Book Review: Art For Life by Alan Govenar

This piece would have been ready for y’all last week, but I didn’t have the faintest bloody idea how to use wordpress!

Now, when people hear the name “Ed Hardy”, there are usually a few different reactions, the tattoo snobs recoil in horror and utter the words “Ed Hardy is for people who have no idea, people just by the clothes and think they’re cool”, granted, many people may not know the origins of what they are donning, but, there is a book that educates them on where the legacy started.

Now many of us who know a little about tattooing will know that “Don” Ed Hardy was actually one of the most, if not the most pioneering tattoo artist there has been. I would credit Ed for the beginning of the magazine “Tattoo Time” which opened up the door for so many tattoo artists, such as one of my personal favourites Freddie Corbin.

Now back to the book, Art for Life by Alan Govenar curates many of Ed’s famous works, and some of his little known works, in to one 143 page, A5 book. Believe me, this is not a Flash book, this documents Ed as a person, as well as an Artist, and for this reason I love it. From the first page you are learning things about the artist that you never knew. It’s amazing to read how his childish intuition and his willingness to try new things lead to him becoming one of the most famous names in tattooing.

This book doesn’t just skim over the top, it documents Ed’s story from the start, states how he pioneered the use of rice paper to stencil a design on to clients skin, something that everybody takes for granted nowadays. Ed truly was the creator of a whole tattoo culture in his generation, I mean, who wouldn’t want to own an original piece of Ed Hardy flash? Along with Sailor Jerry, Ed has earned himself legendary status, and deservedly so. From the process of learning to draw, to building his own machines that would be more akin to prison tattooing nowadays, Ed did it all, and it’s documented here in this book!

Art wise, the book is everything you would expect, and then a little bit you wouldn’t, from Ed’s doodles as a young child, to some of his most iconic “Death or Glory” images, and finished off with smatterings of “Love Kills Slowly”, there is something for everybody in this book, whether you be new to tattooing, or a seasoned veteran in the field just looking for a good read, then this is the book for you!Image

Priced at £11 – £13 this one is an absolute steal and a must have for any serious tattoo documentation collector, this is the history of tattooing people, and it’s always good to know the roots, right?


Rich Jones spends his time getting great tattoos and learning Journalism and Media, which he’s going to ace a degree in, in September. When he isn’t having needles stuck in him or writing long words, he loves rugby and music.

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