As a proud Ed Hardy shirt consumer from the years 2004-2006, I was very interested to learn the history behind the artist. I enjoyed connecting lessons of Sailor Jerry from the beginning of the semester to Hardy and Japanese tattoo art.
While Hardy was once a prolific and extremely talented tattoo artist, he now is regarded by the tattoo community as a “sellout.” However, I disagree with this reputation. I think that many artists in different realms tend to think it is necessary to suffer to be a true artist, and once someone starts making money they are no longer truly “artists.” But the beautiful work Hardy is capable of is not discredited by his ability to turn a profit. In fact, I believe his ability to reach such a large audience is beneficial to the tattoo community. People who wear Hardy’s shirts learn that tattoos can be much more than hearts and butterflies. His designs are symbolic, detailed and beautiful, which many people may not have known.
One thing that stood out to me in our research and conversation about Hardy was his personality. I was very surprised to learn he was known for being cold, serious and stand-offish. It went against my previous idea that tattoo artists of high prestige form close relationships with their clients in order to individualize and draw a specified piece of work. Japanese tattoo artists get to know their clients very well and can often take years to complete a project. It poses the question if that is why Hardy is somewhat an outcast in the tattoo community due to this mixed with his clothing line.