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Ed Hardy: Deeper Than Skin
October 18, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pmFree
Legendary American tattoo artist Ed Hardy discusses his groundbreaking tattoos, flash, drawings, and artworks with Jeff Gunderson, contributor to Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin:Art of the New Tattoo.
About Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin
Ed Hardy’s (b. 1945) unique vision spans decades, creating an indelible mark on popular culture. Accompanying a major exhibition, this profusely illustrated survey of his life in art traces his inspirations, rooted both in traditional American tattooing of the first half of the twentieth century and in the imagery of Japan’s ukiyo-e era. Hardy, raised in Southern California, became intrigued with tattoo art at the age of ten, setting up shop in his parents’ den. After attending the San Francisco Art Institute in the 1960s, he rejected a graduate fellowship from Yale to apprentice at studios up and down the West Coast. It was his intention to rescue tattooing from its subculture, “outsider” status and elevate it to at least the level of folk art.
Hardy’s success at breathing new life into the art form is chronicled in a plethora of tattoo designs, paintings, drawings, prints, and three-dimensional work spanning fifty years. While the world that inspires him may be lost, Hardy’s distinct visual language is vibrantly alive within American visual vernacular, synonymous to some with the spirit of the West Coast itself.
Donald Edward Talbott Hardy was born in 1945 in Des Moines, Iowa, and grew up in Corona del Mar, on the Southern California coast. For over twenty years, Hardy worked exclusively as a tattoo artist, developing the medium’s potential and fueling the late twentieth-century boom in the practice. In the late 1980s he returned to painting, drawing, and printmaking while continuing to tattoo, and his work was exhibited widely. In the millennial year 2000, Hardy created a 4- by 500-foot scroll painting, 2000 Dragons. He describes this piece as a decisive turning point in its scale and expansive gesture that freed him to explore abstract elements along with recognizable forms in his art. In 2005, Hardy licensed his designs to Christian Audigier, who developed popular merchandise featuring Hardy’s tattoo imagery.
Hardy has written and published more than thirty books on alternative art under his imprint Hardy Marks. In 2010, Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World, a film by Emiko Omori was released, and in 2013, Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos, an autobiography with Joel Selvin, was published by St. Martin’s Press. Hardy divides his time between San Francisco and Honolulu, where he has had a home and studio since the 1980s.
Jeff Gunderson has been the Librarian and Archivist at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1981. He has written on the history of California photography, the San Francisco art scene of the 1940s, and done presentations on artists Joan Brown, Elmer Bischoff, Ed Ruscha, Charles Howard, the history of LGBTQ art in San Francisco, the history of Bay Area conceptual art, and the influence of art libraries on artists. He also did the introductory essay to Black Power/Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch. He is currently working on a collection of essays about open water swimming.