Honestly, after watching the Sailor Jerry documentary earlier this semester and learning about Sailor Jerry's incredible art, but also his interesting character I could not help but develop early opinions on Ed Hardy, whose name I only recognized because of his fashion brand. Sailor Jerry to me epitomized early tattoo culture and what tattoos should be. Some underground culture filled with crazy, creative smart people who did not fit into the mainstream, who did not want to fit in with the mainstream, and who were passionate about the art. Though Ed Hardy was an apprentice to Sailor Jerry, knowing about his fashion brand made me think of him as some sellout that Sailor Jerry would be dissapointed in. Selling tattoo designs on clothing seemed to be the ultimate commodification of tattoos. However reading the Ed Hardy book has changed my opinion (slightly) on Ed Hardy and has resulted in me respecting him a lot more.
After reading the book, I have gained a lot more respect for Ed Hardy as an artist. I have just wasted hours looking through some of his tattoos and after reading about his background as an academic and his funny stories of playing "tattoo artist," it obviously demonstrates his dedication and respect for the art that I did not understand or know before the book or the videos we watched in class. He was not just some tattoo artist who had no respect for the art and only wanted money and fame, he is a truly talented artist with a deep passion for tattooing. I think of his design and brand less of a commodification and more of a way to spread and appreciate art and tattoos. They are truly beautiful designs and honestly probably wouldn't mind having a shirt as well. However I still question the ethics of the commodification of such art into materialtic consumption as we see with other forms of art as well (art on postcards).