Don Ed Hardy
Also known as: Ed Hardy, Donald Ed Hardy
A Southern California native born in 1945, Hardy revived a childhood determination to become a tattoo artist and underwent a tattoo apprenticeship while simultaneously receiving a B.F.A. degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1967. Tattooing professionally since then, he developed the fine-art potential of the medium with emphasis on its Asian heritage. In 1973 he lived in Japan, studying with a traditional tattoo master — the first non-Asian to gain access to that world. He resumed these studies in Japan throughout the 1980s. Since 1974 he has specialized in unique tattoo commissions at his San Francisco studio.
In 1982 he and his wife, Francesca Passalacqua, formed Hardy Marks Publications and have written, edited and published twenty books on alternative art. From 1986 to early 1997 they resided in Honolulu, where Hardy resumed painting, drawing and printmaking. He continues to tattoo on a limited basis but is primarily focused on creating and exhibiting works in more traditional mediums.
In addition to showing his own works, Hardy has curated a number of exhibitions for both galleries and nonprofit spaces and frequently lectures at museums and universities. His work has appeared in numerous periodicals, books, films and videos internationally. In 2000, he was appointed by Oakland mayor Jerry Brown to that city's Cultural Arts Commission, and awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2001, he was the sole representative of the U.S. in the 7th Bienal of Painting at Cuenca, Ecuador. He and Francesca now divide their time between the San Francisco Bay area and Honolulu.