Monday, August 25, 2008

Modified gear? Hard(l)y.

Over the years I've watched tattoo culture get appropriated by various clothing designers and brands. At first I was pretty pumped too see that the general public was becoming more open to tattoo imagery, even if only in the realm of fashion, but that initial excitement wore off as soon as I began to pay attention to what kind of stuff was actually getting produced. Ed Hardy, I'm looking in your direction! I mean, c'mon dude, you brought Japanese tattoo art to the states!! You're a legend in your own time! Why the need to partner up with Christian Audigier (of Von Dutch fame) and agree to have your John Hancock scribbled on such gaudy-ass shit? I know it can't be about the money...I know people who would give their right arm to get their left one tattooed by you. Is it possible you're THAT greedy? I mean...look at some of the stuff you endorse:

I found these while trying to scout a b-day gift for my older sister, Portia (who once told me that she thinks Ed Hardy doesn't really exist and that his name is just something Christian Audigier came up with. I swear I almost bitch slapped her). I kept trying to find something NOT bedazzled to the max and finally came upon a simple pink tee with an old school mermaid graphic on it. But honestly the majority of shit was just TACKY. I've seen guys decked out head to toe in Ed Hardy getup and I can't help but wonder if they looked at themselves in the mirror before leaving the house or if they just figured they couldn't go wrong sporting a loud, overpriced, rhinestone-encrusted ensemble. Poor guys.
And it's only getting worse. In July Hardy and Audigier unveiled their new line of swimsuits as well as - get this - a line of Ed Hardy tanning lotions. Seriously? Oh, and the next time you're feeling a lil sluggish, perk up with an Ed Hardy energy drink. Or down an Ed Hardy WATER!?! Yup, really, they exist. This is getting overwhelming...I don't think I can even keep looking for Hardy brand stuff anymore. Shit though, it's like driving past a gruesome car wreck...I can't look away! Oh no...I just found a site featuring Hardy's new line of homewares and bedding. In case you're too appalled at the idea to click that link, I'll tell you that the ad for this line actually tries to deter people from getting a "small Ed Hardy tattoo," and instead cop some bedding. Because, fuck, why would you want a lameo, painful tat by an artistic genius when you can just fuck in sheets designed by some random dude using graphics loosely based on his art? Fortunately the bedding is actually pretty rad (especially the white/navy one that flaunts a china-esque design). But that's besides the point...
I don't know, I mean I guess all this can't hurt tattoo culture, but it pisses me off to see the work of a legend dumbed down so severely. Hardy schwag sends the message that tattoos are just a fashion accessory, a temporary way to alter your image to fit the current trend and perhaps look a little badass. ::Sigh:: I guess we'll just have to wait for the storm to pass. Once this fad fades things will be back to normal and the only people rocking tattoo imagery will be the inked themselves.
"Sell out, with me oh yea. Sell out, with me tonight. The record company's gonna give me lotsa money and everything's gonna be alright."
Well I've got news for you, Hardy: shit's not alright. Not even close. Get a clue and stop letting some money-hungry 60 something dude who wishes he was 19 sully your name. I swear, Don, unless this is A) some goodwill attempt to make a guy who was NOTHING only few years ago into a billionaire, B) a way to make dills while you're on sabbatical, or C) an honest attempt to bring tattooing farther into the mainstream and improve social/workplace tolerance of the inked, I'm selling all my Tattootimes on eBay. 'Cause this is bullshit.


Steven said...

The good: Some of those bed sets were pretty awesome.

The bad: Energy drinks? Tanning lotion? WATER? I have to admit, I haven't been into the mod scene for very long, and the only name I really know is Shannon Larratt; but really, can this be seen as anything BUT a ploy for more cash?

The awesome: Reel Big Fish quote, and therefore you as well.

william Peace said...

Sadly Hardy appears to be cashing in on his fame. I did not want to accept this reality but was forced to when I taught a class this summer entitled Body Art and Modification. I gave a lecture about Hardy and his influence. One naive student thought he was a fashion designer and had no idea he was a world famous tattooist! Ugh.