Don Ed Hardy was born in Iowa in 1945, but he and his family moved to Costa Mesa, California less than a year after he was born. He is known to be the first American tattoo artist to incorporate Japanese aesthetics and techniques to his designs. His love for tattooing was evident, even as a little boy. He would copy and design his own fake tattoos. It was only during his high school years that his interest in tattoo art took a backseat to his love for Kustom Kulture.
After high school he received his degree in print making from the San Francisco Art Institute and worked for several tattoo shops later accepting an invitation to study the art of Japanese Tattooing, a move that has undoubtedly affected his art.
Upon his return to America he worked for another tattoo studio before opening his own - Realistic. Ed Hardy and his wife are responsible for several tattoo publications notable for their quality. He has been concentrating on non tattoo based art forms and opened Tattoo City, which is a multi-artist tattoo studio.
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