Tattoos and Aftercare: Ed Hardy

downloadMany of you have seen the name and may be familiar with what it represents. Born and raised in California in the middle of the 20th century, Donald Edward Talbot Hardy became interested by the eccentric and beautiful art of tattooing from a very young age. Hardy graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967 and actually declined a fellowship at the prestigious Yale University in what would later be known as one of the most important tattoo careers in recent history.

By 1973, Hardy ended up in Japan, learning the tattooing art from a man named Kazuo Oguri. The Japanese way of tattooing was far different to that in the USA and Hardy learned a great deal. In the USA at the time, tattoo aftercare was not that prevalent and many people had reported their tattoo bleeding excessively an being prone to nasty infections. From the Japanese tradition, Hardy learned of various natural oils to apply to a tattoo which would act as an aftercare solvent. The business of tattoo aftercare was almost revolutionised by Hardy and the lessons he brought back with him five months later.

Upon his return, Hardy opened his own tattoo parlor. What set him apart however was that  he modeled his business based on the private parlors that he saw in Japan. This was one of the first of its kind in the USA and quickly became a hit. At this point in his career, he only focused on tattoos the mirrored the Japanese scale. It was in 1977 in which he opened a much larger parlor called ‘Tattoo City’ in which he started creating his signature Los Angeles and Chicago styles of tattooing.

Hardy’s work was paramount for the advancement of the tattoo aftercare industry. Hardy’s designs were far more complex than the average tattoo and therefore needed much more attention in terms of aftercare as so that they healed properly. As his designs grew more popular, other tattoo artists began creating vivid and complex designs, all the while creating a new market for tattoo aftercare.

He continued tattooing like this throughout the remainder of the century until 2005 when he leased out his deigns to a fashion designer who in turn created the many forms of Ed Hardy apparel which are now almost everywhere.

Hardy seemingly single handedly made himself a household name while simultaneously changing the course of tattoo design and inspiration. His eccentric and now known as the ‘Ed Hardy style of tattooing” has inspired hundreds of thousands and continues to do so today.