Ed Hardy

Book of Days: Happy birthday, Ed Hardy


Donald Edward Talbot Hardy was born on 6th January, 1945.
Almost his entire life has been devoted to tattooing. Happy birthday, Ed!

This photo, scanned from a 3″x5″ print, dates back to the 1970s and features Ed tattooing a unicorn on his client’s hand.

History: Hardy


I hate that, to most people, the name Ed Hardy is synonymous with heavily cologned, spraytanned douchebags who hang out on the Jersey shore or at overpriced bars with stabbing problems. I prepare myself, every time I bring him up to non-tattooed friends, for the onslaught of easy jokes and snide comments about the t-shirts and hats and Valentine’s cards and perfumes that were adorned with his name/artwork during the Audigier years.

What we’re concerned about here at OV is his legacy as a tattooer; the artists he inspired with his work and with the Tattoo Time book series and that when you look at a 35+ year old photo of a ‘golden era’ Hardy tattoo you still think “man that’s cool.”

This photo was scanned from a 3×5 print that could date from the late 70s/early 80s that had no annotation. Other artists unknown.



Tattoo Time Collected

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of his iconic Tattoo Time series, Hardy Marks Publications will be releasing a deluxe two volume set of all five legendary issues available for the first time in hard cover. Priced at $50, this collection is a steal. Even if you have all of the individual issues (My copy of New Tribalism has gone missing!) this will be worth picking up.

The impact of this series was astounding; when Tattoo magazines were published as part of a Biker magazine family, Ed came along and brought his ‘high art’ sensibilities to publishing;  The New Tribalism, Tattoo Magic, Life and Death, Music and Sea and finally Art from the Heart all presented a snapshot at various disciplines of tattoo art. DeVita, Deustche, Higgs, Malone, Shaw… everyone who was doing something interesting in tattooing got the Tattoo Time treatment and a whole generation of artists were inspired.

The set is expected to drop in early December, so check Hardy Marks Publications for more information!

Thom DeVita Part 1: Tattoo Age

All tattooing is folk art.
Vice.com  has finally begun airing the Thom DeVita arc of their ‘Tattoo Age’ series, with episode 1 currently streaming.
You can check it out here.

The first episode features Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash, Clayton Patterson, Scott Harrison, Angelo Scotto, John Wyatt, Robert Ryan, Bubba Reeves and of course Thom. If you use the Freddy Corbin arc of season 1 as a yardstick for quality, it’s really hard to imaging it getting any better. But seeing the enthusiasm that other people have for Thom and his work wins you over. Harrison’s face lights up when he talks about his ‘bad’ DeVita tattoos. These episodes- five in total- will end up being a once in a lifetime view into the life of an iconic artist.

Check it out.

Thom Devita- Tattoo Age

Last year I was lucky enough to have been tattooed by Scott Harrison.
After the tattoo I had plans to swing by the Vice offices to drop off a VHS copy of Frisco Skin and Tattoo Ink to Chris Grosso, the producer of the Tattoo Age series. At the time only a few of the episodes had aired and it was already shaping up to be and amazing tattoo documentary series; the perfect alternative to the cable network atrocities that were airing.

Harrison is a natural story teller, and as the tattoo continued he told me about Tattoo Age filming with him and Thom Devita. I was floored. DeVita. I had seen his work, of course, and compared to the relatively young tattooers featured so far he was a major score for the Tattoo Age folks. Scott detailed how they got Thom to talk on camera, shared a few great anecdotes and we eventually moved on.

Of course when I got to the Vice offices and met Chris, the first thing I brought up was the DeVita footage. At the time, I’m fairly sure they were editing the Corbin episodes (thus the VHS I was dropping off) and the season if thats what you want to call it was coming to a close. So… when was Thom’s arc going to air?

Chris didn’t have an answer. At the time there was no official word about season 2 so that footage could have potentially never seen the light of day. That would have been a tragedy. When I left the Vice offices I was worried. Several months later I was getting tattooed by Robert Ryan and we started talking about DeVita, and he mentioned that he had just completed an interview for Vice, for Thom’s segments.

I’ve been waiting for these episodes since last year, and I couldn’t be happier that they’re finally going to air. The first episode airs on November 21.

Update: Just got word from Juliette from Vice- The DeVita arc will be FIVE episodes long. Five. Feel the love.

CPISD- Ed Hardy, Hanky Panky and Randy Adams

Another ‘Colored People Invade San Diego’ installment.

This clip features:
Krystyne the Kolorful. Krystyne was an exotic dancer from Alberta, Canada who had approximately 95% coverage and was a famous ‘tattooed lady’ of the 1980s. No audio with her.

Ed Hardy. Ed gives a brief rundown of his history with tattooing; stuff that’s already been covered in other videos, but it’s always nice to hear Ed talk like a beatnik.

Henk ‘Hanky Panky’ Schiffmacher talking about the (late 1980s) state of European tattooing.
I still hold Henk’s Amsterdam Tattoo Convention (I went in 1995- have the video just don’t have an 8mm player to convert it!) as one of the most impressive conventions I’ve ever been to and his contribution to the tattoo world (with documenting and with his Amsterdam Tattoo Museum) has been legendary but not nearly as celebrated as it should be.

This tape is showing wear and the audio is slightly unsynched. I had a complete backup of it but the entire thing was off; so I’ve been slowly recapturing scenes (versus the entire movie) and redoing the audio. It’s taking a while, but at least the clips are preserved on the internet.