Results tagged “Don Ed Hardy”

08:08 AM
tattoo-masters-2.jpgTattoo-Master-Flash-Sailor_Jerry.jpgSailor Jerry flash above.

Tattoo-Master-FlashHoriyoshi III.jpgHoriyoshi III flash above.

Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins
Bert Grimm
Horiyoshi III
Don Ed Hardy
The Leu Family
Leo Zulueta ...

The names of these iconic tattoo artists can be found on tattoo shop walls across the globe, signed on sheets of their artwork, inspiring generations of tattooers. Ready to be copied onto skin or viewed solely as a piece of art itself, tattoo flash of great artists has furthered the evolution of tattooing as an art form and as a business. While custom tattooing garners the most attention these days for unique one-off works, flash offers collectors an opportunity to get a tattoo designed by someone they may not have an opportunity to meet, while providing tattooers a pre-made design to faithfully reproduce or use as a jumping off point for their own work.    

Large libraries can be filled with all the books of flash that have been published; however, a collection comprised of the noted artists above and other world-class tattooers has not existed until the recent release of the gorgeous volumes TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - PART 1 and TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - Part 2.

Curated by Edgar Hoill and Matthias Reuss, these large-scale panorama books contain 168 pages of historic flash and also new works created specifically for this project by 78 tattoo artists. Printed on extra thick high quality paper, bound with a durable metal spiral, the sheets lay flat for easy flipping, and also easier removal should you wish to cut out and frame the art.

The books offer a broad spectrum of artistic styles, including lettering, realism, ancient marks and mandalas, woodblock prints, abstract graphic designs, Japanese and Chinese mythology, Neotribal, Nordic, black & grey Chicano tattoo motifs and much more. Not all pages are stylized with individual tattoo designs on one sheet; some sheets are drawn or painted as one complete work of art.  

TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - PART I includes works by Horiyoshi III, Don Ed Hardy, Gau Bin, Jondix, Tim Hendricks, Brian Everett, Genko, Alex Horikitsune Reinke, Zele, Doug Hardy, Elle Festin, Tomasi Sulu'ape, Sanya Youalli, Yushi Takei, Enrique Castillo and many more. Also in this volume are flash from Ed Hardy's personal archive, including sheets by Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins, Owen Jensen, Joe Lieber, and Bert Grimm.

TATTOO MASTERS FLASH COLLECTION - Part 2 includes works by the Leu family, Leo Zulueta, Luke Atkinson, Colin Dale, Indio Reyes, Jess Yen, Naoki, Goethe Silva, Krazy K, Olivier Julliand, Kurt Wiscombe, Chris Ayala, Andy Shou, Jean-Luc Navette, Brent McCown, Dimitri Hk, and Takahiro Horitaka Kitamura, among other greats. This volume also contains archival sheets from the Polish Tattoo Museum collection, including flash from Sailor Jerry, Ray Emms, Milton Zeis, Ted Hamilton and Leonard St. Clair.

Beyond the artwork, what makes this an important collection are the contributions by Dr. Matt Lodder, who provides a introduction on the history of flash, dating back to the birth of the Western professional tattoo industry in the late 19th century. Matt cites early examples of designs on paper specifically intended to be traced and transferred onto the skin as tattoos, including the famous C.H. Fellowes sketchbook, dating from around 1898.

There are countless gems of historic information, including a discussion on the term "flash" itself:

The very term 'flash' seems to have been appropriated from carnivals and sideshows, where a 'well-flashed' concession was particularly eye catching, bright and appealing, able to beckon and intrigue customers from across a thronging midway, though the term also has deep connotations as an adjective in English slang of slightly dangerous, swaggering ostentation, often used to refer to thieves and prostitutes in the early part of the 19th century and then to young sporting men - the kind of boisterous, raffish cads who would have been turning over tables in polite drinking circles.
It is through flash, as Matt notes, that much of the history of the first century and half of modern Western tattooing is traced because, well, tattoos die with their owners. [Ok, not always.]

Matt also interviews Don Ed Hardy for the first volume, discussing the flash sheets he created as a child, and also how his 1995 book "Flash from the Past," with its historic collection, drove contemporary rediscovery of flash history and celebrations of artists such as Sailor Jerry.

In the second volume, Matt interviews Filip Leu about the roots of artistic practice in his famed tattoo family, and his thoughts on flash. In this Q&A, Filip explains that flash is any design you can tattoo -- "from the traditional pork chop sheet to the full Japanese bodysuit, passing by Tahiti black work and East LA lettering." He adds that, to him, "flash represents the artist who made it." Following this is another great read, Matt's interview with Piotr Wojciechowski of the Polish Tattoo Museum. This text provides some wonderful context and background to the works displayed in the book.

You can purchase them online at the Edition Reuss site and on Amazon Part 1 and Part 2. They'll be timeless additions to your tattoo book collection.

Filip Leu flash above.
02:55 PM
don ed hardy.pngAn exception 3-day event will be held at Kings Avenue Tattoo in Manhattan May 15-17: legendary tattooer and artist Don Ed Hardy will exhibit his most recent artwork, accompanied by the release of a new Hardy Marks publication, and a series of talks.

As noted in the Kings Avenue release, "Hardy will present a collection of his current and past artwork, consisting of mixed-media paintings that incorporate American an Japanese tattoo motifs, and 'kiddie flash' - traditional maritime-inspired designs that he drew as a tattoo-obsessed child in the late 1950s, rendered with colored pencil on looseleaf notebook paper, which has never been publicly exhibited."

There will also be the release and book signing of the most recent Hardy Marks title Lew The Jew Alberts: Early 20th Century Tattoo Drawings, a compilation of designs attributed to Lew Alberts, a Newark, NJ native who tattooed under the famed Bowery-based artist Charlie Wagner.

I'm also excited about the scheduled talks: On May 16th, Hardy's "Split Personality" will encompass a discussion of his 60-year career as a tattooer and artist, followed by a Q & A. Then, on May 17th, historian and author Michael McCabe, and the artist and former tattooer Ruth Marten will join him in a discussion of New York City's century-long history as a locus of Western tattooing. [If you don't have them yet, Mike's books are must haves for tattoo lovers: New York City Tattoo: The Oral History of an Urban Art and Tattoos of Indochina: Magic, Devotion, & Protection.]

Kings Avenue notes that their staff of in-house artists will be tattooing throughout the weekend, in addition to artists visiting from Tattoo City, the shop founded by Hardy in 1977. They add, "In a break from their usual practice of customized, large format designs, the artists will tattoo American-style flash designed by Hardy during the early years of his career."

Here are the details:

Kings Avenue, 188 Bowery, Floor 2, New York, NY 10012

Friday May 15th

     -12 - 9pm: Installation open to the public (free)

     - 4 - 7pm: Reception/book signing with Ed Hardy, Michael McCabe & Ruth Marten (free)

Saturday May 16th

     - 10am - 12pm: "Split Personality": Ed Hardy to discuss 60-year career (ticketed)

     - 1pm - 9pm: Exhibition open to public (free)

Sunday May 17th

     - 10am - 12pm: Ed Hardy to discuss NYC tattoo history with Michael McCabe & Ruth Marten (ticketed)

     - 1pm - 7pm: Exhibition open to public (free)

05:07 PM
In the Dec./Jan. issue of Inked magazine, you'll find my Q&A with the inimitable Ed Hardy, a man who inspired fellow artists and tattoo collectors to move beyond the tattoo "menu" on shops walls and pursue custom, personalized art. For those outside the tattoo world, his name is associated with everything from trucker hats to condoms, and because of his Ed Hardy clothing line and merchandising deals, the Californian native was able to retire with a sizable nest egg and fully return to painting, ceramics, and other mediums after 40 years of tattooing. Of course, Hardy remains connected to tattooing, largely through his Tattoo City studio in San Francisco, Hardy Marks Publications, and the occasional tattoo souvenir for a lucky fan.

In this interview, Ed talks about the documentary "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" [recently released on DVD], the tattoo impulse, his fine art, and he briefly addresses the haters. Here's an excerpt:

Do you think the whole popularity of tattooing will dissipate?
No, I don't think it will ever go away. My standard points are: I don't know why people get tattooed. I don't think there's a good answer. It's like, Why do you like art? It's just something that's a total mystery. That's part of the attraction. I think that for whatever reason, it's an impulse for our species--not for everyone, but certain people are just Bam!

Almost like a tattoo gene?
That's exactly it. Knowing how science has advanced over the centuries, maybe they'll figure it out, and at some point go, Yes, this is what it is. But right now, the best we can do, and what we all have done, is emphasize the positive aspects and put it into a better social context. That's much more important than who is the best tattooer. We have to look at the bigger picture. Of course, that's important too-people striving to further the art and do stuff that's going to be more interesting.

It's interesting how the Ed Hardy brand and unexpected commodification of tattooing has freed you up to do fine art. It's seems at odds with commercialism in some way.
Before Christian Audigier, I was approached by two guys who had a cool business; their whole thing with clothing was introducing an Asian feeling to their casual garments. They actually responded to an article about a painting show that Bob Roberts and I had at Track 16 in Santa Monica. I don't remember if it was 2003 or 2004, but they had seen the paintings and dug the Asian references in them. So I got into it, and that's how it started. Then Christian saw it and just went ape shit. He said, "I must have this license!" He's really from a different world. [Laughs] He said that he'll make this huge thing, and of course I was like, Right, take me to the moon. And then it went. But he did have that genius eye to recognize that people would respond to it strongly. Really, all the stuff we were using was essentially classic flash. A lot of the images I originated and a lot were reused from old classics. It was just like that bold, beautiful, well painted, heavy shaded, Sailor Jerry aesthetic thing. Everything that makes classic tattoos cool or makes them appealing to a wide body of people. Then of course I started getting shit from all kinds of people. I loved hearing it.

What kind of shit?
Well, "Hardy's really sold out." I'm like, What do you think this is, the Sistine Chapel? Relax. Get some humor about it--as long as things are being presented right. We had some problems when my designs got screwed with for a while and some legal things about that. Essentially, it is just a facet of my art, and I'm proud of all the flash and all the classic tattoos I did.
Read more in Inked.

UPDATE: The full article can be found online here.
11:30 AM

Congratulations to Amelia Klem Osterud and H Dwight Raymond IV, the lucky winners of our "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" contest, which we posted last Tuesday.

Picked by, Amelia and Dwight will each receive a DVD of the documentary by Emiko Omori, which also includes fun extras like deleted scenes, more tattoo and artwork images, and additional interviews.

I interviewed Ed earlier this month for Inked mag, which will appear in their next issue, and asked him what he thought was the most important thing he wanted people to take away from the film. Here's what he said:

I think the key thing, above and beyond any kind of subject is -- it's corny to say it but -- if you really have a dream, kids...For me, in the mid-fifties, the dream was tattooing. It was so not cool then. It was such a marginalized thing, and I was just driven to do it. When I got into it coming out of art school, it still was totally looked down upon, and I just thought it had a lot of great potential, primarily as a medium, and I wanted to pursue that. That's an important thing for people to know.

But I know the playing field is so completely different now. People are always coming up to me saying, "Oh, I have a nephew or niece or whatever, who wants to be a tattooer, what's your advice?" And I say, "Well, they probably shouldn't do it. It's so crowded. It's not a sure thing, but if they are really driven to do it, maybe it will work." There was an interview with Bob Dylan, maybe about a couple of years ago, and someone asked him, "If you were 18 and going to get into music today, what would you say to people?" and he said, "I would never do it." Because he got into music at a time when it was right. I got into tattooing at a time when it was right.
Ed speaks further of his start in tattooing and his thoughts on tattoo culture today in the film. You can catch clips online or purchase the DVD on outlets like

Thanks to all y'all for playing along. More contests to come!

UPDATE:  If you'd like to see Ed's paintings in person and you're in Chicago, head to his "3 of a Kind" art show with Bob Roberts, Nick Bubash and Thom deVita from October October 28 - November 26, 2011 at Firecat Projects. The opening reception is October 28th, from 7-10 PM.
10:55 AM

The documentary film "Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World" by Emiko Omori has screened at film festivals around the world since its 2009 debut (which we first posted on here) -- and to much acclaim. Now, you can watch the film in your own home with the recent release of the film on DVD, available on iTunes and Amazon.

BUT before you click "buy," I have two DVD copies for two lucky winners! Here's how we're gonna play this: the two winners will be selected randomly from those who comment on this post in our Needles & Sins Syndicate Group on Facebook. In one week, on October 25th, we'll put all the names of the commenters into and the internet gods will offer up the chosen ones.

The film is really a wonderful look into the life of a man who shaped tattooing into the art form it is today. And the DVD even offers extra goodies like deleted scenes, more interviews, and more tattoos and artwork.

To see other clips from the documentary, click here.

05:10 PM

Last year, we wrote about the release of the Ed Hardy: Tattoo the World documentary, which looks at one of tattoo's most influential artists before the association with trucker hats, energy drinks and bowling alleys(!).

Director Emiko Omori takes a look at the artist, not the brand. [Omori is also co-director of the 2003 documentary Skin Stories on Polynesian tattooing.] The film chronicles Hardy's life since childhood, where as early as 10 years old, he began to "tattoo" his friends with eyeliner and colored pencils.

You can see a number of great clips from film online here in addition to the one above.

If you're in Los Angeles tonight, you can check it on the big screen at UCLA's Hammer Museum at 7pm. Tickets are available at the Billy Wilder Theater Box Office one hour prior to start time.
11:50 AM

Haven't seen the Hori Smoku Sailor Jerry documentary yet? Buy a DVD now  (Amazon Sale: $22.49).

It's not only an intimate look into a man who revolutionized tattooing, as told through his contemporaries including Don Ed Hardy and Mike Malone [RIP], but it also includes ridiculously funny scenes with Philadelphia Eddie.

Just check the scene with him above that didn't make it or this Pineapple Juice outtake. Granted some may question the veracity of Eddie's tales but he can pour a good story.

Via Jason at Inked Mag
connect with us

Marisa Kakoulas
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
Needles and Sins powered by Moveable Type.

Site designed and programmed by Striplab.

NS logo designed by Viktor Koen.