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Ed Hardy


About the Artists:


This video is taken from Emiko Omori's documentary about Don Ed Hardy: "Tattoo the World". In this clip Don is working on his personal artwork at Trillium Graphics.


An afternoon painting session with the legendary artist Don Ed Hardy in his San Francisco studio. Music from Gallery of Mites


"I’m an eclectic artist and have been influenced by a lot of people. My undergraduate education at San Francisco Art Institute focused on printmaking. After graduating I revived a childhood interest in tattooing. I became best known for that work—applying them, expanding the potential of the medium, and contextualizing the practice in history and society through writing, publishing, and curating. This allowed me to be an independent agent.
Advancing tattooing’s traditional image bank by creating custom commissions challenged and expanded my outlook. Meanwhile I was able to pursue my own interests in art and cultural history. My roots were in midcentury Southern California—the old West, popular art that included Carl Barks’ duck comics, 1950s Surf and Kustom Kulture. Then I discovered Picasso, Beat culture, Asian thought, and began avidly pursuing Western art history. I was especially drawn to eccentric artists. Japan was a huge influence and I have lived and worked there in both tattooing and other mediums.
In 2003 my paintings caught the attention of the fashion world and the Ed Hardy brand was born. This became an international phenomenon and allowed me to retire from illustrating people to pay the bills.  Now I concentrate on painting and drawing for myself, sometimes collaborating with master printmakers and ceramists. My primary interest is spontaneous execution, built on many thousands of hours of dogged precision. I access a wide repertoire of forms and topics, muscle memorized then cut loose from logic—narrative or alleged “content” is just an excuse. I want to stay surprised and celebrate the mystery of making pictures."

- D.E. Hardy


A Southern California native born in 1945, in 1967 Hardy completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. In 2000, that school awarded him an honorary doctorate degree.

He began tattooing in 1966 and developed the fine art potential of the medium with emphasis on its Asian heritage, frequently studying and working in Japan. Hardy no longer tattoos but focuses on painting, printmaking, and porcelain. With his son Douglas, he still operates the San Francisco studio Tattoo City. 

Hardy has curated several exhibitions in museum and nonprofit spaces as well as showing his own works. Since 1982 he and his wife, Francesca Passalacqua, have written and published over thirty books on alternative art under their Hardy Marks imprint. In 2003 his vintage tattoo designs became the basis of a successful international lifestyle brand, Ed Hardy. He and his wife divide their time between San Francisco and Honolulu. /


Solo Exhibitions

1992     Death or Glory World Tattoo Gallery, Chicago 
1993     La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles
             Janet Fleisher Gallery, Philadelphia 
1994     Sensitive Issues La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles
             Edward Thorp Gallery, New York
             Cavin-Morris, New York
1995     Flash Art Paintings Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco
             Drawings That Last a Lifetime Janet Fleisher Gallery, Philadelphia
1997     Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco
             Permanent Curios Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA  (catalog)
1998     Some Weird Beauty Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO
             Panoply of Wonders The Art Guys, Houston
             Bibelots Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
1999     Tattooing the Invisible Man: Bodies of Work, 1955-1999 Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica,        CA (Catalog)
2000     2000 Dragons & Related Paintings Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA (catalog)
2001     New Gods Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
             2000 Dragons  Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO
             Asian Waves Babilonia 1808, Berkeley, CA
2002    The Elephants’ Graveyard Fred Spratt Gallery, San Jose, CA
            2000 Dragons Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
2003    Exhibition Match Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
2004    Recent Paintings Oceania Gallery, Honolulu
            2000 Dragons  Linekona Center for the Arts, Honolulu
2005    Indelible Voyage Instituto de Artes Graficas, Oaxaca, Mexico 
            Ghost Writers and Automatics Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
            Recent Paintings  Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO
2008    West Meets East Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA 
            Duo Mysto: Don Ed Hardy & Ron Nagle, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA
2009    Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA
2011    The Unruly Art of Don Ed Hardy, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art Artist’s Gallery, 
San Francisco, CA
            Don Ed Hardy: New Works, Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
2012    Sylvia White Gallery, Ventura, CA
            Art For Life b. sakata garo, Sacramento, CA
            2000 Dragons and related paintings, Diverse Works, Houston, TX
            More Works The Art Guys, Houston, TX
            Bolinas Museum of Art, Bolinas, CA
2013    Don Ed Hardy Paintings, 798 Art District, Beijing, China (catalog)

Selected Group Exhibitions

1971     Tattoo! Museum of American Folk Art, New York 
1975     In Celebration of Ourselves  San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 
1985     L’asino e la Zebra Mercato di Triani, Rome (catalog)
1989     Dia de Los Muertos  Mission Cultural Center, San Francisco 
1990     Artists of Hawaii Annual Honolulu Academy of Arts (also 1993 & 1995)
1992     Best of the West  Zero One Gallery, Los Angeles
             Rocks of Ages  La Luz de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles (catalog)
1993     Raw Visions Artisana Gallery, Dallas
             Eye Tattooed America Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago (traveled) - catalog
             Big Cat Etchings  Bridgewater / Lustberg Gallery, New York     
             Kustom Grafix  The Works Gallery, Costa Mesa CA.                 
             Gallery Artists’ Drawings Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco 
             The Return of the Cadavre Exquis The Drawing Center, New York (traveled)
1994     Flash Janet Fleisher Gallery, Philadelphia 
             Edge of the Toon Cavin-Morris, New York    
             Mutant Messengers Ann Nathan Gallery, Chicago  
             American Tattoo Flash Drawings Gallerie Suzanne Zander, Cologne, Germany
1995     Biennial Exhibition of Hawaii Artists The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu / Maui Arts & Cultural Center  
             Pierced Hearts & True Love The Drawing Center, New York (traveled) - catalog
             Lasting Impressions Quartet Editions, New York
             In the Light of Goya University Art Museum, University of  California, Berkeley, CA
1996     Three From Shark’s (John Buck, Red Grooms, D.E. Hardy) Augen Gallery, Portland, OR 
             Out of the Skin Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco
1997     Art and Provocation: Images From Rebels Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO
1998     Tribute to La Luz de Jesus Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
             Camouflage Schmidt-Bingham Gallery, New York
             Spinal Epidural,Please!  Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco
1999     New Religion Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA
2000     Select Prints Shark’s Ink William Havu Gallery, Denver
             I Love Mom Roq LaRue Gallery, Seattle    
2001     Circos Globulos Babilonia 1808, Berkeley, CA 
             7th Bienal of Painting, Cuenca, Ecuador (catalog)
2004     100 Artists See Satan Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA
             Post-Tattoo The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu (catalog)
2005    Marked Men  Rogue Buddha Gallery, Minneapolis, MN (traveling) 
            Wood Skin Ink Hui No’eau Visual Arts Center, Makawao, Maui, and Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii, Honolulu (catalog)
2007    5 Stories Higher Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
            I’d Rather Be Drawing Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO
            Pacific Mysto KU Ambiance Space, Los Angeles, CA
2008    Creature Feature Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
2012    The Bridge Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
            Biennial of Hawaii Artists X Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu, HI 
2014    TATTOO Musee du Quai Branly, Paris, France (catalog)


Works in Public Collections 
Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu
Honolulu Academy of Art
Spenser Museum of Art, Lawrence, Kansas 



16 Jessie Street, #C120, San Francisco, CA 94105 (415)433-4400

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