardless of how many people shoved a camera in his face. Even though I had met him before, he’s still Ed Hardy. Even in his mid 60’s he still exudes cool; like your art teacher in 8th grade who told you about Kurosawa films and was also a surfer cool.
Secondly, there was a gentleman who looked like Carlton from ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Aire’ who had on red pants and a blue jacket that people were fawning over. I’m assuming he was either someone ‘known’ in the art/entertainment world or what happens when adults dress like Smurfs, but either way it was an indicator that I wasn’t really in a place where I was going to fit in.
Lastly, and like I touched on above… that I didn’t exactly fit in. Jotting notes in my notebook I looked up to see people staring at my arms. And hands. And throat. I checked to make sure I didn’t have a stain on my shirt or my zipper wasn’t down first; covering all of the bases to make sure it was something other than my tattoos that was making me stand out in the crowd…
The crowd at an Ed Hardy event.
So initially there was Ed, and there was me. The tattooed people. How often can you say that? Eventually a few more folks showed up that you could tell were there for Ed the Tattooist, but those first fifteen minutes or so had me conciously aware that I was heavily tattooed and everyone else wasn’t.
Once I stepped into the gallery, it all melted away as I saw three classic Pushead Zorlac skateboards mounted on the wall. I slyly whipped out my iPhone and snapped some pics of the decks. These were ridden decks, cement damaged but still undeniably cool. I wasn’t so out of place after all. Luckily that led me to meeting Scott Odgen, the director of MAKE who is the owner of the Zorlac decks and may end up my new eBay nemesis. Scott helped me navigate through the ‘gallery types’ and photographers with ease. Very much appreciated.
Beside the Zorlac boards was a TV was looping Tattoo the World. The scenes that first caught my attention were from the 1980 film Tattoo City by Emiko Omori, who was wandering around the gallery side by side with Ed. I have a copy of Tattoo City that’s seen better days so seeing the footage Emiko shot restored as part of the Tattoo the World film was outstanding. IMDB lists her as the producer of World, but I’m really not sure. I thought she had said she was the director.
We chatted about our mutual contempt of digital film making as well as Ed’s impact on both art and tattoo culture.
Total charmer. She seemed genuinely surprised that I owned Tattoo City on video.
I spoke with Ed very briefly; obviously he was getting pushed and pulled in every direction; despite that, he was as nice as I’d remembered him.
Once Marisa showed up it became a little more relaxed; having someone to share in my acidic and pithy commentary smoothed everything out.
Overall, I’m glad it all worked out. Seeing the giant Ed Hardy originals all over the space was great. Meeting Scott and Emiko was fun, catching up with Marisa, talking to Ed… the whole night was fun.
Now about that guy dressed like a smurf….