According to the deYoung Museum’s website, California native and renowned tattoo artist Ed Hardy had a goal of elevating the tattoo from its “subculture” status to an important visual art form. I’d say he succeeded!
Ed Hardy is a household name now because he got into mass branding on shirts, skateboards and surfboards. My kids and even I had an Ed Hardy shirt. He says in the exhibit that business decisions allowed him to retire. The deYoung Museum is currently holding a really interesting exhibit on his work that I’d highly recommend visiting.
From now until early October, you can go see the Hardy exhibit for less than $30 (or FREE if you’re a member!). The exhibit surveys Hardy’s life in art that has its inspiration in both traditional American tattooing and Japan’s ukiyo-e era culture.
He actually started his tattoo career at age 10 with eyeliner and ink pens, when a friends father came back from the war and his tattoos intrigued the young artist who had been drawing from a very young age. I find him interesting because he has studied fine art and is truly an artist. When we handed in our tickets to enter, the staff said he often visits the exhibit with his dog. He is there most days. Unfortunately not the time I was there, but maybe you will get lucky!