A Southern California native born in 1945, Hardy completed a B.F.A. degree in printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute. He went on to develop the potential of tattooing as a legitimate expressive medium and is primarily responsible for its global growth over the past fifty years.
In 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from SFAI. His focus now is on painting, printmaking, and works in other media that have been exhibited in galleries and museums internationally. In addition to curating several shows, he has written and published more than thirty books on alternative art under the Hardy Marks imprint. Hardy’s various works form the basis of the global fashion line, Ed Hardy that became an international phenomenon. His life and works are documented in a variety of books and films.