Ed Hardy’s book Wear Your Dreams might have been published in attempt to get the public interested in his work again, but ultimately, what I enjoyed the most was the stories we got of Sailor Jerry. The stories really came through as a way to show the audience who Sailor Jerry was and how Ed Hardy learned from him.
The chapter dedicated to Sailor Jerry gave the readers a glimpse of who Sailor Jerry was and the importance of his existence in Ed Hardy’s work. Sailor Jerry is truly remarkable. I especially like the line “He figured out how to do theses things like a jigsaw puzzle.” It’s like he was born to tattoo and innovate the field. His humor is astonishing, “Jerry kept a pet chimpanzee named Romeo in the shop. He ingeniously tattooed AL on one side of the chimp’s ass and HA on the other cheek. He taught him to bend over and look through his legs, rewarding the viewer with ALOHA.” I would never have thought to do something like that but Sailor Jerry did, showing his comicality and out of the box thinking. He really played around with the art to create his own set of design and trademarks. To find out that he never went past fifth grade in school was surprising because he would keep correspondent with people all over the world, as the author puts it, “trading information, sharing designs, acting as a conduit of information between a loose network of tattooers from around the world.” Not many people have the will power to do all those things, but his passion for tattoo really pushed him through.
Wear Your Dreams obviously wasn’t just about Sailor Jerry and his work in the tattoo world, the book written about Ed Hardy also showcase the tattooing side of Ed Hardy that not many people are aware of, because for one, he is mostly known by his clothing and fragrances line, and second, tattooers don’t really like him because they believe he is a sell-out. In his earlier years, he was really set on the path of tattoo. The book notes that at one point in time he could do fifteen tattoos, or even more, in a four-hour night shift. It was evident back then that he had skills, especially when he dared to be inventive and used the purple dye that Sailor Jerry had provided.
People have suggested that this book was written to help elevate once again Ed Hardy’s popularity because in recent years, it has plummeted. Others believe that it was his way of saying to the world “I’m not a sell out.” Reasons are still unknown. It can only be speculated and if anyone were to ask me, I will say, “I don’t know.” Only Ed Hardy knows the true reason behind his decision of having someone write about his life and publish it. I truly want to believe that he did it so that people can learn more about the major contributor to the tattoo world, Sailor Jerry. His work and dedication deserves to be recognize and applauded.