Is Ed Hardy a sell out? In my last blog post I described how I believe that a person can be a successful artist and not be considered a sell out. I think people should be able to make a lot of money regardless of what industry he or she is in, as long as they are keeping their original goals in mind.
In some ways Ed Hardy has made his tattoos something that can be shared for longer than a piece of flash. It is now on tons of merchandise that may last longer. However, has he gone over the top? Is Ed Hardy still in the business for his art? That question is a bit tougher to answer. I can say in my mind, definitely, that he has gone over the top with some of his merchandise. There is no need for overprices wine glasses. However, it is difficult to know what his intentions are, especially because we are not in his mind.
This books seemed to be written to help Ed Hardy show that he does still care about tattoos and the art, and that he regrets some of his financial success. However, I do not believe that is actually the case. He may hope he did things differently. He may have a financial adviser that would like him to keep the spread of his Ed Hardy merchandise, but some of this commercialization is his choice. Ed Hardy could have refused to let his images be placed on more shirts.
Yet he started it for the art, and a lot of it was greatly appreciated. Should his acknowledgement of success really make his work less good? I do not think so. I can say it is a bit hard for me to believe he now is staying in art just for the sake of art, since he is now in the fashion industry, as well as many other industries . Yet, his art is still art. I do not think his success should make his history less important. I can understand not wanting to promote him farther, but I think people should look at how he impacted tattooing and his original work before they make any judgement on him as an artist.