Henry Nitzberg – Ed Hardy

Artist: Henry Nitzberg
Title: Ed Hardy
Media: Acrylic on wood
Grade: 12th grade
School: Bentley Upper School
Teacher: Aram Muksian

This piece is a 16in x 20in acrylic on wood panel portrait of Ed Hardy, the “godfather of the fine-art tattoo,” primed only in the limited area where the portrait was to be painted. I chose Ed Hardy as my subject because I find his story extraordinary. After mastering etching, he was inspired by Japanese tattoo masters, studied with Japanese classical master Horihide in 1973, and started his practice in the heart of San Francisco. His fine art and art history obsession and training allowed him to blur the lines between tattooing and fine art. Now 76, as his memory fades, his many “canvases” retain the story of his life. His autobiography is written on torsos and backs, not in books. Incorporated into my portrait is a quote with which I identify. It reads, “I don’t want to save the world or anything… I just want to make this stuff.”