In 1967 the Common Council banned tattooing in the city of Milwaukee. That same year, a 10-year-old Don Ed Hardy tattooed a rose on his ankle. The drawn tattoos were the first of thousands of different designs that Hardy would go on to create over the next 40 years. The general tattoo populous may know him through his skilled art form, but most in pop-culture only acknowledge him with the skulls, wings and heart designed t-shirts that many have come to mock.
Ed Hardy published the first tattoo magazine in 1982 and has since released a handful of books. His latest release is the memoir "Wear Your Dreams: My Life in Tattoos" in which he recalls his past and opening a makeshift tattoo shop in mother's house so he could draw tattoos on neighborhood kids to the present and having a name synonymous with the multi-billion-dollar Ed Hardy brand.
The skulls, wings and hearts that Ed Hardy once drew, painted and tattooed are now more familiar on shirts, perfume, vodka, water, energy drinks and even hair blowers. It’s gotten so ridiculous that Hardy is trying to reclaim the brand and bring it back to something he can respect. One of many interesting highlights in Hardy’s new memoir is the blaming of reality TV star John Gosselin for killing his brand.
In today’s Kramp Cast I talk to Hardy about reclaiming his name and brand, whether it’s possible to love his tattoo designs but hate his clothing line, famous Milwaukee tattoo artist Amund Dietzel, what his friend and mentor Sailor Jerry Collins would say about his empire and we find out what he thinks is the most over the top Ed Hardy product. Enjoy!
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