Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin—Art of the New Tattoo

By Karin Breuer, Sherry Fowler, Jeff Gunderson, Joel Selvin, and Dale Slusser

Pc1901278 Pl Ueberzug

As a young boy, Ed Hardy was so fascinated by tattoos that he established his own tattoo shop in the den of his family home, where he applied designs to his friends’ skin with colored pencils and his mother’s Maybelline eyeliner. After studying printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), Hardy took the lessons he learned from old master printmakers and, in a career that spanned forty years, made it his goal to elevate the tattoo from its subculture, “outsider” status to a more revered visual art form. Ed Hardy: Deeper than Skin chronicles the first museum retrospective of the renowned tattoo artist, who took inspiration from both traditional American tattoo iconography from the first half of the twentieth century as well as Japan’s ukiyo-e-era culture. In addition to showcasing Hardy’s instantly recognizable tattoo designs and eclectic prints, this volume makes the artist’s story all the more vivid through life-tracing essays, a never-before-published interview, and a full-color spread of Hardy’s iconic 2000 Dragons, a 2,000-square-foot Tyvek scroll that the artist created for the new millennium.


Karin Breuer is the curator in charge of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Her recent publications include Japanesque: The Japanese Print in the Era of Impressionism (2010) and Ed Ruscha and the Great American West (2016).

Sherry Fowler is a professor of Japanese art history, with a specialization in Japanese Buddhist art, at the University of Kansas, Lawrence. Her publications include Murōji: Rearranging Art and History at a Japanese Buddhist Temple (2005) and Accounts and Images of Six Kannon in Japan (2016).

Jeff Gunderson is the librarian and archivist at the San Francisco Art Institute. He has written on the history of California photography and the San Francisco art scene of the 1940s, and contributed, most recently, to Black Power / Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch (2012).

Joel Selvin is an award-winning journalist who covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle from 1970 to 2009 and has written sixteen books on the subject. Selvin contributed to Summer of Love: Art, Fashion, and Rock and Roll (2017) and coauthored Ed Hardy’s memoir, Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos (2013).

Dale Slusser, an expert on Japanese arts, is currently the associate vice-president of development for the KU Endowment, in Lawrence, Kansas.

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