Thursday, April 16, 2015

Ed Hardy: Tattooist or Businessman

As someone who doesn’t hold a deep hatred for the Hardy brand, I understood Wear Your Dreams as a telling of how he ended up where he is today, what sparked his interest in tattooing and how he pursued it. My favorite chapter was when he spoke about his childhood, tattooing his neighborhood friends, and going to car shows just to see the hood artwork. However, last class’s discussion forced me to consider Hardy has the bad guy that so many of his fellow artists believe him to be.

His opposition argues that his movement from tattooing to designing tainted his artwork, commercialized it in a way that no longer represented traditional tattooing culture. And to add to the commodification of the art form, he was making outrageous amounts of money. We similarly discussed Wear Your Dreams as a way for him to respond to criticisms that these actions made him a sell out. Personally, I do not believe that Hardy’s entrance into the fashion industry was necessarily selling out. However, I think that his choice to publish a book, a way he can make more money, was not the best public medium to respond to those who already believe he sold out. To start the cover is flashy (both literally-- its covered in flash, and figuratively) and his name is as big if not bigger than the title. Its flashy design, like anything flashy, gives off the impression that its for attention. I know you're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but from the look of this one, it is Hardy's cry for attention, cry for more money. If I'm seeing this as someone who doesn't hate Hardy, I'm sure those who do simply see this book as yet another way to make a buck. In a way, his decision to publish and market his response only further feeds the idea that he is in the business of making money, not art.

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