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Learn How Ed Hardy Elevated Tattoos to Art Form
Wednesday, May 25, 2022


Newport Beach, Calif., native Don Ed Hardy became interested in tattoos when he saw the army tattoos his friend’s father had. So intrigued was he that he began creating tattoos on the neighborhood kids with pen and ink.

Over time, he elevated the tattoo to a true art form, utilizing what he learned at the San Francisco Art Institute.

His signature style was based on Japanese tattoos and he emphasized custom designed, rather than preset and preformed tattoos. He and his friends held the first tattoo convention on the Queen Mary, he produced a clothing line based on his artwork and in 2000 he was appointed by Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown to the city’s Cultural Arts Commission.

Art educator and lecturer Kathryn Zupsic will discuss his influence on the body art in an presentation titled “Deeper Than Skin--Ed Hardy and the Art of the New Tattoo” at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at the Hailey Town Center West across from the library at 116 S. River St.

The presentation is a first in an occasional series of free art talks the library plans to present.

“Humans have ornamented their bodies with tattoos for over 4,000 years,” said Kristin Fletcher, the library’s programs and engagement manager. “The word tattoo was borrowed from the Tahitian language by Captain James Cook. Tattoos have often been associated with sailors and criminal elements but starting in the 1970s, tattoo artist Ed Hardy helped change that perspective.” 

Kathryn Zupsic has been an art educator for more than 25 years, working as a docent and lecturer for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She specializes in modern art ranging from Frida Kahlo and to pop art  to the fine art of the tattoo.

A native of Portland, Kathryn has a degree in Spanish and Latin American Literature from the University of Oregon, and a diploma from La Varenne, a renowned cooking school in Paris.  She and her husband divide their time between Ketchum and a farm in Glenns Ferry.

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